Digital Killed The Video Store

March 13, 2018

Did you hear that Brisbane’s last video store closed recently? THIS IS SO SAD! I know I know, they don’t have a place anymore but what a pity. Who doesn’t have fond memories of trips to the video store and fighting about what movie to rent? I usually went with my Dad on Friday nights, roaming the aisles trying to find a new release that wasn’t already rented or something that hopefully three out of six Bernard’s could watch.

My Dad is a great lover of films and my education began in earnest once we got a video player. Because Bernard Children rode horses in addition to playing numerous sports, we didn’t watch much TV so Friday night – video night – was a BIG DEAL. Dad loves Westerns so I learn to appreciate the genre through the classics of The Magnificent Seven, The Good The Bad and The Ugly and all the Clint Eastwood movies and of course anything with John Wayne in it. I even liked that schlocky western Sharon Stone made in the early 90’s The Quick and the Dead I became so partial to them.

I had a few years of learning to appreciate films thanks to Video Easy in the main drag. The store was enormous and charged you fifty cents for not rewinding your tapes. I remember once asking if they had the classic To Kill a Mockingbird as I’d read (and loved) the book but had yet to see Gregory Peck in one of his finest performances as Atticus Finch. The response from the guy on the counter has always stayed with me, “Ummmmm, naaahhhh but we’ve got Tequila Sunrise,” Sigh.

My best friend Agatha used to go out with this guy Justin who had two special powers; breaking any appliance he used in anyone’s house and always causing havoc in a video store. He got into a fight in one once (who gets into a fight at the video store?) but hands down my favourite story is when they spent three quarters of an hour trying choose one and Justin rented the movie that was on free to air TV that night.

If I could pin point the thing that finally ended my relationship with my Frusband, I’d say it was a video player. DVD player actually. I know what you’re thinking Dear Reader “Surely it was the trip to IKEA?” and yes, that certainly contributed but I did underestimate his mental toughness. No, it came down to the fact my TV had an in-built DVD player. True.

He has this complete inability to accept that a TV with a DVD player isn’t a heap of crap. He’s so laid back I used to have check his pulse to see he was still alive BUT the mere mention of the in-built DVD player and he went psycho! And when it (inevitably) broke his gloating was so over the top. In fact when I mentioned I was writing this column, he said “Well I hope you’re gonna call it TV’s With DVD Players In Them Are Shit.” Interestingly, I’ve noticed other males seem to concur with his thinking on this.  

Our relationship may have survived now digital is fazing out DVDs…. doubt it though.

It’s the kids of today I feel sorry though, not having that torturous experience to teach them resilience. Do you think they’ll become like record players and in the future become a groovy throw back thing that future hipsters will celebrate with retro video/DVD nights? I’m going to hold on to my collection just in case.

Vale Video Stores! Children of the 80’s salute you!

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Alexandria Bernard
With a successful 20+ year career in media and communications, Alex’s media portfolio includes contracts as a radio and television presenter (612 ABC, 4BC, Channel 9 and Network Ten) and as a feature writer for bmag and Brisbane Times.

Alex's voice and face may be familiar to you from her voiceover and television commercial work. She has been featured in national radio and TV advertising campaigns, corporate videos and has been a regular MC for major events.