Greetings Video enthusiasts – welcome aboard the VHS train.

My name is Richard and I love videos.

I run a Video Shop in Southend on Sea in Essex, where I am from. My Video shop is called ACE VIDEO. This is, of course, a reference to the 1987 film Tapeheads starring John Cusack and Tim Robbins in which they play Music Video Film Makers. Their Music Video Production Company is called Video Aces and I have taken that title and cleverly inverted it to be ACE VIDEO.

I am aware that reading that has probably left you feeling pretty patronised as ACE VIDEO is, lets face it, a fairly obvious reference – but as this book is going to be solidly about films (for the next goodness knows how many pages) I feel it is important that we all, at least, start off on the same page before we get going, Okay?


Well, what makes my Video shop better than any other Video shop in the country – perhaps even the World – is that I only rent Videos. I refuse to rent DVDs or any other format.

This is because I think that Video is the greatest form of home entertainment ever. I think it is the true ambassador to film on home entertainment and I think it is the true brother and sister to Film on home entertainment. And I think that DVDs are like some leprous, inbred half-cousin – best ignored and only put up with at family gatherings and things like that. Mostly, to be honest, it’s because I like to be able to fast forward the government anti-piracy warnings. I don’t work on an Oil Rig, I don’t go on coach trips, I’m not in prison. Stop wasting my time and get the bloody film started!

I remember seeing the adverts for DVD when it first came about where people’s ears would bleed at the amazing sound quality and the astounding wide screen possibilities resulted in these people spitting out their popcorn in amazement at this new technological advance. The voice over always stated: “This is a film…and THIS is a film on DVD”, failing to recognise the irony of the fact that everyone seeing this advert was watching it on a video. The voice over also failed to state that the DVD would take ages to load up, you couldn’t fast forward and you would then find out that most of the “special features” on the disk were just an animated menu screen and scene selection. Pretty unspecial if you ask me…

I always wanted to do my own advert for Video at the time that had someone putting a Video in a machine and then watching the film. This would be accompanied by a voice over stating: “This is a Video. Put it in. Watch it. That’s it. Grow up!”

I used to think I was alone in these thoughts and opinions until I read in a paper that until it was shown on ITV, The Queen hadn’t seen the film The Queen. Lucky Her. Anyway, the reason she hadn’t seen it was because she, apparently, doesn’t know how to use a DVD player. This is true – it was in The Times.

Prince Charles takes it even further. He hates DVDs so much he refuses to have them in the house which, considering how many houses he’s got and how big they are, is quite a bold statement. So, in many ways, I feel like I have a Royal seal of approval for my love and enthusiasm for Videos.

I did think it weird that the Monarchy would be so interested and in love with Video though, because when you think about it and compare the two, one is an outdated anachronism which has no real relevance or practical function for modern 21st century British living. And the other’s a Video. Boom!

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