The shop is in Westgarth, Northcote, Melbourne. We moved to a house close by in 2004 and it has been one of the absolute highlights of ten years in the area. Rob and his crew always made the store ‘different’ with their eclectic selections of VHS and latterly DVDs. We started renting a lot of kids movies, with Thomas the Tank Engine in heavy rotation, and have moved on from there. The selection of new films has always been a hit, and very much part of our existence in this rapidly (too rapidly) gentrifying suburb. Rare, international,and entertaining stuff filled the store.
Why are they closing? Simple. As I walk past, I see fewer and fewer customers in the store, although there were ten when I went tonight. And Westgarth is a landlord’s delight, I presume. It is to do with all of us. Rather than continue to support video stores, and renting dvds, people have moved on to downloading films and streaming them. We have never downloaded anything in our house, but I guess we are in a tiny minority these days. I grew up with VHS players and dvds, and I have no idea how to get a film from a computer to the television screen, how to choose a film online, how to store them in a way that resembles our dvd cabinet so you can see them to choose what to watch, or any of that stuff.
I guess the demise of the store is really an inevitable outcome of the internet age. I quite like the fact that the internet permitted open access publishing, including my own journal. But multimedia downloads have never appealed to me, especially the illegal variety. Nothing will replace going to the store and surveying the shelves. But it is striking to think that a business that was absolutely heaving with people all weekend, as recently as two to three years ago, and situated close to an excellent cinema giving us a real wealth of moviedom, is now an unviable commercial proposition. This is a technological nightmare. A lot of people are going to be very sad.
Postscript; Suzanne Moore from the Guardian hits the nail on the head. I am not one of those hypocritical people who shopped online for movies and books but liked musty bookstores and DVD stores, without spending money in them, which is what is needed to keep them going. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/15/if-we-really-want-dvd-stores-and-bookshops-to-survive-why-dont-we-shop-at-them-more
16/4/2016 The one we found in Clifton Hill, Network Video, closed its doors yesterday for renting. People cried, apparently when they heard. . http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/north/clifton-hill-video-shop-play-it-again-closes-after-42-years-sells-thousands-of-videos/news-story/99edf61f1c7131ceed57410c2a6c3a6c#load-story-comments
Thornbury closure also announced.