There was something tragic about seeing
that vacant, deserted space with all the
shelves and racks now empty. It was like
looking into a black hole, into a desolate
abyss. If you think about it, the video
store really was a supernova of hyper-
creativity when you consider the mass
artistic manpower that goes into making
even just a single movie. Take a look at
all the names in the closing credits of a
feature film (most of whom are probably
CGI programmers these days) and you’ll
get some idea of the multitudes of people
involved in creating a motion picture.

The video store appealed to my senses in
the same adolescent way a comic book
store did. They were intrinsically
American. As Americana as heavy metal
and junk food. As Red, White and Blue as
Van Halen and McDonald’s. No other
country does entertainment like America.
The U.S. executes cinema on a level
parallel to how they administer the space
program. They pull in top notch talent
from around the world who engineer the
material for our utmost visual pleasure.

Looking back, this video store was a real
throwback to an earlier era in the video
age. As recently as a decade ago they still
had a lot of VHS videos including a
sprinkling of choice Eurotrash flicks by
such acclaimed schlock directors as
Lucio Fulci and Jesus Franco. In fact,
they even had a rack dedicated
SPECIFICALLY to cheesy low budget,
drive-in fare. This was my kind of video
store! When they eventually began selling
off their VHS movies I bought a few
favorites for myself. Two mind-blowing
treats were Al Adamson’s badass biker
flick Satan’s Sadists starring Russ
Tamblyn and the raucous Italian Exorcist
knockoff The Tempter.

The last movie I rented there was a
disturbingly intense Eastern European
horror film called Frankenstein’s Army
which was part of the Frankenstein wave
of a few years ago which reached its
pinnacle with the lavish, big budget
Daniel Radcliffe-starrer Victor
Frankenstein. What’s that? You missed
the Frankenstein wave??? You really
missed out!

I suspected this video store’s days would
be numbered when they moved from a
really good, super-visible location near
the mall to a hidden spot on the outskirts
of the shopping area. This was two or
three years ago and video stores had
essentially vanished by that point so I
knew that making the rental of movies
even slightly more difficult would
probably be fatal to the business. Sad to
say, but they were doomed anyway and
the move probably hastened their demise.

It’s weird, but my brain is so programmed
to watching videos that I almost feel there
should be a law stipulating that there’s at
least one video store in every area, like a
public library, so we can see the new
releases. Yes, the local library has videos,
but they don’t have the movies I like.

So it’s goodbye to the last video store. I
guess it’s Walmart and the pawn shop for
DVDs now. I was here at the beginning of
the video revolution and I’m here for its
unceremonious conclusion. The very first
video store I remember in Powell River
was a small electronics shop on Duncan
Street that had a rack of Beta videos, the
precursor to VHS, for sale. That would’ve
been around 1980.

Speaking of 1980, there was another loss
in 2017 that also relates directly to that
year: that loss being the death of
Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist in
AC/DC.

1980 and thereabouts was a pivotal period
for me; so many things I was into were
going full steam ahead at the time.
Fangoria magazine was raving about the
gallons of blood being spilled in the
slasher films I loved and I was
mesmerized by my Atari 2600 video
game console. But the big event of 1980
in my universe was the release of
AC/DC’s hard rock tour de force, Back In
Black. That album was a life-changer for
me. Allow me to recount my introduction
to it.

In Grade 8 at Oceanview Junior High
School, fourteen years old and as
inexperienced as a tadpole, I made friends
with a gangly, affable classmate named
Troy who lived with his mom in a house
that was located right next to the school.
One day Troy invited me over to his
house for lunch when his mom wasn’t
home. It was on that day that Troy
introduced me to two things that have
stayed with me for the rest of my life.

One of those things was Tater Gems,
those crispy little French fry-like potato
nuggets that you bake in the oven that
taste wonderful. I remember that first
time I went over to his place he cooked a
bag of Tater Gems and then grabbed some
Ketchup and salt and sat down and said,
“I’ll show you how to eat these things.”
He then squirted a massive pool of
Ketchup onto his plate and poured a big
pile of salt right next to the Ketchup.
Then he took his fork and stabbed a Tater
Gem and dunked it thoroughly in Ketchup
and took that red, Ketchup-drenched Gem
and rolled it in salt until it was
completely white and stuffed it in his
mouth. No wonder he had such a bad
complexion! I followed his lead and ate
one exactly the same way he did and he
was right. It tasted totally delicious! I’ve
loved Tater Gems ever since.

The other indelible thing that Troy
introduced me to that day was hard rock
at its finest. On that Tater Gem-eating
lunchtime visit, after we’d finished our
food, Troy took me into the living room
to listen to a new album he’d picked up,
AC/DC’s 1980 masterpiece of heavy
metal, Back In Black.

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t really much
interested in hearing it. Another friend
had already played me AC/DC’s previous
album Highway To Hell and to me the
band simply sounded brash and evil, it
rubbed me the wrong way, thus I wasn’t
too overly excited about hearing more of
their music.
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I got the news about it from a friend on
the way home on the bus. So the next
time I was in town I made the effort to
walk up the hill to the small strip mall and
take a look for myself. And yes it was
true -- the video rental store had closed!
And this wasn’t just any video store, it
was the LAST video store in town.
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THE LAST VIDEO STORE -- GONE!
January 5, 2018
THE LAST VIDEO STORE --
GONE!
January 5, 2018
 
I got the news about it from a friend on
the way home on the bus. So the next
time I was in town I made the effort to
walk up the hill to the small strip mall and
take a look for myself. And yes it was
true -- the video rental store had closed!
And this wasn’t just any video store, it
was the LAST video store in town.
There was something tragic about seeing that vacant, deserted space with all the
shelves and racks now empty. It was like looking into a black hole, into a desolate
abyss. If you think about it, the video store really was a supernova of hyper-creativity
when you consider the mass artistic manpower that goes into making even just a
single movie. Take a look at all the names in the closing credits of a feature film (most
of whom are probably CGI programmers these days) and you’ll get some idea of the
multitudes of people involved in creating a motion picture.

The video store appealed to my senses in the same adolescent way a comic book
store did. They were intrinsically American. As Americana as heavy metal and junk
food. As Red, White and Blue as Van Halen and McDonald’s. No other country
does entertainment like America. The U.S. executes cinema on a level parallel to how
they administer the space program. They pull in top notch talent from around the
world who engineer the material for our utmost visual pleasure.

Looking back, this video store was a real throwback to an earlier era in the video age.
As recently as a decade ago they still had a lot of VHS videos including a sprinkling
of choice Eurotrash flicks by such acclaimed schlock directors as Lucio Fulci and
Jesus Franco. In fact, they even had a rack dedicated SPECIFICALLY to cheesy
low budget, drive-in fare. This was my kind of video store! When they eventually
began selling off their VHS movies I bought a few favorites for myself. Two mind-
blowing treats were Al Adamson’s badass biker flick Satan’s Sadists starring Russ
Tamblyn and the raucous Italian Exorcist knockoff The Tempter.

The last movie I rented there was a disturbingly intense Eastern European horror film
called Frankenstein’s Army which was part of the Frankenstein wave of a few years
ago which reached its pinnacle with the lavish, big budget Daniel Radcliffe-starrer
Victor Frankenstein. What’s that? You missed the Frankenstein wave??? You really
missed out!

I suspected this video store’s days would be numbered when they moved from a
really good, super-visible location near the mall to a hidden spot on the outskirts of
the shopping area. This was two or three years ago and video stores had essentially
vanished by that point so I knew that making the rental of movies even slightly more
difficult would probably be fatal to the business. Sad to say, but they were doomed
anyway and the move probably hastened their demise.

It’s weird, but my brain is so programmed to watching videos that I almost feel there
should be a law stipulating that there’s at least one video store in every area, like a
public library, so we can see the new releases. Yes, the local library has videos, but
they don’t have the movies I like.

So it’s goodbye to the last video store. I guess it’s Walmart and the pawn shop for
DVDs now. I was here at the beginning of the video revolution and I’m here for its
unceremonious conclusion. The very first video store I remember in Powell River
was a small electronics shop on Duncan Street that had a rack of Beta videos, the
precursor to VHS, for sale. That would’ve been around 1980.

Speaking of 1980, there was another loss in 2017 that also relates directly to that year:
that loss being the death of Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist in AC/DC.

1980 and thereabouts was a pivotal period for me; so many things I was into were
going full steam ahead at the time. Fangoria magazine was raving about the gallons
of blood being spilled in the slasher films I loved and I was mesmerized by my Atari
2600 video game console. But the big event of 1980 in my universe was the release of
AC/DC’s hard rock tour de force, Back In Black. That album was a life-changer for
me. Allow me to recount my introduction to it.

In Grade 8 at Oceanview Junior High School, fourteen years old and as inexperienced
as a tadpole, I made friends with a gangly, affable classmate named Troy who lived
with his mom in a house that was located right next to the school. One day Troy
invited me over to his house for lunch when his mom wasn’t home. It was on that
day that Troy introduced me to two things that have stayed with me for the rest of my
life.

One of those things was Tater Gems, those crispy little French fry-like potato
nuggets that you bake in the oven that taste wonderful. I remember that first time I
went over to his place he cooked a bag of Tater Gems and then grabbed some
Ketchup and salt and sat down and said, “I’ll show you how to eat these things.” He
then squirted a massive pool of Ketchup onto his plate and poured a big pile of salt
right next to the Ketchup. Then he took his fork and stabbed a Tater Gem and
dunked it thoroughly in Ketchup and took that red, Ketchup-drenched Gem and
rolled it in salt until it was completely white and stuffed it in his mouth. No wonder he
had such a bad complexion! I followed his lead and ate one exactly the same way he
did and he was right. It tasted totally delicious! I’ve loved Tater Gems ever since.

The other indelible thing that Troy introduced me to that day was hard rock at its
finest. On that Tater Gem-eating lunchtime visit, after we’d finished our food, Troy
took me into the living room to listen to a new album he’d picked up, AC/DC’s 1980
masterpiece of heavy metal, Back In Black.

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t really much interested in hearing it. Another friend had
already played me AC/DC’s previous album Highway To Hell and to me the band
simply sounded brash and evil, it rubbed me the wrong way, thus I wasn’t too overly
excited about hearing more of their music.

Nonetheless, I kept my mouth shut and Troy put the record on the turntable and
turned up the volume and I sat there listening, not expecting to like it. But then
something totally unexpected happened: I found myself really digging it! I had an
instinctive, visceral reaction to the multilayered guitar grooves of the brothers Young -
- Angus and Malcolm -- not to mention the magic vocals of the band’s new lead
singer Brian Johnson, and by the time it got to cut three, “What Do You Do For
Money Honey,” I was totally sucked in. I was genuinely surprised at how much I
liked it.

Unfortunately, song number three was as far as we got that day because by that time
lunch hour was almost over and we had to get back to school. But I’d heard enough
and a little while later I went to the record store on Marine Avenue next to the Bank of
Montreal and picked up the album on cassette for myself.

After hearing Back In Black that day, hard rock and metal practically became a
religion to me, with AC/DC being one of the faith’s primary gods. I bought all their
albums and anxiously anticipated every new release. One great thing about
discovering the band in the early ’80s was that they had an almost ten year back
catalog of music by then so there were plenty of old albums (which I’d buy on
cassette) to purchase and enjoy. And I’ve followed them faithfully since that time,
buying every album and seeing them in concert twice. In fact, when I was courting
my wife we attended one of the Razors Edge tour shows in Vancouver in 1991.

There have been so many deaths of big name rockers the past few years. But while
some have surprised me, none really meant that much to me on a personal level. The
death of Malcolm Young changes that.

The mass exodus of entertainers into the hereafter has finally started to hit home.
Nonetheless, I kept my mouth shut and
Troy put the record on the turntable and
turned up the volume and I sat there
listening, not expecting to like it. But
then something totally unexpected
happened: I found myself really digging
it! I had an instinctive, visceral reaction to
the multilayered guitar grooves of the
brothers Young -- Angus and Malcolm --
not to mention the magic vocals of the
band’s new lead singer Brian Johnson, and
by the time it got to cut three, “What Do
You Do For Money Honey,” I was totally
sucked in. I was genuinely surprised at
how much I liked it.

Unfortunately, song number three was as
far as we got that day because by that time
lunch hour was almost over and we had to
get back to school. But I’d heard enough
and a little while later I went to the record
store on Marine Avenue next to the Bank
of Montreal and picked up the album on
cassette for myself.

After hearing Back In Black that day, hard
rock and metal practically became a
religion to me, with AC/DC being one of
the faith’s primary gods. I bought all their
albums and anxiously anticipated every
new release. One great thing about
discovering the band in the early ’80s was
that they had an almost ten year back
catalog of music by then so there were
plenty of old albums (which I’d buy on
cassette) to purchase and enjoy. And I’ve
followed them faithfully since that time,
buying every album and seeing them in
concert twice. In fact, when I was
courting my wife we attended one of the
Razors Edge tour shows in Vancouver in
1991.

There have been so many deaths of big
name rockers the past few years. But
while some have surprised me, none
really meant that much to me on a
personal level. The death of Malcolm
Young changes that.

The mass exodus of entertainers into the
hereafter has finally started to hit home.