‘Does anyone know the way to Blockbuster ...’

editorial image

Every now and then on this page I give away my age a little and rock down to Nostalgia Avenue.

I suppose it’s only natural as you get older, and having lived in Thame for 35 years now I do find myself walking past shops and thinking “Oh, that used to be Dewhurts/Brices/the Saracens Head/*inserts name of other former business on the High Street*.”

The trigger this time is a trip to Blockbuster. Despite having SKY movies, subscribing to LoveFilm and having a wall full of DVDs, I still occasionally find myself stumbling over that cursed step in the middle of Thame’s premiere video rental outlet.

It’s nice in there. And they have pulled out all the stops and employed Marv from Home Alone to attract true film buffs. (Note to Editor. If you leave that line in then on your own head be it if the poor guy comes looking for you. I suggest Christmas tree baubles under your windows and a couple of paint tins on rope by the top of the stairs, just in case).

Anyway, to my knowledge this is the third video shop in Thame. Everyone remembers the one next to the Chocolate Box right?

With the children’s films on the left as you enter and the horror movies down in the basement?

It was there for years and great for everyone except Peggy the parking warden trying to deal with the cars parking illegally outside on the corner of Wellington Street.

However, my question for you lot, dear readers, is whether my memory is playing tricks again.

As I recall, the very first video shop in Thame was just up the hill from there, on the left opposite the Pied Pedaller.

I was just a kid really and can’t quite place where the shop was, but to my juvenile eyes it appeared spacious and well lit and there was a spiral staircase down to a vault of videos.

I remember my dad making a huge fuss as the entire family entered the shop for the first time.

And here’s the bit I am struggling with. Did they really charge one fee (£25?) for a whole year and you could take as many films as you liked and keep them as long as you wanted?

Surely that can’t be right, it would be business suicide. We must have had ‘The Pink Panther’ at home for at least six months before we finally got round to watching it.

And since the shop only had one copy of each film you rarely got to see what you wanted from then on.

Have I made that up? Did the shop exist and was that how it worked?

It certainly wasn’t there for long, but let me know if anyone else joined up. Does anyone know the way?

There just has to be a way. To Blockbuster ...