Now, depending on who said it, you may take the news about someone about to open a video rental shop in 2018 one or two ways.
You may be bemused, intrigued, humoured or a mix of all three. We’re definitely that. Andy Johnson’s love for video started when he worked in Apollo Video Shop in Birkenhead as a 17 year old – right in the middle of the VHS boom. Now at 38 years old, he’s ready to open his own. In a world of streaming services – the tangible aspect of film has been lost. Kids these days will never know the heartbreak of a family member taping over your favourite film with an episode of WWF Raw. Everything makes a comeback and it begs the question, if vinyl can do it – why can’t video?
We sat down with him.
Hi Andy! Tell us all about you
My name is Andy Johnson, I’m an evangelical film fan convinced that VHS is making a comeback… and I’ve opened a brand spanking new video shop in Liverpool (yes it is 2018!)
Why are you on this mission?
Our mission is to save old tapes from the scrap heap. And build a community around the shop, with a member’s only area – with free arcade machines and a VHS cinema!
VideOdyssey believes it’s possible to buck the trend of online streaming services by giving customers an immersive film experience and giving them access to films they can’t find online.
We think film fans are starting to mourn the loss of a curated movie experience, where you can meet fellow film fans and be advised on what movies to watch next or add to your collection.
What’s it called and when will you be open?
The shop called VideOdyssey – and we’re open (Thurs/Fri&Sat) at Toxteth TV, Windsor St L8 1XE. Just 5 mins up the road from Baltic Market. But this won’t just be like a trip to your average video shop from back in the late 80s and 90s…
VideOdyssey boasts a member’s arena, hidden behind a sliding wall of Horror VHS tapes with a cafe room to play vintage arcade games, enjoy a cup of coffee with other members and swap tapes or stories.
What about people who haven’t got video players?
Not got a video player – worry not, we will have them available to rent with the tapes. And there will be a private VHS screening room, like an 80s living room, which you can hire to watch the tapes. Looking for an unusual date night – look no further!
Tarantino fan Andy, wants to follow in the Pulp Fiction director’s footsteps with a mission to save old films and fight back against the digital tidal wave, making it near impossible to shoot new movies on film.
Millions of hours of film are currently at threat of being lost forever due to video tape mould. Or simply being junked, with hundreds of thousands of tapes being thrown on the scrap heap, as they are unable to be recycled.
What can we expect?
Based at the studio in Toxteth TV, on Windsor Street, Liverpool, the shop will screen tapes on a huge screen in their VHS cinema. And stock a huge array of hard to find videos, never released on DVD. A range of foreign language films, documentaries and independent movies.
VideOdyssey will offer vintage VHS players for rental alongside videotapes, private VHS screening rooms with regular curated cinema screenings, Q&As with directors and other events. The vast majority of people who have found out I’m opening a video shop tell me that I’m crazy and it won’t work. But I believe the timing is right. A come back for the hard copy film format is on the cards.
It happened with vinyl, where people reacted to the idea of just having the digital copy, they want something they can touch and appreciate the artwork. But I want it to be more than just a nostalgia trip. We’re on a mission to save film. We’ve had an amazing response so far – legendary Liverpool author Ramsey Campbell has donated his old VHS collection – there’s so many amazing tapes in there from the 70s and early 80s!
VideOdyssey wants to create a niche for film fans that are looking for more than just the content that is available to screen online. Netflix is dropping films every week in favour of their original content, which is great for them, but what about movie fans who signed up to be able to watch classic films on demand. VideOdyssey aims to give people a place they can get their hands on their favourite movies and create an immersive experience.
VideOdyssey is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7-10pm during the summer.