Prime Time Video


I made a huge faux pas the other day. Admittedly it was a Sunday morning and I’m never at my perkiest then, but this was stupidity of monumental proportions.

I went into the video shop opposite the station and was bowled over. My feet stepped onto sumptuous dark red carpet, my eyes feasted on a simple but elegant store layout and lit up at the sight of interesting stock (though it seemed a little emptier than it could be – not sure what that was about – unless they’d had a busy Saturday night.)

It was like walking into an old cinema – clearly the desired effect. Splendid fake friezes in deco style of cinematic tableaux, curved stairways leading to different areas of the shop, fab subtle lighting – even with dark red ropes on brass stands dividing areas – it was just really beautifully laid out and I was excited. A closer look at the DVDs on offer (I didn’t have time to check out the videos – which appeared to be being sold off) revealed a good selection of oldies and arthouse as well as the usual blockbusters, rom-coms and action movies.

And here comes the stupidity. I suggested to the guy at the desk they open a store in Greenwich. Of course he told me they’d just shut a shop in Greenwich. DUH…

One look at the name of the shop and it all came flooding back – as did a rather fetching tomato colour to my face. Prime Time Video. Of course. I even wrote about it. I just hadn’t connected this sophisticated, beautiful place to wander round and enjoy for its own sake with the scruffy old video shop that just closed in what has to be Greenwich’s worst shopping centre (next door to that dodgy old Somerfields and sundry other dead shops.)

What on earth made them open up there? Why did Blackheath get the luxury treatment and Greenwich the bargain basement? Maybe it’s one of those classic Greenwich/Blackheath fundamentals that seems to apply to all wine bars/restaurants and shops (with one or two fabulously inspiring exceptions – places that keep my optimism for our wonderful, exciting town.) Whatever it is, it’s depressing as hell.

Greenwich deserves a video store as classy as Prime Time Video in Blackheath – somewhere the evening’s entertainment begins before the film starts – and I know just the guy to do it. Here’s my fantasy. An independent video store that is as fabulous to look at as Prime Vids in Blackheath in what was going to be the lapdancing club at the Plaza run by the big guy from Blockbuster who seems to know everything thre is to know about film. Now there’s a place I’d visit more than it was healthy. Actually, while we’re about it, how about a small screening room in there too, with selections and introductions by The Big Man Himself (must find out his name…)

Ho hum. Back to reality and what has to be the grimmest day of the year – in effing AUGUST…

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