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The video rental shop – frustrating nostalgic memory




BEFORE the days of DVD’s and streaming, if you wanted to skip the cinema but still watch a blockbuster, the only option was to head down to the video shop. Once inside, you’d scan the shelves full of empty cassette cases and bring your selection to the counter. The staff member would then track down the cassette and collect the rental fee. You’d then head home, load the cassette in the machine and enjoy the blockbuster.

Sounds simple but the whole shebang could prove frustrating. Here are some frustrations we faced back in the day.


Rubbish quality

Once you’d settled down to watch the film, the picture quality was so bad that you’d end up squinting like someone struggling to read fine print. It’s clear that the cassette has been played, copied and abused a million times. Continue squinting or storm back to the video shop demanding a refund?

Frustration rating: 9/10


Rewind status



The last person to rent the film couldn’t be bothered to rewind the cassette so you have to do it. Waiting whilst the cassette whizzes back to the beginning is a frustrating time waster. During rewind time, you have thoughts of tracking down the previous renter and giving them a slap!

Frustration rating: 7/10


The wrong film

It’s not the film you thought you’d walked out with. The label on the case is correct, but the label on the cassette doesn’t match. Its a trip back to the shop for a replacement or rental fee retrieval. You mutter the words ‘slack’ and ‘incompetent’ whilst storming back to the shop.

Frustration rating: 8/10


Missing chunks

The first 10 minutes of the film are fine – picture and sound quality are acceptable. The next 10 minutes are non-existent as the picture and sound decide to wander off. The ‘here for now – gone in 10 minutes’ sequence continues throughout the film. You end up knowing very little about the plot. Like a dream, it all seems hazy.

Frustration rating 10/10


Maybe there were more to add to the list? Comments below.


The end

The video shop is well and truly buried. Searching shelves for the a decent film is a distant memory. RIP video rental shop.





Check out this nostalgic high street memory of the TV repair shop here: Nostalgic high street memory: The TV repair shop








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Nostalgic children’s TV programme: Why Don’t You …

JUST switch off your television set and go out and do something less boring instead? Sitting at home watching TV, turn it off it’s no good for you!

Do you remember Why Don’t You? The programme that encouraged kids to get off their bums and do something!




What kind of things were the kids encouraged to do? Arts, Crafts, outdoor games, making sandwiches, creating an indoor puppet show, making things out of matches and staples … health and safety rules not allowed! Switch off your television set and do something more dangerous instead maybe?

I loved the opening theme. After 40 years the opening theme is still stuck in my head. I don’t usually remember the opening theme to a programme I’d watched the night before so the peeps behind the intro deserve a huge pat on the back.


Simplicity is key.

Get a guy with a huge eyes and stick him a in a huge armchair. Make his eyes look like he’s completely spaced-out and wanting someone to put his misery to an abrupt end. Make his skin tone slightly green – a warning that this spaced-out kid is about to turn into the mini version of the Incredible Hulk. He’s watching TV but sadly the programme he’s watching is not really cutting it. Still he continues watching – getting more spaced-out as his body sinks further into the huge armchair. His eyes spins faster and the poor spaced-out kid cannot take much more. Suddenly he’s decided enough is enough and puts his boot through the television screen. Now that our spaced-out friend has kicked in the television set, what will he do instead?




Do or don’t

Were you motivated by the Why Don’t You gang? You can spot the ones who’d watched Why Don’t You in their younger years – they are the ones who are always making weird and wonderful things (mobile phone covers made out of scorched oven gloves, replacing the sole of their slippers with a bit of leftover carpet and making sweetened condensed milk and tuna sandwiches). This group can be described as the Innovators.

If you weren’t a fan of Why Don’t You then no doubt you just can’t be bothered faffing around with leftover bits of carpet, burnt out oven gloves and you’d rather nip into Subway for a decent sandwich. This group can be described as … well … ‘can’t be arsed’.

Which group do you fall into? I proudly fall into the latter group.

Next time you’re stuck in front of the television and feeling a fed up and spaced-out, you know what to do … give that 50 inch flat screen a good kick! You’ll feel better afterwards. Remember – don’t turn it off but mash it up … it’s no good for you!




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Prisoner Cell Block H: Watch ya step!

Thursday evenings. Settle down and enjoy a visit to Wentworth Detention Centre. Once inside, who can you trust? Maybe you’ll be safe working in the kitchen. Maybe you can’t stand the heat of the kitchen and you’re thrown onto laundry duties where it’s not much cooler. Once you’re on laundry duties, best watch your step. The top dog operates the steam press – get on the wrong side of her and who knows what part of your body will be flattened!

Many of us tuned in to find out about the happenings on the inside. Who was top dog? Who wanted to be top dog? Who’s planning to make an escape? Which warden is a wolf dolled up as a sheep?

Prisoner Cell Block H was essential late night viewing. What made it essential? Well I remember having this discussion some years ago. The conclusion was it was so bad it was actually very good! The set was a bit cardboardy, but this TV series won quite a few Logie Awards (annual Australian television industry awards) and was fun late night viewing. PCBH achieved cult status as viewers tuned in to grab their late night fix behind bars.

So who were the characters?

  1. Bea Smith. Top Dog and chief operator of the steam press. Inside for shooting her husband. You would cross her at your peril! Get on her wrong side and prepared to be beaten to a pulp. A bit of a Jekyll and Hyde character – nice as pie one second but will smash an inmate up the next. There’s only one Bea Smith.



2. Vera Bennett. Hard faced, emotionless and cold warden who did things by the book. She would tell the inmates sternly to ‘Get back to your cells!’ She displayed ‘that’ mischievous smile once she had got her own way by putting an inmate in their place. Not sure how she got her nickname ‘Vinegar Tits’ but her face certainly swayed towards the sour side at times.



3. Lizzie. Fun old lady and a good mate of Bea Smith. Her laugh was unmistakeable. The fact is that she loved it on the inside. She once had the opportunity to be released but deliberately jeopardised it so she could be back with her inmates. Lizzie was fun, had bags of energy and could not resist a drop of alcohol!



4. Joan Ferguson. Miss Ferguson was the warden none of the inmates would want to cross. She was wicked … she was evil … she is the kind of person who would make the devil tremble and dampen his fierce flames! Smuggling, dodgy dealings, double crossing, bullying, organised beatings – the list could go on. Keep clear!



5. Doreen. A good friend of Lizzie. When it came to Doreen you would catch yourself saying ‘Aww’ or ‘Bless’. Doreen was a vulnerable soul who needed chunks of advice from Bea and Lizzie. One bit of advice she did not get was regarding the use of a garden fork – it’s for gardening only … not for ramming through your foot!



Do you have fond memories of Prisoner Cell Block H? Well you don’t have much more time to dwell on them as it’s time to get back to your cell! Soon the prison cell door will slide shut followed by the rattling of keys as you’re locked in. Shortly afterwards the lights will go out. Darkness and a cell mate will be your companions until the morning. You may hear some screams, some snoring or  your cell mate revealing their darkest secrets whilst sleep talking. Hold onto your sanity, survive each day and keep your enemies close – survival tips for being a resident of Wentworth Detention Centre.



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Nostalgic TV: Play Your Cards Right

Play Your Cards Right


The game

SHUFFLE those cards and dish em out. First card is an ace  – fantastic first card. ‘Lower’ you shout as Brucie turns over the two of hearts. ‘Higher’ you scream and Brucie turns over the eight of spades. Eight of spades … you pause for a second as you consider this middle of the road card. Do you stick or twist? Your motto is ‘no pain, no gain’ as your heart beats at record speed before screaming ‘Higher’! Brucie pauses before turning over the next card. Your hearts in your mouth. Brucie is taking ages to turn over the card … do it Brucie … do it now! Brucie ends the suspense by revealing the nine of diamonds. That was a close shave but you’ve made the right call. You leap in delight. You’re on a bit of a roll and this game favours the brave. ‘Lower’ you scream as you watch Brucie shuffle excitedly across the game board to reavel the next card. Your excitement swiftly turns into dispair as the nine of clubs is revealed! Sadly you get nothing for a pair … not in this game!

It’s a game of chance. The host is Bruce Forsyth, it’s a game about pure guesswork, the game is Play your Cards Right.


Glued to the television


How many of us were glued to the TV for 30 minutes whilst screaming ‘Higher, Lower and Freeze!’ How many of us joined in with ‘Not in this game’ when there was a case of two in a bed? How many of us shouted ‘Ooooo’ whenever a Brucie bonus was revealed?Brucie is the joker in the place with four little aces that sets the pace … and that is why he says with feeling, come on Dolly’s, do your dealing! Once the cards are dealt it’s a matter of getting a question right to get control of the board. Can you guess higher or lower successfully? Can you make the right calls and produce a four-card winning streak to get through to the final? Maybe you can pick yourself up a nice Brucie Bonus along the way.




Final round

So you’ve made it to the final round. Give yourself a couple minutes breather … don’t touch the pack, we’ll be right back! In this round points make prizes. Maybe you had you eye on that sewing machine or the in holiday St Lucia. Or maybe you fancied that Renault 5. What you win (hopefully you won’t head home empty handed) is all down to chance – you can only hope that you play your cards right.

Higher or lower, freeze or keep going? Statistics, Probability or sheer guesswork. What’s your lucky number? Do you have a preference – Red or Black? Just a few thoughts that maybe running through your mind when Brucie asks ‘Higher or lower?’




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A nostalgic collection of blogs featuring a fun and factual look back at British advertising, leisure and entertainment from the yester-years are featured in the new hardback book, Section N Underpass. Release date November 2018.

Section N Underpass Cover