It’s not often I like to get all sickly sentimental on the PoP blog (that may or may not be a lie) but Monday night saw the absolute end of an era in Oxford Town when the Cowley Road branch of Videosyncratic, presumably one of the last remaining independent video-rental businesses in the UK, closed its doors for the final time. Now I know it’s probably been on the cards for a while, and a cynic may say ‘who rents DVDs these days’ and they’re probably right…
But that didn’t stop the hordes of wellwishers, bargain hunters and other randoms who showed up for the final night, along with some of Oxford’s finest musicians, to wave goodbye to the place. Amongst such luminaries as Ute, PoP favourites The Family Machine and the charming Richard Walters (ex BSM) – The Candyskins (or 2 of them at least, performed a tear-jerking acoustic set – whilst everyone fought for the remaining couple of copies of Cool Runnings.
But as the sentiment ebbs away and the dust settles on the memories of a once great institution, I cannot help but be left with some of the comments that I heard while I was in there. “Oh, should have come to this place more often” one fella said, whilst another suggested “used to come here a few years ago before on-demand. Shame it’s shutting down”.
Sure is! But with the passing of Videosyncratic (a shop lest we forget that had branched out into selling toys, tees, comics and investing in films beyond just the renting of movies) comes a timely reminder that bricks and mortar indies do still exist, but are continually under threat as ‘progress’ sweeps our beleagured nation.
Whether it be butchers, DVD establishments or cafes whatever… Lets support the indies! Well – actually, having said that, noone should feel obliged to support the indies – it’s not y/our duty to keep everything alive. But if they care, you care and everything’s good – lets get on it! Here’s a video of the (very) latter stages of the career of one of my favourite bands ever, fresh from Monday… Viva las Candyskins…
It’s always fun trying gigs somewhere that little bit different… So last Thursday Alcopop took to G&D’s Ice Cream Parlour on the Cowley Road in Oxford (so a bit of a homecoming show in essence). How lovely it was, and amidst copious amounts on magnificent flavoursome ice cream (with gummy bears the only choice) a vaguely confused crow gathered, wondering what to expect. I too wondered. Slightly worried.
On first, and supplying the PA were the charming Boog who impressed a strong local following, before The Family Machine swept up the gig in a folk-tinged fist of glory. Reminiscent of a bunch of old country yokels (without the straw hats) they sat on a bench and regailed delighted revellers with new songs, old songs and all sorts really. They were ace; consummately delicious some might say. In terms of ice cream, imagine a big nutty caramel swirl served on a wafer – with added smartie topping.
Then came the Candle Thieves, clearly delighted with the scene, to deliver what has to go down as one of the top ice cream shows ever seen in Oxfordshire…. Sparklers, glockenspiels, ceremonial reveries of some starry-eyed kids and more, they left the stage to a standing ovation. Hot chocolates and sugar topped waffles flying about in abject happiness. A super night!
Ah it was ace… Thanks to G&Ds for putting it on, and look out for the next one. It will be ace I promise thee.
It’s Sunday, I feel incredibly tired after a particularly broad weekend which took in the sunnier side of the UK – but all is well at Alcopop Towers, and whilst filtering through a few of the weekends straggling emails I stumbled across this rather lovely homemade snippet of film recorded by old Alcopop favourites ‘The Family Machine’.
By their own admission, “it’s true that during those chilly post Christmas winter months Family Machine have been spending a fair amount of time living in our burrows below ground” – but they’ve obviously had a game of Mastermind and a sock to hand, because they’ve created this little gem.
You have a look – I’m off to bed…