Monthly Archives: April 2008

Prime Time – the strangest and best movie rental shop

the best video store in the world... Or in Blackheath

Imagine you were going to start a movie rental shop. There would be a number of things you’d have to consider… How would you store your DVDs so that your customers could find them easily? Would you perhaps take the easy way out, and arrange them by title? Or would you go the Prime Time route of arranging them by actor, unless the director is more famous, in which case arrange by director. Unless they’re a new release in which case they’ll be at the front of the shop… On the left if they’re cheesy blockbusters, and on the right if they’re arty.

How would you publicise your shop? Maybe put some posters in the window? Some tempting images of hollywood starlets perhaps? Or some classic film posters from a bygone age? Surely if you had interestingly curved glass display windows you’d put something there… Perhaps you’d choose to stick some bright plastic letters to the glass saying “MASSIVE VHS CLEAROUT”, and leave it at that (don’t look confused – you know what VHS is… they were those tapes the size of buses that you used to tape Eldorado on).

The really odd thing about the shop is this labyrinthine lower level full to the brim with dusty VHS tapes. Why don’t they just get rid of them? Open a bar down there or something. I have never seen anyone leave that shop with anything other than a DVD in their hand.

And then, there is the dispute. The angry sign apologising for the lack of heating… Something to do with the chip shop next door, and air vents… Anyway, I quite like it chilly… With all that velvet it starts to feel like part of a David Lynch movie.

They don’t take credit cards – the entire place seems to run on cash only. It looks like the sort of place where you should be allowed to smoke. They ask for a credit card before allowing you to take films out, which seems a bit disingenuous.

They do have tons of great films though. And a wide variety of shop assistants – some who make terrible recommendations, and some who look mockingly at the terrible films the customers choose. It’s more atmospheric than lovefilm, and you don’t get the feeling that they’re always giving you the last item on your list (probably becuase they can’t see your list – if they did, they’d just laugh at it).


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The case of the disappearing pond…

We have an old map of Blackheath, from 1895, (probably bought from the wonderful bookshop on the edge of the common), which clearly shows a pond, adjacent to Pond Road, in the bottom right corner. When I looked on Google Maps, I noticed that it has disappeared. Does anyone know when and why? Click the maps to enlarge.

The pondless Google Maps version is here (link to actual map here)

And here’s an overlay of both maps together


The Bugle finally managed to wander up Pond Road today, after voting, to take a look at the absence of pond, and a few pics. After walking past lots of very big houses, eventually I found this:

Where the pond used to be in Blackheath

Look at the way the trees appear to have sunk into the ground. A dead giveaway.


The curve of the path around what used to be a pond in Blackheath

Note the curve of the path – running in a big circle around the green. I wonder what it used to be used for? I could imagine people bringing their livestock to drink from the pond, as I guess the area would have been more agricultural back then.


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Ah Shepherd Foods… You cruel mistress…

Don\'t be fooled by the guy staring into the Estate Agents...  He\'s thinking about wasabi peas...
I love you, but I hate you… You purveyor of strange green Japanese snacks, and ridiculously overpriced essentials. I try to avoid you, I tell myself that I will do a proper shop this week, and get all my groceries from scary Tescbury’s or grim Sainsco, but somehow you are always there, winking at me as I leave the station… “Come on, you know you haven’t got any Greek yoghurt… And that milk in the fridge has probably gone off by now”. Dig your Australian Fizzy Ale though. It shouldn’t be good, but it is. Still, you probably give Shelter a run for their money in your care for the homeless…

Coming to a landfill near you soon.


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Blackheath on Facebook

Blackheath on facebook

When the Bugle moved to Blackheath, he thought he’d try to get a taste of the area by looking it up on ubiquitous social-poking website Facebook. It could give you the wrong impression… Really, groups like “Blackheath Smacks It” and “The Tramp outside Shepherds in Blackheath is a con artist” don’t do a lot to endear the wider web to Blackheath, I suspect.

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What needs fixing in Blackheath?

The Bugle loves Blackheath. Really it does. But it can’t help feeling that not everything can be perfect in this Tranquil Vale… If something is annoying you in Blackheath, please add it here in the comments, and the Bugle will send a crack team to investigate.

Also, have you tried to fix problems using the website? It is a great website, but I’d be interested to know how many successful responses readers have had from Lewisham council in getting faults fixed.

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