Renting CDs From Flicker’s Video

Today I was walking and listening to a song performed live. I think it was Neil Young’s “See The Sky About To Rain” from 1971 (from a fabulous live album–he’s never sounded better). There was a long stretch of applause at the end of the song.

I was suddenly reminded that, in my childhood, I had a sound effects audio tape which included a bunch of recorded laughs and applause. How did I get this, and why did I have it?

Then I remembered. From the age of, I don’t know, 13 to 15, I rented a boatload of music CDs from an independent video store in a strip mall in North Vancouver. It was called Flicker’s Video (yes, with an ‘e’), and for a few years they had a sizable music section.

After my Dad’s extensive rock and jazz collection of LPs, Flicker’s was probably the most formative influence on my early musical taste. I’d often rent two or three CDs at random, just to see what they sounded like. I think it cost 99 cents per CD to rent them for two nights. I’m certain that I rented the sound effects album, mostly out of curiosity.

At some point in the nineties, Canadian law must have changed, preventing stores from renting music CDs. Flicker’s closed down in the late nineties. I could only find a single reference to the store on the Web–a business license application on the City of North Vancouver website. Their address is now occupied, oddly, by Clarke’s Family Martial Arts Centres Inc.

Now I’m wondering two things:

  • Did the Vancouver-based founders of Flickr know about Flicker’s? Maybe the store left a germ of an idea for a name in the back of their minds?
  • Did you ever rent CDs from a video store? Nowadays, renting a CD counts as an obsolete skill, I guess.


  1. I get CD’s from libraries all the time. In my hometown there was a video game rental place that did console games, pc games, and music. I don’t remember ever renting from them though, just the library.

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