Good morning John.
Good morning David.
Can you please tell us about these businesses youíve
I started doing the film cells and the gold discs back in
2002. A friend of mine, who ran a wholesale business, said
could I do this? I had a sign-making company at the time.
Shop fronts and screen printing and all the sorts of
things involved with signs. So I decided Iíd give it a
go on top of everything else I did. I managed to source
the films and the discs and started selling them to a
friend of mine. And they went all over the world.
Then somebody else came in and undercut me and we
fell out. I thought, ďWell, I know how to make these
things. Why donít I just carry on?Ē So I did do and
then I got involved selling on eBay. A cousin of mine was
a web designer and so he said heíd build me a website
and it all carried on from there.
So now youíve got both the websites. Are both businesses
going equally well or has one taken off better then the
The films have always done better than the gold discs.
Why is that, do you think?
Well, theyíre a lot cheaper. (Digger laughs)
Instead of £80 for a gold disc theyíre about £15
and so somebody can easily buy one for a present.
For men ... because men are notoriously difficult to
buy for. The film cells have always gone better than the
Is there a finite source of these?
There is, especially with films because everythingís
going digital now and all the cinemas are changing to
digital and so eventually all the films are just going to
run out. So whateverís left will suddenly go up in
Iím presuming that there are some particular shots that
are worth a lot more than others?
Well, there are. There are some films that are very
difficult to get hold of. Some of the older films like The
Great Escape and some of the Bruce Lee movies are rare.
Youíre going back to the seventies and itís thirty or
forty years ago
now. So they are very hard to find.
Youíre still managing to source these at the moment so
demand is bigger than supply I suppose?
It is, yes. This Christmas has been the busiest I have
I probably did twice as much business this Christmas as I
did last Christmas. When I first decided to take the
plunge and do this full-time as it were I was nervous as
Itís a seasonal thing so I suppose you have to make hay
while the sun shines?
Yes. But funnily enough I had a phone call from a chap in
Germany yesterday who is interested in wholesaling my gold
discs over there. So heís been on the 'phone to me a couple of times and
thereís lots of things in the pipeline.
Itís hard to find gifts for guys and a lot of people are
looking to decorate their homes with something retro and a
bit different. At £15, itís not a difficult choice is
No. Absolutely, somebodyís dad always has his favourite
films, doesnít he? And it makes an unusual present for
birthdays and Christmas.
Are you getting a lot of repeat business?
Iím getting quite a lot of repeat business, funnily
enough. Itís strange how the same names keep cropping up.
So obviously people collect them as well.
Yes. So who is buying them? Is it UK or international?
them all over the world really. America, Australia, Europe
Ė probably mainly UK, but they are definitely going all
over the world.
Itís nice to know that The Internet is truly working for
you. Why do you think retro is such a big thing in
peopleís lives John?
I think it just reminds people of what they see as the
best times. Iím sure everybody says that.
They do, but they all have their own take on it. I think
itís because we are in very uncertain times, so people
like to look back to what they see as a more secure and
familiar time. They retreat back to what they know.
People remember back to their childhood and their
favourite things and films and music always remind people
of those better times.
What sorts of film cells have passed through your hands in
the past month or so?
Probably the biggest seller this year has been The Wizard
Youíve got original film cells from the original Oz
Amazing. I suppose they would have produced quite a few
prints of these?
Oh yes, thereíll be quite a few prints knocking about
somewhere. But again, now, thatís a very difficult one
to get hold of now.
Does that mean thereís a premium for those cells and
theyíre more than £15?
Yes, there are certain films that, for a small strip, I
charge £1 or £2 more. As far as music goes, well
probably the biggest sellers have been the standard ones
Ė Oasis, The Beatles, Elvis. There are so many of these that go
Have you got any retro passions yourself?
Believe it or not Iíve got all the original Hulk comics
The whole run?
The whole run, complete.
They must be worth a fortune?
I donít know. I donít think the UK versions are worth
as much as the American.
They still might be worth a fair bit if youíve got the
whole set. Itís probably worth checking it.
Theyíve been in a suitcase since I was a young lad.
A lot of people say that, but that means theyíll be in
top condition as well so Iíd get them checked out if I
was you because they could be worth a bit.
You never know.
Can you tell us about your plans for the business John?
Onward and upward I guess?
Yes, onward and upward. Iím increasing the range all the
time, putting on new discs and new movies on the website.
Iíve also just recently got in touch with a factory
called Bygone Times.
Oh yes, I know them, they are on my website.
Are they? Yes, where everything is retro stuff. Thereís
that one and another called Botany Bay - you can have a
stall in there and you donít have to man it. So thatís
the next thing
Ė Iím going to start stocking up these places so I
donít have to be there and I continue doing what Iím
And they just take a commission when they sell something
Yes. And Iíve got this chap in Germany thatís very keen on
getting the replica discs over into Germany. So, yes,
things are really looking up. Isnít it funny though,
when I was wondering if Iíd done the right thing?
I know. Thatís great. No, itís really good news and if
you can do it in this sort of climate then just think what
itís going to be like when things really take off.
Youíve done very well there and what a way to start the
Iím very pleased.
Iím very pleased for you. Thanks for letting us know about
your film cells and gold discs John.
Okay David. Thank you.