by Elliot Davies.
As a reminder from the gods of music that sometimes everything isn’t completely awful, Rough Trade have opened a shop in Nottingham.
This is the first time Rough Trade have ever opened a UK branch outside of London. On top of that, it’s only the fourth branch of Rough Trade to open anywhere in the world. The only international branch is in New York. It opened just over a year ago, and apparently it’s a big’un.
That Nottingham now has a branch, then, is quite a big deal. They could have chosen Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, or even Birmingham – it’s England’s second city, after all. But no. They chose Nottingham. I’m sure they have their reasons, and I’d love to hear them. In any case, I’m absolutely delighted, and I’m definitely not the only one.
I had but time for a fleeting visit today, as they only give me half an hour for lunch. Nonetheless, it was thrilling to see that distinctive punk stamp logo jutting out the side of the building on Broad Street. It was great to bask, however briefly, in the inviting scents of wood, love, and vinyl. Vinyl vinyl vinyl indeed! It’s the first time I’ve seen a “record shop” that can actually be accurately described as such. The CDs were outnumbered by the records and the books. I saw such rare treasures…in the place where I’ll henceforth be spending the vast majority of my wages. The photo I took of the inside was understandably blurry.
Rough Trade Nottingham aims to become something of a hub for local music. They’ll host events by local musicians and sell their releases exclusively. If this goes well, can you see where this might be headed? Soon, every UK city could have its own branch of Rough Trade, a place where friends are made, where crates are dug through, where magic happens.
Today, Nottingham. Tomorrow… Derby. City after city will have its mojo reignited after years of dull complacency under the crushing tyranny of tedious Tory rule, mass unemployment, relentless punishing rain, and Saturday night TV talent competitions.
In short, it’s just nice to finally have a bit of confirmation that there is still room for things like this – a place where people who like music more than is perhaps healthy can mingle with the likeminded, make new discoveries and have extremely long arguments than end in hugs, tears, and bloodied noses. A place where physical formats still reign, where streaming is viewed as what it is – a mere convenience as opposed to a scorched earth upgrade – and where the album is still recognised as a perfectly valid art form.
In visiting Rough Trade Nottingham, I cannot be the only one to think – I knew I wasn’t alone.