March 31, 2014

This Is My Town: Nottingham
by James
by James hmv London, Bio "Like the legend of the Phoenix, I've just eaten a whole packet of chocolate HobNobs..." Editor,

This Is My Town: Nottingham

Every month we chat to one of our lovely employees to get the lowdown on their local area. This time we chat to Dean at Fopp in Nottingham...

First things first: I’ve arrived in Nottingham, I’ve got some time to kill – where’s the best place to get a drink and some food?

One of the better places to go is a bar called Spanky Van Dykes. It’s on Goldsmith Street around the corner from Rock City and it does food and drink, they have some pretty cool music there too. It’s quite a music-orientated pub, very studenty.

Where are the best / most unusual music nights happening?

Most of the decent music nights are happening at The Bodega Social Club, but Rock City do various different music nights and the Rescue Rooms do some interesting nights too. Lots of the better clubs like The Bomb & Lost Weekend have closed down in the last few years unfortunately, but Stealth still do club nights if you’re into that. There’s also the comedy clubs too, Jongleurs and places like that.

Of all the venues & clubs, which are the best?

The ones around Goldsmith Street that I’ve already mentioned, Spanky’s has quite a lot of DJs, Metronomy played in there recently, then there’s Rock City, Rescue Rooms, Bodega, they all do most of the best live music in town.
Where should I go to get some stylish new clothes?

There’s an area called Hockley next to the Lace Market that has most of the trendy places. There’s a shop called Cow that does a lot of second-hand and retro stuff, the kids around here seem to love that place, they’re in there all the time, it’s a bit of a hipster hang-out. There’s another place nearby called Wild Clothing, they do their own range of clothes that are pretty popular around here. Then there’s Montana, which is a little bit more expensive but it’s a very cool shop, it does Graffiti supplies as well as clothing lines and stuff.

Does Nottingham have any famous sons or daughters? Or any famous residents?

Well, the one we always think of first is Su Pollard! Our most famous export! But then you’ve obviously got Jake Bugg and Tindersticks on the music side and Samantha Morton the actress. There are probably more, they’re the ones we know of!

Do they come into the store?

Not really to be honest, but we’re just around the corner from Rock City and the bands that play there come in all the time before they play, they tend to spend a fortune in here!

Images - Top: Ian Plumb, Above Left: street art n Hockley by JaxH2009, Above Right: outside Rock City by Alex Loach
Images - Top: Ian Plumb, Above Left: street art n Hockley by JaxH2009, Above Right: outside Rock City by Alex Loach

Are there any good local radio shows / stations?

Trent Sound is the main one locally, they play a lot of stuff by local artists and bands. They have a lot of shows specifically centered around promoting and supporting local musicians. There’s also a show on the local BBC stations called The Beat that plays some local stuff too.

Are there any Nottingham bands / artists / DJs we should be looking out for?

Yeah, there’s some good stuff coming through at the moment. There’s a singer-songwriter called Saint Raymond and a band called Dog is Dead, both doing well for themselves, they’re just going to get bigger and bigger I think. There’s another band called Kagoule that have been on Zane Lowe a couple of times recently, we think they’re going to do well. Finally there’s a band called Cult Of Dom Keller that are going to be quite big we reckon.
We get quite a lot of bands playing in store too, we do a local music thing on Fridays where we have bands playing or sometimes open mic nights.

Is that a free entry thing?

Yep, it’s called Fopp Nottingham Rocks, it’s free and we run it on Friday afternoons, it gives local bands a chance to play, invite their friends along and stuff, it’s been doing quite well. We had a band called Albion play here recently who have been getting quite a lot of mentions.

What’s Nottingham’s best-kept secret?

There’s a place called JT Soar, which is in an old fruit & veg warehouse that’s been converted into a recording studio, rehearsal space and venue. It’s a co-operative thing, quite often the gigs are donation based, they do B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Beer) and things like that. They have a lot of really cool bands playing, sometimes up-and-coming bands from around the UK but also they have a lot of bands from abroad come and play there. It’s down towards the Ice Arena on Aberdeen Street, they also have a distro there where you can get hold of records by the bands that have played at the venue.

If you could change one thing about Nottingham, what would it be and why?

Definitely the public transport! The tram service at the minute…it doesn’t really work. They’ve been on and off since they started really, which makes it difficult for people to get into town. That and the crime levels are the only things we’d change really. Socially Nottingham’s got quite a lot going on, there’s a wide range of things to do, overall it’s a good place to live. Just wish they’d sort the transport situation out!

What’s the one thing I should do in Nottingham before I leave?

Visit Fopp of course!

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