Dateline 21/04/2012 – Nottingham

A brief walk through the streets on the north side of the city centre on a rainy Saturday morning show quiet a lot about the place. It’s still fairly quiet at 10.00am so the view isn’t masked by the shopping masses.

Today is #RSD2012 and Nottingham still has one active independent record store (as well as a number of good second hand traders). Record Store Day promotes both the stores and the culture around independent labels and artists. Bands release limited edition collectable vinyl versions their oeuvre, with dance, R&B, reggae, indie & rock all included. Looking down the list there are a dozen I would part with cash for despite no longer having a working turn table. Patti Smiths debut ‘Hey Joe/Piss Factory’, Bob’s ‘Wont you please crawl out my window’ 7” Box Set, The Pretty In Pink movie OST album, Peter Tosh ‘Legalize It’ and on & on.

Our participating store Music Exchange had obviously hit a sweet spot as the relatively tiny store had an impressive queue tailing half way up Chapel Bar.

Heading down the hill into the Market Square stages and stalls were being set up for what I think is an early St Georges Day event. At the top end of the Square we still have the brave souls of Occupy Nottingham, one of the longest surviving Occupy camps in the UK. The Nottingham Camp started in early October 2011 and despite the best legal efforts of the City Council it’s lasted through 190 days of peaceful and organised civil protest. Their FaceBook page however brings the news that tomorrow morning, 22nd of April they will be clearing the site as the latest ruling gives them only a 50% chance of survival in the next council appeal due in April, and the real chance that they would be subject to huge fines if they lose. Still an admirable effort, kudos to those involved for keeping their dignity. I should add that in the case of Nottingham the Council and the police have behaved in a civilised way as well, unlike those in similar circumstance in other parts of the country and wider world.

Just across the Square we have a live stage. At 10.30 a group of teenage punksters gave good tune to mainly passing pigeons and PCSO’s. Hopefully the weather will brighten up and the afternoon’s performers will get a better audience. There are stalls selling lots of local produce, Lincolnshire speciality cheeses, sheep scalps, Ostrich Burgers, Real Ale Beef Stews & roast potatoes (a bit early for me) and probably if you look hard enough Yak’s Milk & Powdered Toast.

Just in front of the Council House we have a grass lion. I think it’s a lion as we have stone lions. It might be something else, like a large dog, but that would make no sense. Whereas a grass lion does.

And heading back through town and the Victoria Centre, we now have an Olympic Shop! Yey! This proves that the Olympics is about open and fair competition and sporting and athletic achievements, and has nothing to do with marketing imported mass produced, heavily copyright policed random goods with a short IBO value.

To celebrate the opening of this emporium of desirable souvenirs we have the opportunity to get a photograph with one of the weird creatures that have been created to represent sporting prowess, cross cultural competition and global community spirit. I hope that the tripped out space cadet marketeer who came up with this is enjoying their retirement and the facial rigour from constant laughing isn’t too painful.

So there you have it. The microcosm that is Nottingham, the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ll venture back later with the boys and see how the world is getting on.

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