Thursday, 21 January 2010

Hopeless is the venue

The gig that Ian from Horowitz put on last Saturday might have showcased some ace bands, but it showed just how far Nottingham venues have fallen over the last twenty years.

Maybe it's because I'm not 20 any more, but spending three hours in a pub that think selling Stella Artois is exotic and plays Megadeth at full tilt isn't my idea of fun. Beautiful young goth people roamed hither and thither, and I felt an immediate sense of doom, and general decay. Apt, really.

On the walk home I got to think about the venues that meant so much to me when I first moved to Nottingham. Again, maybe it's because I was young and that I'd just escaped from Grimsby - a place that spat on you if you didn't conform to the norm down the tiniest detail, but there seemed to be loads of places you could go back then.

Places like Sam Fay's, which used to put on gigs every Monday night where you could go and sit in a dark corner and lose yourself for a few hours. Or the Hearty Goodfellow, which had the daftest name ever, but seemed like a beacon of bohemian drinking. Ditto the Dragon, which had an ace jukebox and a million friendly crusties to cadge fags off.

But the finest of all was The Narrowboat, a now demolished venue in a building that somehow made it past the construction of the godawful Broadmarsh shopping centre. I used to go to the Narrowboat at least twice a week in the early- to mid-nineties to see bands whether I liked them or not. It was the sort of place where you grow up and learn to understand people a little bit more, I think. Or maybe I'm being dramatic.

Anyway, it's just been pointed out to me that Prolapse have been defunct now for a decade, and that's just disappeared. The best gig I think I've ever seen in Nottingham (or perhaps anywhere else, come to think of it) was Prolapse at the Narrowboat, and I think I've probably mentioned this before over the last 12 months. But so what, it gives me a chance to post a you tube clip of the mesmerising 'Chill Blown'.

It also leaves me wondering if other provincial cities and their small venues have suffered like this in the name of "progress" and "redevelopment" over the last two decades. Most probably...


dunc said...

I will say one thing for Birmingham, we build new venues here as fast as we knock them down.

You've also reminded me about the decline of the decent jukebox though. I thought they'd make a comeback when some started to connect to the internet but there's only one decent jukebox I can think of in Brum now.

Aaron said...

Some good memories of the Narrowboat myself - saw NOFX on their first tour of UK, with the Nerves and Substandard supporting.
I think venues in general everywhere have gone downhill.
Other good notts venues from years ago: old angel, old general, the yorker.. a few that spring to mind.
Try living in derby it's rubbish for venues!

MJ Hibbett said...

Knocked down/no longer a venue in Leicester in the past 10 years:

The Magazine
The Royal Mail
The Pump & Tap
The Spreadeagle
The Durham Ox
The Factory
The Crown & Thistle
The Charlotte (t.b.c.)

You'd think someone would write a song abotu it really...