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Sunday 12 December 2004

Rough Trade [Houmous]

No don’t get excited folks, I haven’t changed sexual preferences – I’m referring to the record shop in Notting Hill. I don’t know how well known Rough Trade is to you all, but effectively it’s a record shop that its unlike any other, and is the shop on which Nick Hornby's book High Fidelity is loosely based.
I first got involved with the shop in the mid 70’s when I was heavily into punk and reggae, running my own fanzine "Situation 3" (one of the outlets I was selling it from in Scotland got raided for having obscene material after I put a drawing of an erect penis in it – I left work immediately when I got the call from the shop, went home and set fire to 200 copies in the garden – haha – but that’s another story!). I was also selling army surplus clothing dyed black in Notting Hill market which is how I discovered Rough Trade.
Its hard to describe the elation of discovering somewhere selling (and publishing) music that you didn’t dream could have existed (remember we are in the mid 70’s). My first purchase was a single by Richard Hell and the Voidoids – something I had only been able to read about previously. I became friends with the owner Geoff Travis and his shop became the biggest seller of my fanzine.
Anyway scroll on another 27 years and we find yours truly flicking through the Financial Times weekend magazine supplement *cough* when I come across an article on an outfit which operates a subscription service sending customers CDs which they think are good every month. Its not one where you can send back anything you don’t like (although if you really are unhappy they will replace it with another from their selection).
Normally the mere thought of the sort of crap you could end up with would make me quickly flick the page with a shudder – but fortunately before this happened I noticed who was behind this – Rough Trade !
A quick look at examples of CD’s they had previously selected included Nouvelle Vague, Black Keys and Devendra Banhart – all of which I love and took a lot of time and effort to find. – I’m hooked!
Joining fee is £30 and then you decide how many CD’s you want a month – the cost is about £12 per album – you can go from 3 right up to 10 a month! I went for the 3 albums. While this is obviously not cheap what I intend to do is the same as I do for all CD’s – I buy them, rip them and put up for sale on Amazon or Ebay.
As you can see from the web site everything is fairly aesthetic. I received a nice membership card, a trendy little calendar showing me the date each month I would get my CD’s (all of which went in the bin) but also a double CD of a sample of Rough Trades favourite tracks, which is great.
I’ve now just received my first CD’s – The Superimposers ( The Superimposers), The Glimmers (Various), and Eye to the Telescope (K T Tunstall). Each CD comes with a great little card with 3 paragraphs about the album under the headings of Who/What/Why. First listening impressions are that they are all good and very different so I’ll be giving more *details* about them on Wench shortly!


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