Back in central Nottingham I had two hours to kill, with Matt typically getting out of gigs last having sold on future pocket money entitlements to fund the purchase of band hoodies.

That’s a long time to walk around looking for Bass and Home Ales memorabilia. Or even following the William Booth trail (see also: Whitechapel).


I started by admiring the youth and the hats at the bar of the Lloyds No.1.

Club night

An aimless wander took me past a few potential live music venues (Bodega and Rough Trade), but they seemed to want me to part with a tenner to watch a gig, way outside my range.


I’ve never been to a nightclub, you know.  Perhaps if I make 70 I’ll visit Pryzm in an ironic way. Make a note in your diaries.

No real ale

As I’ve noted before, central Nottingham isn’t awash with Beer Guide places.  Here’s the Hockley Rebel, my pre-emptive tip for 2020, on the basis that there’s Stay Puft and a Tiki Bar upstairs. Perhaps it’ll make the Glamorgan chapter of the next Guide.

A Welsh takeover

Up Mansfield Road with its odd Proper Pub and cosy trattorias, till I saw this;

Read that as Judy Collins initially

Yes, just £3, worth a punt.  And I’d never been in The Maze, the separate music venue underneath the venerable Forest Tavern, which I had.


I’m always impressed with a place that has a former member of Crass appearing soon.

Too punk for BRAPA
Officially punked toilets

Oddly for a Castle Rock venue, all the cask seemed to be from Imperial, the club/gig venue/brewery from Mexborough, South Yorkshire’s finest/cheapest town.

Yorkie invaders

At the little cashbox I handed over my three quid.

“Er, which band have you come to support ?”  Odd question.

“Er, any of them really“.  I couldn’t remember any of the names.

Just as well, as it turns out there was only The Publics left to play.

I’d turned up on young band night, so the crowd were mostly proud/horrified parents in Joe Strummer T-Shirts or sensible pullovers, supporting teenagers who probably had to be in college for mocks the next day. I found a seat where I wouldn’t get hit by the roll-ups that were being flicked across tables.

The next Jake Bugg or Tindersticks ?

It was great to be at a gig with real young people, not those 22 year olds Matts go to watch.

So it was a bit disappointing when they kicked off with Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs covers, though their own songs turned out to be tremendously catchy and boisterously delivered (you can see I almost wrote for Melody Maker not NME). Great stuff.

30 minutes was an ideal set length, and Matt texted me at 10.30pm to tell me he was finishing unexpectedly early as well. No stamina these kids.

Unlike kids in the 1990s.



  1. The audience not very animated -I did better than that at a Seth Lakeman concert last week -jigging in the aisle of Salisbury Cathedral with dozens of other superannuated fans

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pleased to say that I’m also a night-club virgin, and intend to remain one!

      ps. Can’t imagine them playing any Joni Mitchell, somehow, but I’m sure devotees of the Canadian songstress could come up with something suitable.


  2. Spent many a Monday night around 2003-5 in Oceana as it was then called, mainly in the downstairs alpine lodge bar (yes really) drinking some terrible drinks for £1. To think I had all those lovely pubs nearby.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Seems to be a trend for bands with live music (who charge) asking at the door who you are there to see. Presumably with 3 or 4 playing it helps them work out which local bands have a following and are worth rebooking.

    Liked by 1 person

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