Nottingham - Do I love you?
From a very young age, Nottingham was the place to be for me.
Not that I craved the City, I just had to go there due to having a spazzy eye. Out from the mining village in my mums Hillman Imp, praying all the way to Nottingham that it wouldn't overheat and break down, to the Children's Hospital up near the Castle. Never a pleasant experience, as it was also followed by going to the Green Shield Stamp Shop on Maid Marian Way, then to the dreaded Marks & Spencer! Yet I loved the City, the sense of its grandeur & the Castle held a charm. Plus the Wimpy Burgers.
Rolling into my teens, we would catch the 345 Bus into Nottingham, wether we had money or not wewould just loiter about & feel cool. I had the added benefit of my Auntie living in Hyson Green, so I was exposed to the multicultural world early on, I would stay at my Aunties when the Goose Fair was in town. My mid teens were dedicated to Selectadisc & Nottingham Forest in the old Trent End, legs being pissed on as we were all crammed in so tight no one went to the toilets. My mum and dad would always take us for a meal at the old Moat House, or latter years, the Crowne Plaza, which suited me better as I could nip down to Selectadisc. One time being where I came back and proudly pulled the Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks out the bag, much to the horror of my mum! Late teens and twenties onward was spent drinking, and clubbing, from New York New York to Zhivagos, Astoria, Black Orchid, Beetroot, Kool Kat etc, & still the best, Venus.
Nottingham had always been a vibrant place as far back as I remember, but since Covid, I admit to have not been much. Barring going to the Football and having one too many, finishing up in the Coach & Horses drunk, plus going to see Sleaford Mods and The Stone Foundation, plus the odd bit of shopping.
So I decided to catch the bus from Sauce & Brown, & see what Nottingham still had to offer. Bus W*****r or going green. You decide.
Special offer on the bus, £2 each way. Bargain. Steady 50 minutes means I can get some emails etc done while on the way. Arriving into Nottingham at the back of Victoria Centre, is not the most inspiring entrance into the City, but I will skip that. I just have visions of arriving into London at St Pancras. Love a bit of grandeur.
Straight through the Victoria Centre and down Clumber Street, which is just like any other homogenised Shopping street. Trainer Shops, Maccy D's etc. Not for me. Hook a left up Pelham Street towards Hockley, & the more independent type shops. Hockey has that cool vibe. So it's straight into Hockey Kitchen for a full English to start the day. Been a cafe here for years, the clientele is made up of city centre coffee drinkers, students, workmen and me. Stunning breakfast to boot.
Rough Trade Records is the next stop. Sniff out some new Vinyl to play at HQ. Always a cool vibe in here, more Vinyl than you can shake a stick at.
From here it's down into Sneinton, where they seem to be always building Student accommodation. But i'm here for a catch up with Tony & Reeta Brack of One BC. The most creative fashion people Nottingham has, also with great stories. Tony used to make clothes for Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, so you can imagine the stories just from that!
Into Sneinton Market for a peruse. Around 40 independents here from Coffee, to curious antiques. Worth a walk down.
Popped in to Montana to see Sylvia. Graffiti heaven, & the major port of call for all into Street Art.
Coffee and catch ups complete, it's back up into town through the Lace Market. Stunning buildings here from the days of the Nottingham Textile Industry.
Debbie Bryans Shop is also located here. Another one of Nottingham's great creative people. Pop in, very quirky.
Down Byard Lane and past the original Paul Smith Shop. Why this was never retained is beyond me. A piece of Nottingham History lost. Can't pop in to see Pete Spowage, the Artist, as he had to move out due to Rent Rises. Such a shame to see creatives moved out.
It has been brightened up though.
Hook a left towards the old Broadmarsh Centre. It's not there anymore, but on the way there's a few more shops to look at, & dropped into Mint Duck for a catch up with Scott. Another independent retailer.
Done a fair bit of walking & talking by this point, so lunch loomed. Customer recommendation was Yamas Greek Restaurant on Thurland St, so thought I would give it whirl. Great recommendation and subsequently recommend it onwards.
After Lunch, it's a stroll through the Square, past the Left Lion. If you don't know about the Left Lion, give it a google.
Up towards Canning Circus to have a look at the new Universal Works Store, I needed some new trousers and we don't sell trousers at HQ.
Being as I was this end of town, I cut across by the Nottingham Playhouse & the wonderful Sky Mirror, up towards the Park & Nottingham Castle.
Up around Standard Hill, is where the Hospital was that used to treat my Spazzy eye. The building is still there and I remembered the Doorway I used to go through. Memories.
This is the more exclusive part of town, which seems in its own bubble. People don't seem to wander up here, but there are beautiful buildings and history , if you are interested.
Had to pop and see Robin Hood, & took a few photos for the Tourists. Love seeing if people will hand me their phones when I ask if they want me to take a photograph.
Not going to talk about the Castle being closed and the monies involved.
Talk about Rebel City. Which context.
Back to when I was younger, had me popping past Stanford Street. The site of one of the best clubs ever. Venus. If you ever went, you will know what I mean.
Heading back up to the top of town, I did contemplate a beer, so went to the Junkyard. Great place for real ales. Good vibe at the weekend. I ended up with a coffee, as wasn't sure if my bladder was strong enough for a bus ride home. A read of the Left Lion, & I was ready to head back to the Bus Station.
Sorry if you thought this blog was going to be about the boozier side of the City. Planning that one next. Nottingham really is a top night out.
Back on the bus & back home in time for tea.
Nottingham, do I love you? Indeed I do.
But I don't like how you are being ran. (But I'm not doing the politics)
Can’t believe you didn’t go to Robs records in Hurts Yards…. some unique vinyls in there if you have hours to sift
The Queen of the Midlands
Nearly wet myself at the ‘spazzy’ eye 😂😂😂 the girls flip when I call them a spaz. Forgotten some of the names of the clubs and the old savoy was a fave growing up…we used to collect the after dinner coffee clubs for free after eights as kids…what a fab memory you have Andy. Love the blogs and gonna show the girls this as Ella was at the art college and used to love walking down to Sneinton 😍