A celebration of Nottingham culture in the nineties featuring Selectadisc, DiY, Quentin Tarantino, Nirvana, Bill Hicks, Vic Chesnutt, The Night With No Name and moreâ€Ś
Remember some but not all of the information herein may be false. Stay Alert!
words: Paul Kilbride, Founder of Overall
“By accident, a new publication was born.” Imagine a world where there are no mobile phones, no PCs, no internet, no e-mail, no social media – no Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter. That was 1991. In those days, you didn’t text people, you posted them a letter. If you were out and about and wanting to find or share information the question was “Where’s the nearest phone box?” rather than “What’s the wi-fi password?” If you wanted to know what was happening in town, you had to go there – to a pub or to a record shop to find a flyer. If you wanted to settle an argument, or look up who was in that film or whatever, you had to wait until you could visit a library. At the time, there was no what’s on-type magazine. It was word of mouth or a piece of paper. If you wanted to promote alternative culture, you had to do it yourself. I had been organising gigs on that alternative scene for a few years at various venues (function rooms in pubs) around Nottingham and beyond. This involved making individual posters and leaflets for each gig using a typewriter, scissors and glue and was mostly done at the old Art Exchange on Gregory Boulevard, where they had something called a strip printer. This was basically a light box with a strip of photographic paper fed through it. You could then choose from four or five celluloid negative strips each with the alphabet and digits 0-9 in a different font. This strip was lined up over the film strip and the lid closed. Switch on the light inside the box and the letter was printed photographically on to the paper. You then had to manually pull the strip to the next required letter, and then repeat the process until you had spelt out the name of the band or venue or whatever you wanted as the headline. After that, you’d take the photographic paper strip to the dark room to expose it. The photos to your right will give you some idea, but I promise you the one they had at the Art Exchange was much more primitive. All the letterings had to be glued onto a sheet of paper like a ransom note, and from there it was on to the photocopier to knock up the poster and leaflets. Eventually it occurred to me that it would be a lot easier and cheaper if I put two gigs on the same flyer, then why not four, and fold it, and so on. I then added some reviews of demo tapes (yes, music cassettes) I had been sent, and a broadsheet ensued, still produced in the same primitive way. I stuck on it as a masthead my then favourite phrase ‘Overall There is a Smell of Fried Onions’ (long story – and a long session at the strip printer), filled some empty space with other venue’s adverts and distributed it around town. I took some into Jacey’s Bar. They said, “Oh no, you’ve used our old leaflet.” I thought I was in trouble but instead it was: “Here’s our new artwork and twenty quid. Go and get some more copies done.” By accident, a new publication was born. I put my salesman’s head on and went to work. After several altered and re-photocopied issues, I was contacted by a local outfit called the Media Store which had been looking at starting a magazine themselves. They had a computer - an Apple Macintosh Classic with a massive 1MB Ram and a 9” screen (see photo right). Not ideal for typesetting A4 pages but it sure beat scissors and glue! I used to go to local band gigs, stand at the bar and if the mood took me, I’d scribble on the back of a beermat or a flyer, and try to decipher it later. I liked doing it that way – the spontaneity and anonymity of it. I never really liked to organise a review, have to plan it, introduce myself and then be obliged to write something. I’d rather just do it on the spur of the moment, and it didn’t have to be a band. Often I wrote more about the venue, the crowd, or the carpet even. I reviewed a jigsaw and a lift. In fact one thing I regret not introducing to
the magazine was a regular column about hand dryers. You can tell a lot about a place by its washroom facilities. I could have called it ‘Dried Alive.’ Soon, other people started sending me reviews, many written in the same anonymous way. Hardly anyone asked us for tickets in the early days. I never actually met a lot of the writers, as stuff started coming in from all over the country and sometimes from abroad. I hardly ever arranged reviews. It was fantastic that they were just sending stuff in like that. They just wanted to be part of something and join in the fun. Overall eventually grew to become a platform for some very talented writers. It is that of which I am most proud. That shallot.
secondofall THere Is a smeLL OF FrIeD onIons
Overlord Paul Kilbride Editor Jared Wilson Assistant Editor Eve Smallman Design Natalie Owen Photos Broadway Cinema, Chris Olley, Curtis Powell, DiY, Georgia Stone, Jonathan Casey, Lynda Bowen, Paul David Maher and Sue Starbuck Words Christine Chapel, Chris Olley, Gareth Thompson, Gerald Klashnekoff, Ian Gardiner, Jim Cooke, Johnny Violent, Lynda Bowen, Martin James, Paul Kilbride, Peter Birch and Scotty Clark Website Hamza Hussein Beer Danny Pearson Thanks also to: Anton Lockwood, Bill Drummond, Caroline Hennigan, Ralph Barklam, Stephen Barker, Timothy Leary and the new Old Angel crew
This project would not have happened without support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund
Produced with love by LeftLion to our long lost dad Check out the archives now at: overallmag.com
“I loved the day the mag hit the streets. So many people wanted to punch so many unknown writers.” We felt like storytellers and troubadours. Romantics rampaging through the guest lists of every pub, club and venue in the city, drinking like legends and sniffing like the cold winds of an East Midlands summer. Come rain, shine and rain again we trudged from gig to gig, rave to rave, party to party on a mission to feel the music, hear the buzz and see the chaos. We stuck to the floors of the beer stained carpets of a multitude of venues, we danced in the muddy fields of the Derbyshire Dales, and we sweated it out on the dancefloors of the city’s clubs. We felt like the new generation of journalists – misadventure at the centre, Hunter S. Thompson in our psyches, Lester Bangs at our addled core. And then, while Nottingham still slept we wrote about our adventures. We designed the words and images, printed up the stories and distributed the legend of nineties Nottingham music to anywhere that would share the wealth of the adventures – the stories, the mayhem, the chaos, the joy, the laughter, the whole fucking madness of that moment in time. The Overall office buzzed to the sound our fingers thumping blue murder out of the steam-driven Apple Mac Classic, running a prehistoric version of Quark Express. Music crackled. Phones interrupted. The aroma of roll ups, spray mount and vodka oozing from our pores clung to the crumbling alabaster and yellowing windows. Irresistible. Exciting. Addictive. No fried onions though. For that brief moment in time we felt… no, we knew we were making a difference to the cultural scenes of Nottingham and nearby towns. We were on a mission and it felt awesome. And god, how we pissed some people off. Nottingham was learning how to take criticism just as we were learning how to criticise. Some people hated us. What the fuck
did we know about good music, theatre or art anyway? It was true, what the fuck did we know? We were learning all of the time. And we learned quickly. We wrote under pseudonyms to avoid old school trolling. Who was Christine Chapel? Clue, she never propped up the bar at the Old Angel, but she did bash out lines of dishonest honesty on that Mac Classic… I loved the day the mag hit the streets. So many people wanted to punch so many unknown writers. But we made people happy too. That thrill of seeing your music, art or theatre being written about. The joy of seeing your words and photos in print. Words were tumbling from those pages telling the city that there was a scene worth believing in, worth investing in. Punk and hardcore scenes, the hip-hop scene, rave and club culture, festival culture, the funk city happening. The independent shops, clothes designers, theatre producers, designers, artists. People were talking about our culture. People everywhere were taking notice. I loved the day the mag hit the streets – so many people smiling because they were being noticed. I first started writing for Overall in issue five, with Ozric Tentacles on the cover. I was the gobshite vocalist in a band called Crunch Bird, who played everywhere and anywhere and ran club nights at Bobby Browns and Chaplins. I’d also become the promoter at the The Old Angel (no, Oasis never played there) and the Hearty Goodfellow. And I DJ’d anywhere and everywhere. It was inevitable that I’d come into contact with the irrepressible Paul Overall and his sidekick Stephen Barker. By issue nine, Crunch Bird adorned Overall’s first full colour cover. Job done! By issue twelve (the one with a blurred Paul from Stak it Up on the cover), I was installed as Paul’s right hand man. Stephen sat to the left. I’d been reeled in and I was
words: Martin James (aka Martin Crunch and a few more invented names) addicted to the rush of the steam-driven written word. By issue sixteen, Stephen had left to go and get a proper job, and it was just Paul and me… and a band of scalpel-sharp writers – real and imagined. As our legend grew, people in London began to take notice. Overall was way ahead of the game. We were only the third desktop published listings magazine in the country. We were featured on Radio 4’s News Stand. The postbag bulged with daily deliveries of promo records, and press officers phoned continuously. Would you put this band in your mag? Do you want tickets to this gig? So, we asked, will you buy advertising in the mag? Thought not. There was a little bit of punk rock in Overall’s DNA. It was DIY. We rumbled to our own rules, and we wrote about what we wanted to write about. We covered what interested us, what we loved and what we hated. There was rarely room for the mediocre. For those few years we wrote thousands of words for Overall. We promoted gigs, set up a PR company, put on special events, ran coaches to gigs at The Wherehouse in Derby (Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy and Defunkt anyone?) and we wrote, wrote, wrote about it all. We churned it out, laughing. I moved to London in August 1993 with my partner Lisa, who I met through the magazine. I still wrote for Overall. I penned a column about electronic music called Dubtranbience and I did a few interviews. But this all trailed off when I started writing for Melody Maker. I’d asked one of their section editors how to become a journalist for them. He said write 150 words on anything you like. I interviewed Dave Thompson from Nottingham’s Time Recordings because he always had loads of opinions. I lined up three of his most
contentious quotes and called it Mouth Off. A week later it was printed and I was in, all because I’d met Dave Thompson, and all thanks to Overall and Paul. I went on to become Melody Maker’s new bands editor, and then part of the original editorial team of dance music magazine Muzik. I became features editor of Vox and then editor of short-lived independent music magazine Flipside. I freelanced for just about every music magazine in the UK (except NME, who I hated) and a large number around the world. I wrote regularly for the Independent, Independent on Sunday and The Guardian. I’ve written music biographies and histories that have been published all over the world, and my book about drum & bass, State of Bass: Jungle – The Story So Far, opens with a mention of the Marcus Garvey Centre and local boys Nebula II. My books about The Prodigy include stories of how Maxim worked with Notts producer Sheik Yan Groove (aka Ian Sherwood) before joining the Essex crew, and how I first met the band’s late nineties guitarist Gizz Butt at a Halloween gig I’d put on in the caves under the Old Angel. His band English Dogs were booked as support. It also included stories of how Graeme Park played house music for the first time in the UK at a Rock City all dayer. Before Manchester. Before the Hacienda. Before the Garage even! But that’s another story. So, from Overall to the world. I owe any success as a journalist to Nottingham. I owe it all to that period of pure joy hammering out issues of Overall. In fact I owe it all to Paul. But most of all I owe it to Paul’s guiding statement that featured in almost every issue, ‘Remember some but not all of the information contained herein may be false. Stay alert!’. Never a truer word… overallmag.com
words: Christine Chapel
We’ve trawled through the entire Overall archives and found some proper treasure for you to read in full online. *Please note all dates are of the issues they were featured in and not of the events themselves (which would have been a month or so earlier).
Arnold Market September 1991 Not an ode to the place where you buy cheap pants and broken Easter eggs. Instead a look at the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger who, upon the launch of Terminator 2, was about to turn from heel to babyface. Written by Caroline Hennigan, now boss of Broadway.
Ade Edmondson October 1992 In the eighties he’d become iconic alongside Rik Mayall in The Young Ones. At the time of interview Bottom was being premiered by the BBC and Ade was in Nottingham to star in Grave Plots at the Playhouse.
The Levellers October 1991 Described by Overall at the time as “the buntiest clompers in the clundy,” which we believe was a line from a Pork Farms commercial. Levellers bass player Jeremy had a chat as they brought Levelling The Land to Rock City for the first time.
KWS. December 1992 Cast your mind back to 1992 and simpler times. A Nottingham band hadn’t been at number one (in the days that meant something) since Paper Lace’s Billy Don’t Be a Hero in 1974. But when it finally happened there were mixed feelings in the local music scene.
DJ Pablo March 1992 If you liked dancing in Nottingham in the nineties then you would have loved DJ Pablo. A resident at The Box and later The Hearty Goodfellow, his choice of tunes helped turn rock kids into jazz aficionados. There was no escape from ‘Positiv Pablo Power.’
Mercury Rev October 1993 This New York rock band had just released their second LP Boces, an album which got them in trouble touring at gigs like Lollapalooza for playing it far too loud. A team of three from Overall went to interview frontman David Baker to talk NASA and Michael Jackson.
Gilles Peterson March 1992 Gilles Peterson is no stranger to Nottingham, having played here for Mimm and Wigflex in the last few years. But this interview was definitely an early visit, as he talks about the dawn of Talkin’ Loud and Acid Jazz.
The Ramones November 1994 By no means the most in-depth interview Joey Ramone ever did, but the writer (the delighfully titled Fat Dead Nazi) manages to tease a few gems out of him such as his dislike of Subterranean Jungle and how the band name was inspired by Paul McCartney.
Smashing Pumpkins October 1992 Overall caught the band just as they’d released Gish and were about to become one of the decade’s biggest American rock exports. Billy Corgan (misspelled as Gordon) starts the interview slating journalists and ends it talking about the UK and US special relationship.
Ken Loach March 1997 Still relevant today, Ken Loach was 30-years into his directing career at the time of this interview with trusty Overall film writer Hank Quinlan. He’d just released Carla’s Song and talks through Kes, political censorship and… erm Carry On Ken Loach.
visuall “One things for sure – Roseanne will never be the same again!” Barton Fink, March 1992 “Do filmmakers really think that women have a gene which makes them scream and cry in moments of severe stress, while men just grimace in silence? If this is America’s greatest director, God help us!” Cape Fear, April 1992 “Proves that you can be superficial on the surface and still create an eminently watchable piece of Hokum (although my main memory of the film is provided by the Evening Post which wonderfully mis-titled it Break Point).” Point Break, May 1992
Take a trip down memory lane and see how some 90s classics were received in the film reviews section...
“Audiences in America blessed with a nauseatingly nostalgic view of this country will no doubt be nonplussed, but over here – tabloid press and Tory scum apart – we know better.” Trainspotting, March 1996 “A fun packed feast of entertainment it sure isn't…” Kids, May 1996 “Pleasant throwbacks to the Alien trilogy but it's family orientated – even the pet dog escapes... The film is clearly aimed at the kind of audience who wouldn't want to see the canine killed.” Independence Day, July 1996
fried alive It’s hard to be exact, but over the course of eight years there were about a million gig reviews in Overall pages. Here’s how some acts you may have heard of were received back then… “They’re still a new band and seem as yet rather unaccustomed to the interest they may have aroused.” Nirvana at Rock City, January 1992 “Debut Nottingham gig for the latest young hopefuls to hail from Oxford... Angry young men? You'd better believe it. Next time it will not be the Imperial.” Radiohead at the Imperial, July 1992 “Oh dear oh dear, there's a bloke on stage who is fatter than Ozzy Osbourne, dressed like a reject from Wayne's World who makes Barbara Cartland look positively youthful.” Yngwie Malmsteen at Rock City, July 1992 “Brett Anderson has plenty of confidence... coming across like an emaciated Patsy Kensit, dangerously swinging his microphone." Suede at Trent Poly, December 1992 “So now you know. The Minister has spoken and the policy is clear. There is an emphasis on funk.”
Gil Scott Heron at The Marcus Garvey, December 1992 “Even the brilliant Youth Against Facism and the old White Cross really didn't save the evening. A bloody shame. Sonic Youth by numbers. I'm hoping they'll forget how to count.” Sonic Youth at Rock City, February 1993 “He was gradually drowning and was only saved from a complete stage death by the recital of various fan favourites.” John Cooper-Clarke at the Old Vic, February 1993 “His stage show consists of him screaming in rage at the abuse and humiliation that destroyed his childhood and robbed him of spiritual well-being.” Henry Rollins at the Old Vic, March 1993 “Hasbeenism is obviously more interesting than isbeingism. Low quality is always something I've admired.” Gary Numan at Mansfield Leisure Centre, December 1993
“A predictable development of the stock Manchester sound, vivacious enough, with the added quirk of the Johnny Rotten's (and quite horrible geezers).” Oasis at Rock City, October 1994 “Rock City is transformed into a scene resembling the Gulf War with army camouflage giving the set a brutal appearance.” Manic Street Preachers, November 1994 “At some points Zac does come across as real. At times he seems angry. Is he still real? The boy is only 22.” Rage Against The Machine at Disco Two (Rock City), March 1993 “I laughed my cotton M&S boxer shorts off, as did the rest of tonight's regularly erupting full house. The heirs to the crap ITV variety show were on fine form.” The Smell of Reeves & Mortimer at Nottingham Royal Centre, July 1994
words: Christine Chapel
A city’s cultural scene is defined by the places people meet, drink, dance and hang out. Here’s some of our favourite Nottingham haunts of the nineties… Alley Cafe Veggie-friendly cafe, opposite the old Odeon cinema, which first opened under the stewardship of DiY members. Eventually it was taken over by Ben Rose (current owner of The Angel) and ran until 2018. Now a sushi bar. Cannon Court, NG1 6JE Arboretum Pub Once a well kept secret where we could turn up on a sunny summer lunchtime and enjoy the best beer garden in the city. Then along came Rob Howie-Smith, who told all the Trent students about it and spoiled it for the locals. Later it became available as a music venue and Overall put on Bushfire here. Waverley Street, NG7 4HF Arcade Records Located roughly where Fat Cats is now, this legendary record shop ran from 1974-2000 and was co-owned by brothers Kevin and Paul Thomas. Stars such as Donny Osmond, Chris Rea and Take That’s Gary Barlow made appearances there. Chapel Bar, NG1 6JQ Beatroot A late nineties nightclub that put on some great events, including DiY’s Bounce night. However, it made national news for the wrong reasons in 1999, when 350 people fled the place after gunshots during a fight. It later became Evasion and is now Propaganda. Broadway, NG1 1PS The Bell Inn Historians think they’ve been serving beer in here for nearly 500 years, so we’re glad to say it’s survived the last twentyodd too. A regular Sunday jazz haunt to this day. Angel Row, NG1 6HL Black Orchid A 2500-capacity club opposite Showcase Cinema. In 1992, a young Take That played there and in 1999, Top of The Pops was filmed here featuring Tom Jones and Martine McCutcheon. Later rebranded as Isis and bombed. Redfield Way, NG7 2UW Bobby Browns Run for a while by Nick Turner (later of The Chameleon) and featured performances from the likes of Vivian Stanshall and Moonflowers. Back in the days when Trent Poly had it’s York House base on Mansfield Road, this place had DJs and live
entertainment every night of the week. Previously known as the Empire, it was later demolished. Mansfield Road, NG1 3GY The Britannia Inn Cheap beer and bands venue located near where Confetti and Antenna stand now. Not to be confused with the similarly-named boat club. Beck Street, NG1 3NB The Britannia Boat Club Way back in the day this place hosted Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart and The Sex Pistols. During the nineties it held strong and put on fortnightly events with the likes of Wholesome Fish, Dum Dums, and TARDIS nights. Finally closing soon as part of the football stadium rebuild. Trentside, West Bridgford, NG2 5FA Broadway Cinema The city's long-standing home for film was visited twice during the nineties by Quentin Tarantino (see p25). Later in the decade Shane Meadows used it as a base to create TwentyFourSeven (1997) and A Room For Romeo Brass (1999). Broad Street, NG1 3AL The Cookie Club A nightclub that first opened in what is now the cocktail and blues haunt Tilt. After ten years they moved to a bigger capacity venue on St James’s Street and kept the nineties indie vibe alive. It rebranded as the Retro Rooms in 2016, but finally closed its doors in 2018. Pelham Street, NG1 2EH Cucamara Still very much alive and open, happily selling brightly coloured and heavily discounted cocktails and tequila shots for the last three decades. Hurts Yard, NG1 6JD Double Bubble Nightclub located just off the Market Square and previously known as Eden and Colour Wheel, which is where Nirvana and Foo Fighters agent Russ Warby promoted gigs (see p32). It had two big rooms and was host to various nights including very early Detonate. Now an award-winning public toilet. Greyhound Street, NG1 2DP
ETC One of the many second hand record shops around in those years before Spotify. Situated on Mansfield Road and run by a bloke called Julian. Mansfield Road, NG1 3HW Faces Home to ‘In Your Face’ Fridays, which ran with the excellent tagline; ‘For the informed clubber who lives for House and Garage, not in a house with a garage.’ Now The Lacehouse. Broadway, NG1 1PS Firkin Pubs There were three Firkin pubs in the town centre: The Filly and Firkin on Mansfield Road, the Fletcher and Firkin opposite the castle and another one on the corner of Goldsmith Street where Albert's is now. Various locations Funky Monkey DJ-focused record shop, which first opened in the West End Arcade in 1993. It then moved to Market Street and St James’s Street before finally settling in Goose Gate in 1996. Sadly closed in October 2009 and is now a hair removal shop. Goose Gate, NG1 1FF The Golden Fleece Some things never change and, despite having about a dozen owners since the 90s, this place is still going strong. In 1997-98 Shod Collective played here every Saturday at 3pm in what was billed as ‘the only afternoon nightclub in town.’ Mansfield Road, NG1 3FN The Gregory Ropey pub in Radford which catered for the after party and all-night crowds from The Marcus Garvey. Now student flats called ‘The Gregory.’ Ilkeston Road, NG7 3HG The Hand and Heart Still in the same spot in the caves up towards Canning Circus, still serving great beer and putting on regular jazz gigs. Although, sadly, regular piano player Pete 'The Feet' Baylis passed away in 2018. Derby Road, NG1 5BA Hearty Goodfellow A live music pub over three floors that was once twinned with The Old Angel. The middle floor was a regular drinking space while the basement ‘Dive’ bar featured purple glitter walls and hosted regular specialist music nights. The top bar was where the Hearty really came to life though and was also briefly named as ‘Rock Stop.’ Overall once put on a special touring night here with Gallon Drunk, Therapy? and Sun Carriage. However, their best night was the Friday Fish Fry club night featuring the late, great DJ Pablo. Now the curry house 4500 Miles from Deli. Mount Street, NG1 6HE
The Hippo Post-Venus nightclub follow-up by James Bailie. It then went on to become known as The Bomb, which was legendary from the late 90s onwards for drum and bass nights. Now cocktail venue Coco Tang. Bridlesmith Gate, NG1 2GN Ice Nine Yes, we know it’s a shop that sells jewellery and jossticks. But they were regular advertisers in Overall and therefore a big part of the scene. Still going strong, forty years on. Unfortunately you can’t buy magic mushrooms over the counter from them now though. Goose Gate, NG1 1FE The Imperial Last known as Bla Bla bar after various other incarnations, including Westside Bar. Believe it or not, Radiohead played this tiny venue in 1992 (see p31). St James’s Street, NG1 6FH Jaceys Last known as Queen of Clubs, this place has now been vacant for a while. At one point it was populated by the uber trendy art, film, fashion and set design crowd. G-Force clothing was essential – basically because everyone from the Hockley store were regulars or worked there. These Vagabond Shoes used to play here and one or two of them became Tindersticks. Heathcoat Street, NG1 3AA The Kool Kat Known as The Garage for much of the eighties, with indie downstairs and dance upstairs – including a residency from Graeme Park. It became the Kool Kat in the early nineties and then reverted back to The Garage again, before becoming the Lizard Lounge. See p24 for more. St Mary's Gate, NG1 1PU Madisons Located over the road from the Theatre Royal, downstairs was The Box – a dance venue which became well-loved for its Jazz In The Box nights, featuring DJ Pablo and Tim ‘Love’ Lee. The venue later became McClusky's, then in 2003 it opened as Mode after a £1 million refit, but soon became synonymous with police bother. Now an oriental supermarket. Goldsmith Street, NG1 5LT Marcus Garvey Ballroom Originally built in the 1930s as Raleigh’s Headquarters, this legendary venue has been home to some serious raves over the decades. It was the location for Primal Scream’s seriously oversold 1991 Screamadelica show where the promoters discovered you couldn’t get 1500 people into a 700-capacity venue. The venue also had bullet holes in the ceiling after one punter got a bit too excited at one of the regular dancehall events. Now it’s mainly used as a community centre for Nottingham’s elderly African and Caribbean citizens. Lenton Boulevard, NG7 2BY overallmag.com
The Market Bar Hockley venue, always popular with students. Finally closed its doors in 2018 after three decades. Now a charity shop. Goose Gate, NG1 1FF The Maze The big room at the back of the Forest Tavern pub, first opened its doors under this brand in early 1997. It became something of an institution for the next two decades, although sadly finally closed up in 2019. Expected to become student flats. Mansfield Road, NG1 3FT MGM Previously Barry Noble's Astoria (named after the live-fast-dieyoung millionaire playboy who owned it). In the early 1990s it was rebranded to MGM and then, towards the end of the decade as Ocean, which is still is to this day. They haven’t changed the carpets since. Greyfriar Gate, NG1 7EF Mushroom Bookshop Okay, so it was a bookshop rather than a record shop. But, this place advertised in Overall and was radical enough to get attacked by fascists in the 90s. Jamcafe now stands in its place and former staff member Ross Bradshaw went on to set up Five Leaves. Heathcoat Street, NG1 3AA The Music Inn Instrument shop, which has been holding it down on Alfreton Road since the early nineties selling instruments, sheet music and various accessories. Alfreton Road, NG7 3NG Narrow Boat Back in the nineties this place was twinned with The Old Angel and hosted hundreds of gigs from Overall, The Night With No Name and many more. Demolished in 1996 as part of the Canal Street regeneration. Canal Street, NG1 7EH The Old Angel The name might have been altered slightly and there are big mash tuns and brew kettles where some of the seats used to be. But not much else has changed over the years. This was the muso pub where everyone seemed to be in a band. The gigs in The Chapel were completely central to the nineties Nottingham indie music scene. There were also regular hip hop nights, punk and hardcore shows and occassional pre-club events to get people ‘in the mood’. It remains an important venue to this day. Stoney Street, NG1 1LG
The Old Vic The first home of Night With No Name promotions. Also a comedy haven in the late nineties thanks to Darrell Martin’s Just The Tonic nights. Now Das Kino. Fletcher Gate, NG1 2FZ The Potters House Old music hall taken over by a church. Later renamed The Malt Cross and still open and putting regular gigs on. St James’s Street, NG1 6FG Rendezvous Back in the early nineties, this Canning Circus haunt was a haven for comedy and spoken word, with its late 1991 season featuring the likes of John-Cooper Clarke, Mark Steel and Henry Normal. Later rebranded as Pengelly's, Bierkeller and finally The Ropewalk. Derby Road, NG1 5BB Ritzy Big cheesy nightclub, disco and meat market which has catered for the musically tasteless in the city for decades. This is where Trent Poly Entertainment Secretary Bill Redhead first launched Carwash. Also known as The Palais and Oceana. Now Pryzm. Lower Parliament Street, NG1 3BB Rob’s Record Mart Record hive set up by Northern Soul DJ and former Selectadiscer Rob Smith, happily this place has barely changed over the last two decades and remains open. Hurts Yard, NG1 6HL Rock City What can we say? It’s a local institution and has been Nottingham’s biggest live music venue for forty years. During the years Overall was in print you could have seen Nirvana, Blur, The Cure, Rage Against The Machine, Public Enemy Orbital and Pulp here. Talbot Street, NG1 5GG Running Horse Back in the nineties it was a bastion for rock and blues. It’s gone through a few changes of ownership, but it’s still the same now under the guidance of publican Rob Gibson. Alfreton Road, NG7 3NG Russells Live music venue and bar that was a hangout for students due to its close proximity to the Poly. Sometime in the noughties this place changed ownership and became The Orange Tree. Then twenty years later it was renamed The Playwright. Shakespeare Street, NG1 4FQ
Sam Fays Formerly the Grand Central Diner, this was a decent nineties gigging venue, which put on bands such as Apollo 440 and Back To The Planet. It later became the city's first Hooters before it was demolished in 1996. London Road, NG2 3AE
Venus It was only open for four years (1990-1994) but it still has mythic status due to its association with the house scene. Pete Tong, Brandon Block, Paul Oakenfold, Graeme Park, Jeremy Healy and Fatboy Slim all played here. Stanford Street, NG1 7BQ
Selectadisc The city’s most legendary record store which ran from 1966 to 2009 and was a pivotal point in Nottingham’s music scene for five decades. At one point they had three different shops. See p15 for more. Market Street, NG1 6HX
Wango Riley's Travelling Stage A mobile venue complete with artists that Paul Overall booked for that infamous Rock and Reggae gig in 1993. It was owned and run by members of the band Bushfire. The company is still going, but the original stage may not be. Travelling venue
Skyy Club Radford’s very own nineties venue that hosted nights such as Excessaweez, with all kinds of jazz, folk, dub, roots and ambient action. Later it became Blue Print, and after that it became flats. Alfreton Road, Radford, NG7 5NH
Warrows Wine Bar A regular haunt for the Overall crew, mainly because of the cheap cider and Connect 4. It never seemed to sell much wine, just lots of very rough scrumpy. Demolished when the Ibis hotel was built. Bottle Lane, NG1 2HL
Square Centre The city's busiest recording studio of the nineties, which claimed David Bowie and Take That among its clients. Under the guidance of Tim Andrews they were regulars in Overall and supportive of the local scene. Still going under different management; as is Rubber Biscuit studio next door. Alfred Street North, NG3 1AA Templars Bar themed after the Roger Moore-fronted television programme The Saint, which briefly housed a Volvo P1800 coupe, like he drove in the series. The building later became a curry house called ‘Posh Spice’ and is now part of Nottingham Trent Uni. Goldsmith Street, NG1 5JT Tivoli The first ever venue for Nottingham Playhouse before it moved up the road. It was opened up in the nineties by Rob Howie Smith as a classy diner and Overall were there on launch night. In recent years it’s changed to Spanky Van Dykes and Alberts. Goldsmith Street, NG1 5JT Trent Poly Students’ Union An absolute hive for live music in the nineties with, the likes of Teenage Fanclub, Nirvana and Radiohead rocking out the place, as well as comedians like Newman and Baddiel, Eddie Izzard and Bill Hicks doing stand-up. Most of this was due to their booker and manager Bill Redhead. Still there, but mainly just a bar for students these days. Shakespeare Street, NG1 4GH Valentinos Busy bar which held regular house nights such as The Groove Factory. Now a Levi’s Store. Clumber Street, NG1 3ED
Whispers Nightclub which opened up towards the end of the nineties and hosted regular Northern Soul nights from Rob Smith (Rob’s Records). Now Bridezillas Boutique. Lower Parliament Street, NG1 1EH Ye Olde Salutation Still rocking after all these years! Their regular club nights in the attic probably haven’t changed much either. Hounds Gate, NG1 7AA Zone Pre-bar for the students who would head on to Ritzy. Shots so cheap you barely had to pay for them. Occasional DJ appearances from Trent Poly gig booker Bill Redhead. King Edward Street, NG1 1EU
Have we missed out your favourite venue? If so, it’s probably for one of these reasons: A) It was open before or after the nineties B) It was called something else for much of the nineties (see above) C) To be honest, we thought the place was shit D) We totally forgot it and your memory is much better than ours
Clockwise from top left: Digs on the decks, An early press shot, A dozen DiYers behind the banner, Digs, Harry, Woosh and Simon DK in 2014, Guests on the boat to a free party in Scotland, Harry during an anti-Criminal Justice Act demonstration.
DiY Soundsystem were one of the biggest raving crews of the nineties. Their ethos was all about rejecting profits and putting on damn good parties. Founding member Pete Woosh talks us through some of the highs and lows of being in the gang during the nineties... The date is Thursday 23 November, 1989. There are a handful of people dancing in the Garage nightclub. This happens to be the birthday of my friend Harry, as well as the first official club night of what would become the DiY Soundsystem.
borrowed almost ten grand to have our own custom built system with seven-foot bass bins. This became known as the Black Box and was a huge factor in our success. The bass sound, especially outdoors, was nothing short of massive.
The story doesn’t start here though – it really began in local squats and house parties over the previous couple of years. During the late eighties, Nottingham had a thriving squat and house party scene. In Hyson Green and Forest Fields, you would find anarcho punks and ravers regularly dancing next to each other.
By May 1992 the festival scene, which we were now an integral part of, was growing and the authorities were not keen on allowing it to continue. The Avon Free Festival, traditionally held on the May Bank holiday weekend, had an injunction and only thanks to some swift manoeuvres by the travellers, switched to Castlemorton common. This festival has since achieved a legendary status, but it was in many ways a death knell for a way of life, with the government bringing in the Criminal Justice Act of 1994 as a direct result.
In many ways we were fortunate. It was still Margaret Thatcher’s heyday and unlike today it was much easier for creatives to sign on and focus on music, art or whatever it was that was your thing. Most of us had become adept at stretching a dole cheque out to last the week. We were never loaded but we were happy. One week, a few of us managed to get enough cash together to go to one of the raves that was going off around the M25. We paid what was, for us at the time, an exorbitant amount of money, bought some ecstasy for £25 and found ourselves in a huge warehouse dancing around some half-arsed lights to a crappy sound system. We decided we could do better. Soon after this experience and a lot of bickering over a name, DiY was born. After the first ‘official’ night we continued doing the squats, parties and benefits. We blagged a regular night at the Stork Club (later known as the Skyy Club) which we called DizzY. We got a regular crowd and before we knew it were being asked to run nights at some of the clubs in town. This was early nineties, and through our festival connections we hooked up with a bunch of travellers who had distanced themselves from the ‘brew crew’ types and had switched on to the rave scene. We took decks and records and they provided sound and a marquee - a great friendship ensued. Things started to move pretty quickly, and soon we had regular nights at the Cookie Club (Serve Chilled) and Venus (Bounce). One of my favourite memories has to be seeing a coach full of travellers and a dog queueing up to get into Venus, one of the trendiest clubs of it’s time. It was the festivals and free parties which led us to buying the DiY Sound System. We managed to secure a bank loan and
Back in Nottingham we were doing Bounce fortnightly at the Dance Factory, a sweat pit if ever there was one. This gave us the opportunity to rent an office and studio space and we began to write some of the music that was in our heads, and we launched a record label called Strictly 4 Groovers. Over time we released over a hundred records, inviting some of the UK’s top producers into the studio with us. We had a large following of loyal fans who accompanied us all over the world and we held legendary parties in San Francisco, Paris, Amsterdam, Ibiza and Dallas to name a few. In San Francisco we rented an apartment for forty people for a whole month. This was us at our peak, but things couldn’t continue at such a pace. Personal politics between us soured and the advent of heroin in our scene saw things start to fall apart by the late nineties. DiY continued but not in the way that it had done before. Our hedonistic joy was replaced by a dark cloud. Late last year, DiY celebrated its 30th birthday in Nottingham over a long weekend with events at the Old Angel, The Golden Fleece and Peggy’s Skylight, as well as a free party on the Forest in the early hours of Sunday morning. It continues more as an ideal these days, though you’ll still find many of the DiY DJs playing at festivals and parties. Many of us flew close to the sun and got burnt but there is no room for regret. DiY gave us the chance to travel the world, create a large scene of people that are still in touch with one another to this day, and spread our vibe of peace and love through music.
DiY celebrated 30 years last November. Scotty Clark (aka Scotland Yardie) wrote this poem and dedicated it to Moffball, who ran lighting at the shows In the town of Nottingham, Where the sheriff was always stoned There lived a bunch of vagabonds, The city streets they roamed
The sheriff was upset about the noise He decided that he would deploy Road blocks, barriers against the crew The sheriff's men did pursue
Robin dealt in crack cocaine, Maid Marian was on the game And Little John and Friar Tuck Were on the run in Spain
Those who danced to repetitive beats So Robin took the fight to the London streets Against the sheriff and the Criminal Justice Bill It was now like raving on a contraceptive pill
Hearing of the money made, The sheriff became a promoter A lot of shit music got played For his punters he cared not one iota
None of the pleasure and none of the fun So Robin took the party back to square one Deep house became the dog house With no countryside views for anyone
Robin said to those he pissed off, “If no one pays no one gets ripped off” So November ‘89 at the Kool Kat DiY sound system set out to prove that
Opiates, pills and crack cocaine Where only poets bled in the acid reign Dreaming in yellow, dancing in mud A complexity of ecstasy of that Mile High Club
We didn’t need the sheriff With his shite music and tariff That fledgling collective Put it all in perspective And the free party people were born
With Icarus and his sunshine lust They flew over the suns top, Their wax vinyl melted, and They fell into a floppy disco
From Kool Kat to Rhythm Collision The merry folk voiced a collective vision Purveyors of the free party dream Pioneers of the deep house scene Oh! On a Friday night You should have seen us Queuing up to get into Venus With all that love shared between us With a Bounce ticket and a disco biscuit Trance induced in our dancing shoes Oddballs, weirdos, and revellers A20K rig with countryside views Townies, students and travellers Bouncing on a Serve Chilled pill At airfields and Breedon on the Hill Strictly 4 Groovers, narcotic hoovers Dancing on rural manoeuvres No tickets meant more money to spend, On chemicals that had us dancing for days on end Floppy disco and party poppers San Francisco wife swappers Dancing in the rays of sun Celebrating 2922 days of fun Who’d have thought it would become Nineteen thousand and fifty one? Robin continued to party without a reason In all weathers, in all seasons The winter of our disco tent That emanated from the banks of the Trent Then at Castlemorton in May 92 Robin assembled a Nottingham crew At that Goose Fair of debauchery With a middle finger up at authority Travellers, students, ravers, townies Edible chemicals and hash brownies Chaos theory with Timothy Leary Vivid gestures with Spirit Wrestlers Dancing with a dealer doctor Firing flares at the helicopter Dancing to the epic mix Jumping off the Malvern Cliffs
Landing on a poppies pillow They embraced the old reliable; Alcohol: with all the charm Of a mute and deaf DJ with only one arm The merry men and women were ill-equipped Soon it were rehabs and methadone scripts Without the merry men and women The sheriff could get on with being the villain His clubs were playing handbag Admission came with a price tag The sheriff’s men confiscated all the pills Nottingham was blue, a city without thrills Robin’s party people cleaned up their act Saw the city’s pain and formed a pact To celebrate their 30th birthday They decided again that no one should pay Robin and co went down to Bristol Returning with a van load of crystal The best MDMA the city had ever seen They joined forces with old Smokescreen To put the sheriff off their scent The smokies led him to an empty tent Leaving Robin and co free to follow a bright star That led them to the cities reservoir Like the KLF burning a million nicker The merry folk figured it would far quicker To drop the vanload of crystal MDMA In the water supply so no one should pay As the city awoke on 23rd of November Drinking water that gave them a splendour It was the most wonderful thing I ever did see The entire population of Nottingham Off their face on E 23rd November is our 4th of July So raise your glass to DiY Be thankful that we were there Dancing freely in the open air Happy birthday to everyone Let’s celebrate 19050 Days of fun
recordstall In the days before iTunes and Spotify, Nottingham boomed with dozens of record shops. The biggest of these was Selectadisc, which opened in 1966 and finally closed its doors in 2009. Jim Cooke was the store manager and worked for them for over thirty years. Here he remembers the halcyon days of the nineties... Record shops were riding high when the nineties started.1989 had seen some fantastic releases by De La Soul, The Stone Roses, The Pixies, Soul II Soul, the Beastie Boys, Happy Mondays and we at Selectadisc were selling plenty of these. The Wonderstuff were massive as well, Lou Reed had returned to form and debut albums from Mudhoney and Nirvana pointed the way to the future, their path being prepared by the ahead-of-its-time American SST label. It wasn’t just physical music we were selling either; the shops were heavily involved in selling gig tickets for Rock City, Bill Redhead's gigs at Trent Poly and Lynda and Anton's Night With No Name, which covered various venues and helped break many new bands n this city. Darrell Martin had started his Just The Tonic comedy nights, and the city was buzzing with live entertainment. Even the football was good with both Notts County and Forest in the top division. Selectadisc was heavily involved in the football fanzine movement too, selling retro football shirts, subbuteo shirts and fanzines from across the UK. England's success in Italia ‘90 coupled with New Order's World In Motion prepared the way for the gentrification of football. Local fanzines The Pie (Notts County) and The Almighty Brian (Forest) were fantastic sellers and a must for any local football fan. In our shop Paul, Fergus and Gary had a grip on the dance side of things down at the bottom of Market Street so things were good. 1990 finally saw The La's and the Happy Mondays break through, Public Enemy became huge, Deee-Lite came from nowhere, The Fall returned to form and A Tribe Called Quest blew everybody away with their debut album. It's easy to forget how regularly big bands such as the Levellers, Inspirals, Carter USM, James, The Shamen played venues in Nottingham at the time. 1991 was a big year for us. In early September we moved the vinyl upstairs and put CDs on the ground floor. CD sales had outstripped vinyl so we needed to keep them in view of customers. We continued to champion vinyl, especially after both HMV and Virgin removed it from their racks. Personally I have never collected CDs, always sticking with records. I remember faxing record companies begging them to continue releasing albums on vinyl; particularly MCA, asking them for Nirvana and Counting Crows for the shop.
For about a year we had been making plans to open a London store on Berwick Street in Soho and finally, after loads of hard work, we opened it in late September. It was a very slow beginning but wow did it take off later. Tracy Pratton, Dave Morton and Phil Bembridge all upped sticks from Nottingham to work there. Phil later became editor of The Face. I must mention the first Tindersticks release from 1993, a band made up of Nottingham Selectadisc old boys Neil and Mark. I’m so pleased that they ventured to London and got the success they deserved. Stuart Staples’ first band The Indignant Desert Birds had to be seen to be believed. The opening of the London shop brought a lot of media attention to us and helped all round. It was a great year with huge albums from REM, Massive Attack, Nirvana, My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, Teenage Fanclub, Ice T and KLF. Alongside this my beloved Notts County returned to the first division, so life was cool. Nottingham had a good vibe with several indie record shops in the city and we all worked together. Dave Brett ran Way Ahead on St James’s Street and had the metal scene covered. He later spread his range when Tom, who opened Reveal in Derby, appeared on the scene. Kev, Paul and Jonathan ran Arcade and were similar to us but on a smaller scale; they were brilliant at what they did. Former Selectadisc worker Rob Smith ploughed his own second-hand furrow at Rob’s Record Mart on Hurts Yard; a treasure trove of a shop. Funky Monkey were doing their thing down Hockley, a great shop which had the dance and house scene covered. Guava sprang up on Market Street, Good Vibrations dealt in second hand on Mansfield Road. Revolver Records was run by another ex-Selectadisc man Tony Mack and eventually sold out to HMV. I can't remember when Rob and his wife Jill first sprang up with Anarchy records, but they were a lovely couple and fellow Magpie fans, so I liked them. We all rubbed along together; I can't recall any animosity between any of us as we were keeping money in the local economy while fighting off the big boys from Virgin, HMV and Our Price, who also had big stores in the city. I became heavily involved with the London shop so Basil, Dick and Jenny came more to the front in Nottingham and did a fantastic job. We recruited well with our staff having amazing knowledge across the board. In pre-internet days I reckon we could answer any customer's request between us. HMV and Virgin
were always sending people up to us if they had proper questions about music. 1995 was a big year. Our Soho branch ended up on the front cover for the second Oasis album What’s The Story Morning Glory and the national media were all over us. The agency that did the shoot came in the store to tell Tracy that we had a chance of being on the album cover. When it came out. I went down and walked the shoot and worked out that the photo had been taken from Noel Street. Maybe that's why they chose it? It’s since become a tourist location and I've seen loads of people having their photo taken there. A period I really enjoyed was when elevator and lounge music came to the fore with the release of The Sound Gallery, Inflight Entertainment and The Sound Spectrum, coupled with the release of soundtracks for Get Carter, The Sweeney and The Wicker Man on Trunk Records. We were instrumental in getting many of these titles issued on vinyl and worked alongside Gordon Montgomery, the main who started Fopp, in doing this. We had plenty of vinyl shipped in from the states as people were so inquisitive to hear all the original tracks that hip-hop bands were sampling. This mid to late nineties period was incredibly enjoyable both work-wise and from a music point of view. We had a guy called Rich Willis working with us, and we were big mates with George from Big Daddy magazine; they were putting hip-hop bands on like Jurassic 5, Alkaholics and many many DJs. Rich really had his finger on it and was a great comrade. Paul Harrison ran our second-hand department in fine style and sales were booming. Si Fearn, from the legendary Bob Tilton, was amazing on the hardcore and hip-hop scenes. Nail, who went on to form Bent with Simon, was always a pleasure to work with – completely barmy, but he sure knew his stuff. Our secretary Sue was crazy as well, but she was the glue that held everybody together. We could not have done anything without this fantastic woman. I’m sorry if I've forgotten anybody, but the one person I can’t leave out is Brian Selby – the man who created the whole shebang, and just let us all get on with it. Brian loved being around young creative people and gave Nottingham both Selectadisc and The Garage. If only we'd had got the old Classic cinema next door to the shop on Market Street when we went after it. We were going to build an arthouse cinema with music, food, drink and DJs etc. RIP Brian and thank you for everything. Thanks to everyone who supported the shop over the decades. I still buy records and raise my hat to Joey Bell for giving it a go at Forever Records in Cobham Chambers. But I buy from discogs or eBay mainly, and can get most reissues myself as I still run a small online business with Pish from the Soundcarriers. I still enjoy visiting Fopp in the Broadmarsh which has a friendly vibe to it too. Asa, who works there, is so enthusiastic and DJ's all over town. I'm sure he'd be working for Selectadisc if we were still going.
The Selectadisc shop in London on the Oasis CD cover of What’s the story, Morning Glory
The Selectadisc family: 1) Dave Congreave, Mark Clayden (Pitchshifter) and Ben Smith. 2) Jenny hard at work in the shop. 3. Basil and Gaz (X-Rays). 4) Paul Harrison and Nail (Bent). 5) Rich G, Basil and Jenny. 6) Jim Cooke cutting his Notts County birthday cake. 7) Staff in the shop including Tracey Pratten and Big Phil McMahon. 8) Scrim, who was in too many bands to mention. 9) Selectadisc cricket team. 10) Selectadisc footy team. 11) One of our Christmas dinners. All photos by Sue Starbuck. overallmag.com
puzzall There were some great acts in the nineties Nottingham music scene. Overall barely said a crossword about them until now...
Across 1. This skull-housing anatomical unit is a fungi (8,4) 4. Techno at its most savage and brutal (13) 6. Rock and reggae legends, big in Australia right now (8) 10. Crazy fools top the alphabet (3,1,3) 12. Something Overall did quite often (8,3,8) 14. Firestarters who worked at Selectadisc (12) 15. Thank these feathered creatures itâ€™s Friday (6,4)
Down 2. They were neither half-hearted or frigid (7,4,7) 3. Suck on this Ricky Gervais (3,4) 5. November 1991â€™s cover harbingers (5) 7. Forty two (3,2,5) 8. That pescetarian diet is really working for you (9,4) 9. Obese chemical vessel (3, 8) 11. Band of brothers, Clayden-style (12) 13. Foolish cheer (5, 3) Answers
1. Mushroom Head 4. Ultraviolence 6. Bushfire 10. The A Band Across
9. Fat Digester 11. Pitchshifter 13. Idiot Joy 2. Serious Love Addicts 3. Dum Dums 5. Vibes 7. Six By Seven 8. Wholesome Fish Down
12. Champion The Underdog 14. Tindersticks 15. Crunchbird
allthecovers Overall magazine printed and distributed copies across Nottingham (and sometimes further afield) from April 1991 to March 1998. Here in all their glory you can see the copies that Paul Overall has kept squirrelled away in a box for the last two decades. Visit overallmag.com to have a proper look inside them all. However, weâ€™re aware there might still be one or two copies still missing. If you have those in your loft at home please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and help us complete the archive.
April 1992 overallmag.com
Visit the ar overallma to look ins these is October 1993
archive at mag.com nside all of issues. overallmag.com
25 years ago my typical day would be thus:
Johnny Violent’s Hardcore Revue
12am Paralytic and mistempered I would gather scrap papers, and scrawl upon the back my techno revue – a mercurial journey into music technology, swearing, violent imagery, video games and other apparently unrelated topics. Only then would I walk the ash trodden carpet to pass out upon my broken bed.
Hardcore conversely has a vast number of meanings. To me it is purposeful, innovative and provocative work that consumes and confronts without compromise. Here’s a few of my favourite hardcore things from the last 25 years…
10am Stunned and angry with a wild hangover I would compose 200+ bpm industrial gabber tracks with titles such as North Korea Goes Bang, E-Heads Must Die and Johnny Is A Bastard in my home studio. The more aggressive and brain bending the better, with my 300 watt Jamo speakers pumping fracking seismic tremors to all of West Bridgford. 2pm Ears ringing and bass drums echoing around my head, I walked out through Nottingham to Rubber Biscuit studios on Alfred Street North where myself and John Paul Braddock would edit the tracks together on Soundscape – a £5000 state of the art digital editing system that would fit into a phone nowadays. 3pm After a spell in the Lincolnshire Poacher pub I would march down to Earache Records in Theatre Square. They specialised in death metal music, but my kick drums were so hard they decided to release my noise as well. I would interrupt any meeting to play back my digital tape at extreme volume, then head to the Tap and Tumbler pub with stunned staff in tow. 5pm I would head on up Wollaton Street to type up my techno column on Nottingham’s free listing magazine Overall’s computer before prowling the office looking for local bands to wind up. After that I’d drag editor Paul Overall to the Old Angel pub, and make him read my techno review several times. We’d spend until closing time making elephant sounds (replete with arm trunks) and pondering who was the best fighter in Tekken, when I would stumble to the pissed up boa constrictor of a taxi queue in the Old Market Square. Then back to my decaying family home so the process could repeat anew. Happy times and funky vibes, you may think. Well perhaps they were, but when Overall ceased production everyone moved on. I took to mountain biking and concept albums, eventually retreating to Norfolk to photograph cats. And so that brings us right up to yesterday when Jared from LeftLion magazine interrupted a session with my twin tabbies with a phone call asking me to clack out Johnny Violent’s Techno Revue one last time. A fine idea indeed, but the immediate problem is the title – techno is no longer the generic word for up-tempo dance music it was. While I’d be happy enough pumping out the neon city cyberscapes of top techno artists such as Joyhauser through my 300 watt PMC speakers all day long, most techno errs towards dork tinged, copy and pasted tedium – and there’s no way I’m naming my column after that. So how about…
Industrial Strength Records Lenny Dee’s NYC based hardcore label (est 1991) continues to blast real hardcore all over the planet. The best release of the last year has to be 909 Junkies’ Kill Switch EP – bleep buzzing and bludgeoning 222 bpm ‘core. The No Tears for the Dead comp sums up ISR in 50 tracks. Client This struck me in the early 2000s for the starling lyrical content. The self-titled album track sets them up as an ambiguous sex work service against a Kraftwerk, early New Order backing inspired track and gets increasingly dark and explicit to unsettling levels. The unique and beautiful vocals of Sarah Blackwood are showcased on the world’s most brutal break-up song Chill of October. The combination unique of heart breaking stings and cynical glee are magical. Jóhann Jóhannsson Neo-classical soundtrack composer who reached his nadir with the astonishing ‘Orphee’, a slow, gorgeous march into oblivion as well as showing parallel electronic music skills on the Mandy OST before his untimely death in 2018. Petrol Bastard Gabber beats and darkly humorous tales of booze, porn and everyday Yorkshire lowlife. Top track Oi Lad makes highly successful use of brass band samples. Petrol Hoers As above, only faster and performed by a horse. Heavily featured on Radio 6 recently. Hereditary and Midsommar Director Ari Aster uses deep emotion to make horror horrifying again. Best fighter in Tekken Yoshimitsu See you in another quarter century. Meanwhile I’m back to snapping cats…
dancehall In the nineties, nightclubs were vital. Late licences weren’t available, so at 10.50pm the pubs and bars all rang last orders and just after eleven they started to kick you out. Everyone who wanted to drink some more and dance shuffled off to a club instead. Publican Ian Gardiner tells us of his experiences running The Garage, The Kool Kat and Dubble Bubble... Before I started running pubs and nightclubs, I was an apprentice engineer. Then punk happened, and the whole world changed for me. I sacked off the apprenticeship and started working in nightlife. In the eighties, Selectadisc owner Brian Selby bought a club called The Garage and, after one of the original managers left, I was offered the job. I will always be grateful that an independent businessman like Brian gave me a chance. I was 23 and running the coolest club in the city. Eventually Brian decided he wanted out and in 1987 he helped me to raise funds from Everards brewery to buy and re-open the place as The Kool Kat. Graeme Park had been introducing house music from Chicago to the venue and later Allister Whitehead and The Bhudha Brothers (featuring Joe Bhudha who now runs Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop) started their DJing careers there. DiY did their first club night at The Garage and my partner Tricia sometimes DJed for us too. She played there while pregnant with our daughter Molly, who is a professional dancer now, and accidentally stopped the decks with her bump more than once. In the early nineties the club eventually went bust as there were too many free drinks going over the bar, so I packed it in to go and work at Paul Smith as a pattern cutter and study for a degree in Fashion Technology. Before I finished that degree, my friend Malcolm got in touch. He had been working with another nightclub, whose Iranian owners skipped the UK after getting caught up in a racket importing mobile phones illegally. Malcolm ended up being given the place by default and had no idea what to do with it. I decided to get involved and we called the place Dubble Bubble. Dubble Bubble had a focus on local bands and we had people like My Family Tree, Skinny Sumo, Fat Digester and
Shod Collective play for us. There was also a short-lived band called Polska whose members Pish and Barrie went on to form The Soundcarriers and Little Barrie. Joe Bhudha and Mickey Blue Eyes promoted a night called Bring Da Noise and featured live acts such as Kool Herc, DJ Cash Money, Masta Ace, Rodney P and Jeru the Damaja. We had loads of DJs on at Dubble Bubble too. We hosted some of the first Detonate nights run by promoters Kath and James, who are still at the cutting edge of drum ’n’ bass all these years later. Tim Love Lee ran a night called Jazz In The Box, and on a couple of memorable occasions Dicky Brinley, who worked at Selectadisc, promoted Norwegian rockers Motorpsycho. Others who played at the venue included DJ Shadow, DHP’s Anton Lockwood and BBC Radio’s Bobby Friction and Nihal. The funniest and most legendary moment (among my mates at least) was a night when we had an unannounced visit from licensing magistrates checking on numbers. We were well over capacity, so I ran upstairs to set off the smoke machines so they couldn’t count heads. Our regular DJs (and after all these years it’s my pleasure to unmask them) Tony Bednall and Martin Goddard, had been using one of the empty smoke fluid gallon containers as a convenient urinal for months and I accidentally bunged it in the empty machine and pumped out as much smoke as possible. The cloying, acrid cloud of piss emptied the place in a few minutes, but at least we didn’t get done for overcrowding. It’s a different world now and I think it became harder to get nights going in a club when all bars started getting late licences. But wherever there are passionate music lovers out there that want to bring people together, like Lukas Wigflex and others, there’ll always be a healthy club scene changing things from the street up and keeping the music industry on its toes.
tarantinall He’s now one of the biggest names in Hollywood but back in the nineties a young hotshot film director called Quentin Tarantino visited Nottingham twice. Quentin had become friends with Broadway’s then Director Adrian Wootton at the Cannes Film Festival. He first came over in 1993 to showcase Reservoir Dogs at the Shots in the Dark festival and was presented with a cake celebrating the ear removal scene. Then in 1994 Quentin came back for the UK premiere of Pulp Fiction and stuck around for the best part of
a week. As well as lots of drinking lots of coffee, signing stuff and chatting to people in the Broadway café bar, we’re told he spent around £100 on souvenirs in the now defunct Tales of Robin Hood. A renowned hoarder, there might be some Nottingham tat in his Hollywood mansion to this day.
All photos taken at Broadway Cinema. Top left photo courtesy of cakebaker extraordinaire Georgia Stone. All the rest from the Broadway archives. Although after all these years we're not sure who the photographer was; if that was you please let us or Broadway know. overallmag.com
oddball “This looks like one for you,” grunted Overall’s editor Paul Kilbride, rubbing his darkly bristled jowls. I examined the proffered CD in question; Drunk by Vic Chesnutt. A wonderfully unsubtle and punchy title for an album. A grotesque silhouette of (possibly) the artist adorned its cover. The song titles included Gluefoot, Naughty Fatalist and Kick My Ass. Intrigued, I took my review copy home, aware that REM’s Michael Stipe had expressed his support for Chesnutt, though given his previous backing of Hetch Hetchy, Chickasaw Mud Puppies and Hugo Largo among other flops, this was akin to being championed by four horsemen bearing scythes. In fairness, Stipe had also bigged up Grant Lee Buffalo, Indigo Girls and Syd Straw. A few listens to Chesnutt’s gospel-grunge fables and I too was hooked. His vocal range ran from sneering drawl to vulnerable warble; his biting laments were hacked out on a nylon-strung guitar with some rustic backing. Catchy as hell, yet chilling in content, this was clearly a work of batshit genius. The further revelation that Chesnutt had been confined to a wheelchair since his late teens, after a car crash, only deepened the mystique. For a few weeks it’d been arranged that I would interview Kristin Hersh for Overall, when she played Nottingham’s Albert Hall, promoting her acoustic Hips And Makers album. Sudden news that Chesnutt had been added as the support act was thrilling – no way could we miss out on this chance. It took some lengthy wrangling through a PR to set up a meeting with Chesnutt, who apparently wasn’t keen on facing questions. But on Friday 24 March 1994, I sallied forth with a dictaphone, notepad and complimentary gig tickets.
Kristin Hersh was vivacious, tiny and dressed in black. A tongue-tied young woman from the university’s student newspaper was also there backstage in a cold nook, but let me do the questioning. Hersh talked about Stipe’s guest spot on her new record; guitar chords and cellos; depression and introspection. Interesting enough if overallmag.com
After twenty five years, Gareth Thompson revisits an article and encounter with American singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt, that has stayed with him ever since… fairly standard fare, but all the while I felt a nervous tension ahead of my interview with Chesnutt. When it was the appointed time I followed Hersh’s agent down to the Albert Hall’s dressing rooms, allowing the student to tag shyly along. We sat around a small oval table and waited. Soon afterwards a door opened and Vic Chesnutt was wheeled in by his wife, manager and sometimes bassist Tina, a bohemian brunette. “Y’all got about half an hour,” she said, then left us. A slim bag of bones, Chesnutt sat slumped silently in his wheelchair. He wore a woolly beanie pulled right down over his forehead. A large pair of round dark glasses covered his eyes. Impassive behind those shades it was impossible to read his demeanour. I couldn’t tell if he was looking furious or fragile. His body language was certainly more hurtful than hopeful. The student’s chair quietly screeched an inch backwards. I edged mine forwards. Having done the right homework, I knew that Chesnutt liked an ale or ten, so I placed a variety of bottled beers before him, bought earlier in The Limelight Bar. Chesnutt read each bottle’s label closely like a connoisseur: “Ahh, thanks man,” he murmured, before hunching back into the nutshell of his body. More homework had secured me import copies of Chesnutt’s previous albums, Little and West Of Rome. I talked through my impressions of each, which seemed to surprise him given that he was then a virtual unknown outside of Athens, Georgia. We soon got round to discussing Drunk in detail, whereupon he visibly relaxed, pulling off the beanie
and revealing a close crop of light brown hair. He joked about his connection to Stipe: “There’s a billion bands in Athens who ask how I got lucky. I just tell ‘em to hang around, drink a few beers, then maybe Michael might make a record with you. And they go, like… ‘Yeah? Really? Wow!’” (Chesnutt would later write Guilty By Association, one of his most moving songs, about the burden of Stipe’s celebrity link). Chesnutt liked my comparison of his work to the Beat writers and southern spiritual singers. Off came the dark shades at last and showed a pair of pale blue, almost watery eyes. We chatted about the recording of Drunk which he described as a “real primal screaming session”. Things carried on affably enough from that point, but there was one question which finally had to be asked. As a student journo you were always taught to save your toughest query till the end. That way you could leave with the usable stuff from earlier if everything went belly up. So I cautiously asked Chesnutt about the car accident of his late teens, venturing it must have left a lot of time for bitter reflection. He pondered a while before replying, staring off into some middle distance. Eventually he said, “Well, I may have been laid on my back for several months, unable to move or hardly even talk. But during that time a lot of my musical and artistic theories gelled. The methodical beauty of music sort of seeped into my head, even though I’d been playing and writing before. I learned a lot from that time and drew a fair amount of self-evaluation.”
It was beautiful stuff to listen to. I glanced at my dictaphone, praying the damn thing was picking all this up. It hardly seemed fitting to take shorthand notes of such honesty. Before long Tina came back in to wind things up, so I whipped out my copy of Drunk and asked Chesnutt to sign it. He scrawled his signature with the partly paralysed hand he used for crudely strumming his guitar. (On stage, Chesnutt played with a plectrum superglued to a fingerless glove). He also added the word BEER above the raised hand of that shadowy figure on his album cover. Just as the student and I were leaving, I asked Chesnutt if he was gonna play Dodge that night – my favourite track from Drunk, with its incomparable couplet: ‘I showed my behind so frequently/ My dear old mother she can’t even recognise me.’ “Sure thing,” answered Chesnutt. “I mean there’s no set list as such. I tend to do what feels right at the time. But if you wanna hear it, I’ll do it.” And he most certainly did. It was a strangely haunting encounter. Some interviews you forget about the moment they’re done; some you really can’t wait to be over. But the memories of my audience with that old Chesnutt will stay with me for a lifetime. James Victor Chesnutt 12 Nov 1964 – 25 Dec 2009. Died from an overdose of muscle relaxants. vicchesnuttrelief.com
comicall Back in 1992 legendary American comedian Bill Hicks played his second gig in Nottingham, at the old Trent Poly. Upcoming student photographer Chris Olley (who would go on to become the frontman of Six By Seven) met him. This is his story... In the early nineties there were a lot of new comedians gigging at Trent Poly; Mark Lamarr, Sean Hughes, Eddie Izzard, and Bill Hicks had come back a second time. I’d already photographed Bill a few months earlier when he did what I thought was an amazing performance. I didn’t really know who he was at that first gig, and I only went down to take some quick pictures on a Friday night before heading off to a party I’d been invited to. I stayed for the whole gig because he was so funny. This time around, I went to his dressing room before the gig and met him to take some proper portraits. I was a bit nervous. Bill Hicks could be quite incendiary on stage and I don’t think he suffered fools gladly. I knocked on the door and it went flying open and Bill Hicks was standing behind a small table in the middle of the room, his driver had opened the door. They both said nothing. “Hi, I’m Chris, the photographer for the Students’ Union...” Nothing. Just silence and staring. Then Bill Hicks spat his chewing gum out on the table, leaned over it and pointed at it as if it were a tiny insect and said, “Well film that then Motherfucker!” I thought, “Oh shit, he’s a dickhead” I didn’t quite know what to do. Then he suddenly jumped up and came over to me and said: “Come on in Chris! Just foolin’ around with yer there son.” I spent the next hour talking to him about life, music and comedy. He was proud to have recently stopped smoking and told me he used nicotine patches, sort of band-aids with cigarettes in them. What? You have to remember this was 1992, and long before Nicorette was in shops here. He got his driver to go to the car to get some to show me. He jumped around the room doing Dracula impressions with his coat; he was pissed off that all his friends in America had already seen the new Gary Oldman Dracula film, while he was stuck on tour in a country where it wouldn’t be released for a few more weeks. I noticed that he kept fluctuating between being very full-on; jumping around and making jokes, to suddenly going very quiet and sitting down, looking really tired. I thought he was probably knackered out from all the touring but when his driver returned from the car with a suitcase full of pharmaceutical drugs I realised he might be ill. His driver opened the suitcase and it was like a mini drug store in there. I asked him why he had given up smoking and he said, “I can’t do this job and smoke too, not anymore.” He then wrote his address in LA down on a small piece of paper and asked me to send him the pictures. “Send them here quick” he said, “before I move to the relative safety of New York. These drive by shootings in Los Angeles are becoming worrying.” He put his hand in his pocket and gave me
all his change to cover the postage, which no one had done before. I showed him some of the pictures I had taken of him during the previous show at the Poly and he chuckled to himself as he looked at them. He kept some and signed two of them for me. A week or so later I sent him the pictures. To my amazement, I received a letter from him thanking me for making him look like Randy Bachman, and that he loved the magnifying glass shots too. I still have that letter – it’s hilarious and one of my prized possessions. Last year I got a phone call from a guy in New York who worked for the record label Rykodisc, who put Bill’s stuff out. The A&R man at the label tracked me down because they were working on a four DVD box set and they wanted to use some of my pictures. It turns out Bill had kept everything and my pictures had my name and address stamped on the back. I told him I also had eight other unseen and unpublished shots of Bill from that session and he was really eager to see them. I dug the old negatives out and scanned them and emailed him the pictures. He was on the phone pretty sharpish saying he would send a contract through for me to sign. My wife Karen and I were excited and thought we might make a bit of much needed cash. When the contract came through it was with Universal, not Rykodisc, and they wanted the rights to use all of my pictures in perpetuity across the territory of ‘the known universe.’ There was also a list of what they wanted to use them for including everything from simple key rings to giant billboards and everything in between. The list read like an Argos catalogue – they’d left nothing out, not even car mats. The fee they were offering was $0. I phoned the guy up in New York and was told a sob story about how everybody was working on this project as a labour of love and even John Cleese was writing the sleeve notes for nothing. I tried to negotiate but he wasn’t having it. I said they could use a picture for total exploitation if they gave $1000 to pancreatic cancer research. He said that they couldn’t even do that as they had no budget. He added, “These pictures will make you famous.” I asked him if he would be getting any wages – who exactly was paying for his office on Broadway, the phone bill, and the chair he was sitting on? I told him I would think about it. I put the phone down and sent him an email saying: “IF YOU ARE IN MARKETING, KILL YOURSELF.” This is an extract from Chris’s book Counting Clouds In A Clear Blue Empty Sky, which is available to buy from sixbyseven.bandcamp.com
Clockwise from top left: Sebadoh (Narrow Boat), Tindersticks (Old Vic), Superchunk (Imperial), The Palace Brothers (Narrow Boat), Stereolab (Clinton Rooms), Stereolab (Narrow Boat), Henry Rollins (Old Vic), Low (Bunkers Hill). Photos by Lynda Bowen, except Henry Rollins by Paul David Maher.
unspeakaball The Night With No Name first started as a club night at the Old Vic (now Das Kino). But when promoters Lynda and Anton noticed certain bands had begun bypassing Nottingham, a plan was hatched to promote gigs too. They went on to become the cities most prominent live music promoters of the nineties. Here’s some of Lynda Bowen’s favourite gigs from that time... Captain America The Imperial, April 1992 This was Eugene Kelly's band after The Vaselines. He's also the bloke who wrote Molly’s Lips, which Nirvana later covered and Kurt often wore their band t-shirt. Actually, this reminds me: venues changing management made life a bit difficult for us. We’d get settled in, book a load of gigs and then a new manager would want none of it and we’d have to re-house them. We had a four month run at The Imperial on St James’s Street early in 1992 with Captain America, Radiohead, Superchunk, the Wedding Present, and The Sandkings. Then we were out. The Sandkings and Radiohead The Imperial, May ‘92 Let me explain the importance of this one. The Sandkings were an indie-pop band from Wolverhampton, who toured with The Wonderstuff and Pop Will Eat Itself. They are notable for two reasons; firstly their singer Jas Mann later turned up as Babylon Zoo, a one-hit wonder band who released Spaceman, which went to number one after being used in a Levi’s advert. Reason 2; the support band was Radiohead. Yeah, that Radiohead. There aren't photos because we couldn't get away from doing the door with the substantial guest list and cooking for the bands. This was well before we all had pocket sized camera phones and I’d left the camera at home that night. Superchunk The Imperial, May ‘92 Look left for a great photo of the fabulous Laura Ballance from the night. Yeah, this gig was a rush job, but their booking agent lived in Nottingham and knew we could pull a rabbit out of the hat at short notice. We had a deep and abiding love for this band. They were on the cover of NME the week before the gig, and that was a big thing 28 years ago. We didn’t have any problems getting people to buy tickets, as they'd already been waiting two years to see the band. Henry Rollins The Old Vic, Feb 1993 We had a conversation with the tour manager where I asked if Henry needed anything specific sorting for the gig. The answer was, “Henry likes his meat and can you sort out a local gym as he’ll probably want to train.” So I wandered the streets in January 1993 looking for a gym for Henry Rollins. The man has perfect comedy timing and absolutely no shame; his graphic tale of masturbation when one hand is broken and the other has a long cannula taped in a vein had folks doubled up with laughter and wincing along with him. The venue owner’s wife was not so amused, but we got through it.
Stereolab Narrow Boat, Sept 1993 and Clinton Rooms 1996 I did get awfully annoyed by people who said they were too girly and subsequently missed out on hypnotic motorik situationist avant pop. Their loss. Stereolab always brought a great support band too: Yo La Tengo and Tortoise for example. Sonic Boom turned up at one of the Clinton Rooms (now Roxy Ballroom) gigs with a tableful of gorgeous analogue synths. Tindersticks The Old Vic, November 1993 Their first hometown gig for four years as they'd all left their jobs at Selectadisc, moved to London, changed their name from Asphalt Ribbons and released some magnificent singles. Just imagine playing a low stage at an intimate venue with your family and former colleagues from Selectadisc up close and personal. The Palace Brothers Narrow Boat November 1993 and June 1994 This was a clean shaven William Oldham, before he became better known as Bonnie Prince Billy. I don't have a huge amount to say about the shows, but I do remember being under self imposed pressure to get things right. Sebadoh The Narrowboat, April 1994 This gig was about the time of the Bakesale record and we got asked to put it on at fairly short notice. I couldn't get across the venue to get any better photos than the one on the left. Sebadoh were due to tour the UK as support to Nirvana but the dates were postponed as Kurt wasn't well, he'd got bronchitis and laryngitis while on tour in Europe and you all know how that ended. We did a number of other shows with Sebadoh and I saw many, many more. Low Bunker's Hill, 1998 This was one of three intimate Low gigs we did the first was upstairs at the Old Angel in 1995. We always got the most trusted PA people in for this band and I always carried tissues as I knew I would end up in tears. The local bands Everywhere I'm really conscious that I haven't mentioned enough of the East Midlands bands because they always did us proud. Fudge Tunnel, Octoberine, Scum Pups, Bob Tilton, Cable, X Rays, Clambake, Savoy Grand, Bivouac. We loved you.
words: Gerald Klashnekoff
Many would say Nirvana were the biggest band of the nineties, despite them only being active for the first half of it. However, not many people know about the links between our fair city and one of the biggest bands in rock history… The Tour Booker In 1987, Russell Warby moved to Nottingham from London to follow his girlfriend who was enrolled on an art degree course at Trent Poly. Russell had planned to start an art foundation course at a local college but the course was full, which meant he had to start looking for work. As Warby explained to IQ magazine, “We’d been in town for 24 hours and a new club opened called The Colour Wheel. The venue manager there really knew his stuff and was doing gigs with bands like Spaceman 3, Sonic Youth, Psychic TV and My Bloody Valentine. I’d got more into the US underground music at the time so I started promoting shows with him, and in 1988 I took it over.” It was when Russell heard Love Buzz, Nirvana’s first release, he knew he had to work with the band. “I knew I loved it in about four seconds. It was a reaction to bland music; an attempt to get back to what had come from the birth of rock ’n’ roll. I could hear this American underground band that sounded like a rock band whose singer was channelling John Lennon.” Russell then booked Nirvana’s first ever UK tour from a tiny flat on Belton Street in Hyson Green. The world would never be the same again. He ended up booking more of their shows and he manages the Foo Fighters to this day. The First Nottingham Gig During the 1990 Sliver Tour, Nirvana stopped by Trent Polytechnic alongside L7 and Shonen Knife. It was the final night of the tour and in his Nirvana biography, Everett True recounts how he ended up on stage with the band. “The lights were going up and the crowd trudging home satiated, when Kurt ran back on to the stage to announce, ‘We’ve got a very special guest for you’. The fans raced back down the front, expecting Tad at the very least, only to hear Kurt complete the words, ‘Everett True from Melody Maker’. I stumbled up to the microphone and muttered something about how I’d only play a song if Nirvana played one afterwards. Kurt strapped his left-handed guitar over my shoulder – wrongly – and he and Krist settled behind the drum kit, then started bashing away. We lasted about two minutes into my Sub Pop single Do Nuts until Kurt began to comprehensively trash the drums at which point I quit my vocal duties and turned around to watch.” Audio from this show can be found on YouTube.
The Dancer The second and final time Nirvana visited Nottingham was to play Rock City on 3 December 1991 as part of the Nevermind Tour. A Japanese TV company was present on the night and you can still watch this gig online. In the footage you can see a man frantically dancing on stage with the band. That man is ‘Tony The Interpretive Dancer,’ a friend of the band who occasionally joined them to thrash away as they played. Once the drummer for local bands Bivouac and Punish The Atom, he befriended Nirvana through his friendship with Russell Warby. Speaking to LeftLion in 2010 he said, “It was all improvised. My job was just to be weird with it and get lost in it really. I can dance a lot better than that, but that wasn't the point really. It was to be part of the gig and to show that anybody could do it.” The most famous time Tony danced with the band was on stage at Reading Festival: “The last time that I actually saw Kurt was at that show. I had a tear in my eye at the end when they gave me a credit on the DVD. It was amazing really. What was it? About fifty thousand people? The energy I was getting from the audience sort of jeered me on more. I overdid it in the first song and ended up wearing a neck collar for two weeks afterwards because I gave myself whiplash.” The Jumper Remember Kurt’s iconic red and black jumper? Well before it was Kurt’s it actually belonged to Chris Black, the former drummer in Nottingham’s Riff Bastard. Chris grew up in Belfast and was at the legendary Kings Hall gig in June 1992, with Teenage Fan Club and The Breeders supporting. Chris told the story to LeftLion in 2015: “I got into the gig with my brother Jay because he had a spare ticket. I was up at the front watching The Breeders and some kid with dreadlocks stagedived. I had dreadlocks too and the bouncers came and found me, grabbed me and pulled me outside to have a wee word. “I was getting a massive kicking when the stage door opened. The band came out, told the bouncers to leave me alone and invited me backstage. While I was back there Courtney Love came over and asked me loads of questions about the jumper. She eventually emptied her pockets and offered me £37, which seemed like a lot of money at the time. “I’ve tweeted Courtney semi-regularly since asking her if I can have it back. I’d like to find out where it is. Ideally I’d like to buy it back off her, and then probably sell it and buy a house from the profits.”
words: Jared Wilson, Founder of LeftLion
“Design and print software has progressed somewhat since the 1990s.” Unless you left Nottingham before the millenium or you don’t go out much these days, you might already know there’s a new kid in town. Well new-ish. Myself and two friends first started LeftLion magazine in 2003. Since then the words “Overall There Is a Smell of Fried Onions” have been said to me quite often. I’d love to say I was a fan back in the day, however, it wasn’t until a chance meeting with Paul in the Lincolnshire Poacher two years ago (thanks for the intro, Nigel) that I had the pleasure of holding a copy in my hands. Maybe I wasn’t cool enough to seek it out in its heyday? Or just not old enough? But one of the first gigs that made me fall in love with music was Blur at 1993’s Heineken Beer Festival in Wollaton Park, and I went to Rock City and Selectadisc regularly. However, I completely missed out on other things like the Rock’n’Reggae festival (in its heyday), DiY, Tindersticks and Overall. Hat’s off to Paul and his team for what they did. At LeftLion we know what it’s like to create and distribute a monthly magazine in the city, but the idea of doing it without email, mobile phones, decent publishing software and basically the entire internet is just mind-boggling. Overall weren’t the only Nottingham-based culture magazine of the nineties (hello City Life, City Lights, Nottingham After Dark etc) but they were the best. Their love of puns, their consistent championing of the underdog and their prioritising of content over advertising reminds me of what we’ve been doing since. So how did this unholy alliance between Overall and LeftLion happen? After that initial meeting in the Poacher, I offered to help put the archive online and Paul bought a box with his entire collection to our office. Then my team spent the next two years scanning the odd page here and there, in between all the other work we have to do to keep a magazine going. It was when I started to realise what a big task this was that I rattled off a bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund to ask for some help. Thankfully they agreed this was culturally important; it’s not all about restoring paintings and rebuilding castles. I’ve really enjoyed delving through the archives to put this together and talking with the people involved. The nineties were my teenage years and it’s tapped into something I remember fondly too. Thank you to everyone who contributed words and photos to this one-off celebration issue, as well as all those who gave us the benefit of their advice and wisdom. Also thanks to my young team who have been slaving away over a magazine that was in print before they were even born. We made a few creative decisions when we started working on this publication, 22 years since the last one. We decided not to fill it with just the archive content, even though that’s what the project is really about. Instead we wanted to focus on Nottingham in the nineties with the benefit of today’s hindsight. Ideally you’ll read this and then be inspired to delve through everything else on the website. Overall, it’s more important you read that than this. Design and print software has progressed somewhat since the 1990s. So although we’ve used the same fonts (hello Helvetica) and some of the same images in this publication, we decided to be faithful to some design traits but not others. We also printed it with proper commercial printers rather than trying to get our heads round the old tech that Paul had to slave over.
Overall covered gigs and bands from outside of Nottingham fairly regularly, as well as within it. You can see all that in the archives, but when doing this issue we decided to stick exclusively to our patch. Sorry everywhere else, but this is where both Overall and LeftLion were born and, for me, widening the scope would have diluted the content. There was a point when I was trying to talk social media strategy with a confused and increasingly grumpy-looking Paul. I was explaining that I wanted to use the hashtag #overaLL (two capital L’s for LeftLion – geddit?) to spread the word. He then pointed out the logo always had the last two letters in capitals; it was spelled “overaLL” from day one. I took a second glance and realised he was right. At that point it felt like it was meant to be. If you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane please have a look through the brand new Overall website that we plan to host and keep alive forever; it’s kind of the whole point. And if you’re feeling something more current then, as always, LeftLion has got your back, duck.
Yeah baby. The entire archive is online. overallmag.com
visit the archives at
Twenty two years later: A one-off celebration issue featuring DiY, Selectadisc, Bill Hicks, Nirvana, Kool Kat, The Night With No Name, Quent...
Published on Jan 15, 2020
Twenty two years later: A one-off celebration issue featuring DiY, Selectadisc, Bill Hicks, Nirvana, Kool Kat, The Night With No Name, Quent...