One Night In Nottingham

I’m over a hundred miles away from home, I can still taste the Tuna-Mayo sandwich on my breath (Thanks Mum!) and I’m in Nottingham. I know what you’re thinking:


OK, I’m not here solely to write for Black Wire. You got me.

There’s an open day on at the University and, although I’d much rather go to London, I thought it would be wise to take the city for a test drive whilst I was here. The University was fine – Journalism doesn’t exactly require crazy mad facilities. Really it was an excuse to get out of my hometown and check out a brand new city.

Sillitoe_6838cNottingham is well known for its History and famous Literary connections. Famous writers such as Alan Sillitoe and D. H. Lawrence have their roots in the city and now they have one more: Callum Effernest.

When I told my family that I was considering Nottingham as a University, they told me about its slightly shady reception. Far from being a metropolitan centre of civilisation, they painted it as a town of thieves and drunks, suggesting that I’d be lucky to leave without a stab wound.

They still paid for my train ticket. So either they were having me on or feel like every man should get a good stabbing at some point in his teenage years.
nottingham theatreWell – I’m not writing this from a hospital bed and I can say with confidence that I left Nottingham with all my finances intact. In fact, I found that the city subverted every expectation that I was nervously harbouring on my train ride up.

Music-wise, the city’s got the usual array of theatres, small clubs and big venues to see gigs – but you readers will know that popular music isn’t usually my bag. I’m an alternative man, if it’s in the mainstream – then I don’t care about it and nothing says alternative like an Open Mic night.

The pub was a quiet one, I’d had a few pints before stumbling in so I couldn’t tell you the name of it. A mixed bag of performers kept me happily entertained for the evening. What I was most surprised by was the variety of talent on show. Think Open Mic night and you’ll no doubt have the same tired cliches in your head as I do:

acoustic douche
Jason Mraz was 10 years ago – get over it.
Shirley Bassey is one of the greatest performers of our time – why try competing?
singing girl
A backing track – at an open mic night? Just…go.

In Nottingham, things were a little different. Everything from Jazz Musicians to Def Poetry. There was even an adorably talented 12-year old keyboardist who could very well live to be the next Steve Winwood. The bar staff were friendly and there was a decent audience watching, rather than the usual crowd of performers anxiously listening and waiting to play.

Although the University might not have been up my street, I left convinced that Nottingham’s bad rep is just that. Behind the slander that it has been dealt lies a wonderful city, filled with talent.