Various : 25 Years Of Rough Trade Shops

What the proper indie gives, on the one hand, it chops off with a broken trowel on the other...

Coming soon to a televisual nostalgia vacuum near you: ‘I Love No.123 In The Indie Charts 1982’. Probably. 25 years of the Rough Trade legend, one record shop in the pre-posh Kensington area which shook the world with it’s skew-haired vision of shouting your head off over an amplifier plugged into a Moulinex Mixer with bricks in, on fire. Sort of.

Twenty five years ago, you could do what you liked, ‘cos Alternative rooled and some of these people became living (and dead) legends by selling no copies to no-one except the rock-swot ‘massive’ and having their life-time’s canon pinched off Peelie and how they all didn’t laugh very much at all. But it was Art, man, that counted. From such a mind-set came, naturally, some of the greatest rock’n’roll pop tunes

ever written: the Buzzcocks’ ‘Boredom’, Cabaret Voltaire’s ‘Nag Nag Nag’, The Fall’s ‘How I Wrote Elastic Man’, Joy Division’s ‘Transmission’ (grimy ‘Heart and Soul’ LP version), The Television Personalities’ ‘Part Time Punks’, The Smiths’ ‘Hand In Glove’, Scritti Politti’s ‘The Sweetest Girl’, Mudhoney’s ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’, Robert Wyatt’s ‘Shipbuilding’, Talking Heads’ ‘Road To Nowhere’, the Sugarcubes’ ‘Birthday’ and Cornershop’s ‘6am Jullandar Shere’. Quality indie street perfection, every one. As is the demented cuteness of today’s

I Am Kloot, Lambchop and Peaches, a woman who implores us, buoyantly, to “Fuck the

pain away”.

What the proper indie gives, on the one hand, it chops off with a broken trowel on the other, and thus we must also endure the sound of being shot at work on a building site via Einstürzende Neubaten’s ‘Krieg In Den Stadten’. Hellish (though that’s possibly the point) as is the perennial spectre of Student Poetry via something by …And The Native Hipsters involving a woman lilting [I]”oh look there goes Concorde again!”[/I] over some bothersome bassline baloney. Still, ultimately, this is a four-CD, 56-track almighty testament to how lame, suffocated, fire’n’imagination-free the indie-rawk mentality has become. As if it could be anything else: no sales, you ain’t signed, comrades. The bastards. The long-dwindled Rough Trade mavericks are far less bedwetters, far more pissing on the bed from the rooftops, with more ideas than the entire spectrum of Alternative Nation 2001 could shake it’s sheep-shaped pretending-to-be-American pantaloons at. Really, what a show-up.

Sylvia Patterson