The alt city guide to Nottingham

August 3, 2016

From DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe to Shane Meadows and the Sleaford Mods, Nottingham has a culture of rebelliousness that runs through its energetic music, arts, nightlife and bars

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Nottingham is not a city to shout about itself. In everything from its long history of iconic clubs (Kool Kat, Venus, the Bomb) to its new status as a Unesco City of Literature (who knew?), Nottingham just seems to get on with being Nottingham, without courting wider fame or validation. It is a city that likes to keep it real – in more ways than one. This is the place that gave us such angry young men as Alan Sillitoe, director Shane Meadows and Sleaford Mods. As the radical bookshop Five Leaves states on its website: “Nottingham is increasingly seeing itself as a ‘rebel city’.”

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There is certainly a self-contained, DIY energy to its constantly bubbling music scene, although Nottingham is rarely in the spotlight (Jake Bugg apart). While tipping you off about local talent (Invisible Orchestra, Crosa Rosa, Rob Green, Field Studies), Notts’ creatives extol a scene that, like this small city itself, is tight-knit, collaborative, multicultural. Outside of headline venues such as Stealth and Rock City, there is a teeming substrata of organisations, such as Wigflex, I’m Not From London, Mimm, Truth & Lies, Gringo and Hello Thor, all of whom seem to be simultaneously DJs, musicians, gig/party organisers, record labels and all-round creative catalysts.

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