Rough Trade documentary

Posted in caught by juliobesq on July 6, 2011

Dangerous Minds recently alerted me to a reposting of BBC4’s documentary on Rough Trade. Well, actually informed me of its existence.

Much credence is given to Tony Wilson and Factory Records, but little is ever said of Geoff Travis. His impact on the last thirty years of British music can not be underestimated. There’s the list of bands if you want a glib overview: The Smiths; Pulp; The Libertines; The Strokes, to name a few. But without his vision and integrity there may not have been an independent music scene at all, Mute, Two Tone and countless other labels rode on the network he put in place to offer an alternative to the majors.

There are two unsung heroes not mentioned in the documentary, or rather the crucial part they played in keeping independence afloat. When Rough Trade went into receivership the future livelihood of many small labels and bands was put into jeopardy. Two figureheads of record labels, who each were owed around a million pounds, both declined to accept any money from the liquidator. Instead asking that their share be used to pay all the small labels, designers and artists who had no other source of income. As far as I know Daniel Miller of Mute and Bill Drummond of the KLF have never been credited for this act, but I for one will be eternally grateful. Respect. Geoff Travis ensured that the little fish were paid.

His closing quote is worth taking heed of… “the only important thing is what happens now, what happens next”

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