Tag Archives: oxford

The Fall live at the Oxford Academy

Technically speaking, I think that counts as assault. I’ve just been shouted at, beaten with bass, drop-kicked with drums, kerb-stomped with keyboards. It hurt a lot. And sounded great. Beautiful messy enormous noise. Tiring, not tiresome. Mark E Smith wandering about a lot, turning knobs on things in a manner that suggests he knows what he’s doing, but not necessarily convincing. Singing/shouting into two microphones at once, alternate ones, other peoples. Having a go on the keyboard himself if he fancied it, hitting the odd cymbal. No respite. For an hour or so. No muses on the wonders of Oxford, no telling us we were a great crowd, just a second or two to allow them to let any feedback out for a moment, then right on with the next track. No encore. Seemingly. Let people leave, put the lights up, put music on, do everything to convince people they are doing, then come back on for one last ten minute workout of noise Ah. The ringing and static has mainly subsided now, drained, but sated, for now.

Oxblogged – Now in colour

I’ve added a couple of new features to Oxblogged today:

  • A new theme which loops through some different images of Oxford taken by me.
  • A Flickr badge in the sidebar on the right which shows the latest photos tagged with “oxford” on the Flickr site. Sometimes there will be the occasional photo from Oxford in the USA, or Oxford Street in London, but in the main they are pictures of Oxford.

Enjoy!

Upcoming Gigs in Oxford

Soon we shall be speaking no more of The Zodiac on the Cowley Road, it shall now be the Carling Academy Oxford. It does look like the new owners are going to get it off to a good start. There are a lot of gigs due there over the next few months, but my personal recommendations are:

  • Ska Cubano – Carling Academy Oxford – 27th September 2007
  • Happy Mondays – Carling Academy Oxford – 5th October 2007
  • Super Furry Animals – Carling Academy Oxford – 26th October 2007

How do we stop the Starbucksification of the Cowley Road?

The Cowley Road in Oxford is starting to change shape at the moment. Not in terms of it being dug up and rerouted, as seems to happen every few months, but instead the start of its Starbucksification. There is always a churn of shops on such roads, but it does seem to be the start of something more significant. Several shops have closed recently, some of them citing excessive rent rises. Three of the longer term shops that have gone are Coopers newsagent, The Bead Shop, and Panda Records.

We’ve seen the arrival of a large Subway (with another only a few minutes away in St.Clements), and Costa Coffee is due to open an outlet soon as well.It’s starting to look like more of the larger chains are on their way too. I can’t see it being more than a year before we get our first Starbucks, and then the virus of the chain will really kick in. Not to mention the replacement of The Venue/Zodiac with the Carling Oxford Academy.

By co-incidence, I was listening to an interview with William Gibson today, on the BoingBoing.net podcast. He was asked which he thought was the most futuristic  city in the world, and he felt it was Berlin. One of his reason for this was that the retail space was a lot cheaper than in other cities, and it meant that smaller, innovative and interesting shops were able to set up there and trade successfully. He wondered aloud how this could be achieved in older cities such as New York or London, and one of his suggestions was that on new developments, there should be sets of retail spaces with very small floorspaces. The idea behind this being that chains wouldn’t be attracted to the smaller shops, and they would thus appeal to the smaller retailer.

Interestingly, this is the same solution presently employed to preserve the nature of the Laines in Brighton. Apparently they have a conservation order on the area, which prevents new retail spaces over a certain size, or knocking through into another shop. From my own experience, you do get an interesting mix of shops there.

So perhaps this is what is needed to help Oxford’s Cowley Road maintain some of its sense of character. It would be a shame for it to turn from what it is into yet another high street.