ROUGH TRADE
The World’s Local Record Shop

Feature length / series
music biography documentary (2018)


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My name is Simon Russell and during my 20 years working at Rough Trade I have met many of the unique characters that frequent the shop and been told about unbelievable connections, happenings and events that have occurred there over the years.
Someone has got to make a film about this place.’ Well, that person turned out to be me.

From humble beginnings in West London in 1976, through boom to almost bust and back again, Rough Trade Shop has become a global music icon. Affecting both the music and the political landscapes of Britain through catalytic releases on its Rough Trade and WIIIJA record labels and by inventing the model for independent music distribution with the Cartel, while at the same time influencing art and culture around the world, from the catwalks of Paris to the studios of Hollywood.

Behind the scenes at Rough Trade, you will find a mess of cardboard boxes, tape-guns and desks piled-high with sales sheets, monitors and used coffee cups. So why do Björk, Thurston Moore, Agnès B, Mark Ronson and hundreds more from all walks of life, declare lifelong allegiance to this neighbourhood record shop? Their observations, along with testament from founder Geoff Travis and later owners Jude Crighton, Pete Donne and Nigel House, staff members from all locations and customers like Spazom the Essex farmer and Maiko the Tokyo civil servant, describe the indelible influence Rough Trade has had on all their lives.

But it won’t be just me making this film. Embodying the socialist spirit of the scene around the original shops in London, and now also Nottingham and New York, this film will be a collaborative effort by its loyal community. Already signed on to contribute are regular customers like film directors Don Letts (Punk: Attitude) and Iain Forsyth / Jane Pollard (20,000 Days on Earth), musician/author Bill Drummond (KLF) and artist Pete Fowler (Super Furry Animals) who will, among others, reimagine fascinating parts of the shops’ story that originally went undocumented – from Johnny Marr bringing in The Smiths’ demo tape to Adele working behind the counter - by creating the scenes that will bring these moments to life.

This is your opportunity to take an active role in helping to make the documentary that this much-loved neighbourhood record shop-turned global music icon deserves.

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