Visiting Nottingham this weekend for the first time in a few months, I was horrified to discover the death of a beautiful friendship. Perhaps it was because I only rarely called anymore, but the specialist room of Selectadisc - a magical place where I spent many an hour browsing punk and post-rock CDs, gradually investing my successive student loans on the stickered recommendations of the shop's staff - is no more.
In truth, though, my visit was quicker than whistlestop, so it may be that all that semi-obscure goodness has been squeezed in upstairs - I certainly hope so. The staff may look increasingly youthful, but you won't find anyone here suggesting the purchase of anything by The Kooks. It's still a brilliant place to follow up on acquisition decisions made at Glastonbury - no Black Mountain, sadly, but you can't argue with Holy Fuck's LP, The Futureheads' This Is Not The World and half the Spiritualized back catalogue plus the new Sigur Ros album for less than £40, can you?
More sad change afoot in Bristol, where we noticed on Friday night that the second Big Bang restaurant has gone pop after less than a year. While we're big fans of the original, on Walton Street here in Oxford, our one and only visit to the Whiteladies Road spin-off on Good Friday was rather disappointing. Still, it was 100 times better than the likes of Nandos or Pizza Express, so the restaurant's closure has come as a bitter blow to founder and proprietor Max Mason, who has explained: "having taken on such a big site in such a prime position at a time when the economy wasn’t looking too rosy, coupled with a painful, slow recovering broken ankle amongst other complications, meant that my finite pot of money ran dry far too quickly to allow the venture to spread its wings." Max may have some wounds to nurse, but at least he - and we - can be consoled with the fact that the award-winning original restaurant, a 15 minute walk from my house, is still going strong.