When we paid a brief visit to Hebden Bridge early last month, it was abundantly clear that the town is only now just starting to get back on its feet after the devastating Christmas floods. Many of the shops next to the river still stand vacant or in states of partial repair, with messages of defiance stuck in many windows. (In the circumstances, Fat Face should perhaps have considered whether it was appropriate to adopt the same window display promoting jeans as other stores nationwide, given the large slogan reading "Washed in happiness"...)
If it was hard to imagine how grim the situation was in December, then this Clash article by Nick Rice does an excellent job of conveying it - but goes further by explaining how the town's semi-legendary music venue the Trades Club proved to be absolutely essential in providing a paddle for people who had been left up shit creek. It's a perfect example of how important small gig venues can be to the local community, often in ways that go beyond music, and why it's worth supporting the Music Venue Trust's campaign to preserve them.