A BBC documentary on the history of Rough Trade. Worth watching.
Updated impressions after viewing 80% of the show:
Nothing at all about the US branch of Rough Trade, which is a pity, as both the San Francisco shop and the American label had a huge impact in their own right. The Grant Ave. and later, the 6th St. Rough Trade deserves their own documentary; wonder if it will ever be made. Steve Montgomery, who we see an awful lot of in the beginning here, was more or less forcibly ousted by the San Francisco Rough Trade, which reorganized itself as a collective until the UK parent company imposed a management structure on them later; it's a fascinating story that deserves to be told. (And then, there's the German Rough Trade, the only branch of the company which never went bankrupt...and yes, as a former Rough Trade Deutschland recording artist I have a personal interest in learning more about them, obviously)
My, Geoff Travis certainly becomes elusive when any financial issues come up.
In retrospect, it's highly amusing when the company goes into a big dramatic identity crisis over Scritti Politti's "The Sweetest Girl": "Oh my God, we're betraying our vision by putting out a slick pop record!" If you listen to that song now, it sounds like an outtake from Rock Bottom more than anything, which is no surprise since Robert Wyatt himself played keyboards on the single. Later, of course, Scritti Politti moved into serious helium-voiced 80s cheese with semiotic pretensions, but at this stage, they hardly sounded like commercial pop at all. Funny.
Liked seeing Mayo Thompson and Shirley O'Loughlin and others give their take on the history. And what a great bunch of footage of the Raincoats, Fall, Wyatt, Stiff Little Fingers and more. Oh yeah, and the Smiths too. (At the time they came out, I was more appreciative of their role as Rough Trade's cash cow than their actual music, but looking at them now, I have to admit they really were a dynamic little band for a while.)