October 28, 2007 – 9:10 pm
You know what I never noticed about Oxford when Jake and I went by ourselves? It’s full of clothing stores and shoe shops.
I had a meeting organised with Joff Winks this weekend to talk about music and strategies for online promotion. He’s based in Oxford, and it’s such a lovely place to visit that I thought I’d ask Bobbie and Jake to come down with me for a bit of a day trip.
We got a little bit lost, as is our tradition when travelling anywhere, but once we finally found somewhere to put the car that was within walking distance of the city centre, we strolled around until we hit the High Street.
I started to look around for some points of interest to show to Bobbie, who was yet to appreciate the architectural delights of the Ashmolean Museum, the Bodleian Library, the Sheldonian Theatre or the Radcliffe Camera.
- I know there’s History around here somewhere…
- Ooh, that’s nice…
I looked to see what had caught Bobbie’s attention. It was a dress in a shop window. It was not in the least historic, scenic or even part of a long tradition of academic excellence. It was a dress. A nice dress, but a dress.
We went into the shop.
Jake and I quickly found the ‘man chairs’, and sat while Bobbie browsed. She tried a couple of things on and came away with what is actually a really lovely green coat. And then, we began to discover that Oxford was pretty much made out of clothing shops.
We bumped into a friend of mine — a record producer from Birmingham (remember that Shakira remix?) — who assured us that if you looked at it the right way, Oxford was actually lined with cake shops. But the very next store we stumbled across had some blue shoes that required serious admiring.
I started to look around for the Whisky Shop that I remembered having discovered in Oxford — but to no avail, but after a bit of a detour, Jake and I were appeased with the discovery of a board game shop (we like a good board game shop). So we declared our Oxford adventure a success, and went for a proper English afternoon tea at Quod Brasserie.
It consisted of cucumber sandwiches, fresh scones from the oven with clotted cream and jam, a piece of chocolate cake and a large pot of Earl Grey tea. The place itself was used to a much higher class of clientele, and presentation was so posh, I just had to take a photo of it. Could it be any more English?
It was really lovely, and took us a good hour or two of chatting, grazing, drinking tea and just generally relaxing in order to get through it all. Best scones in ages. We’ve had some really dry, horrible ones here in Birmingham.
The tea wasn’t to Jake’s taste, so he ordered a Bucket of Shrimp and a hot chocolate (the combinations that 14 year-old boys can stomach) and he seemed very happy with his selection.
Having successfully lowered the tone (at least, Jake and I did in our jeans and t-shirts — Bobbie had a lovely green coat on), we left to meet up with Joff and chat about music over a drink. He had some really good ideas about branding and promotion, as well as the value of recorded music. One of the ideas I liked most (which I might steal even though I don’t entirely agree with it) is that great recordings are like Van Gogh paintings — and mp3s are like posters of Van Gogh paintings. I can imagine that resonating with a lot of musicians and audiophiles.
We finished our drinks and made our way back to the car, and headed back to Birmingham. About an hour each way, and such a really lovely town to visit. Next time, we’ll try and go when it’s not raining and it’ll be even nicer. Perhaps then it will be full of second hand record shops. That would be nice.