From my city to yours: Legendary DJ Don Letts on London’s best music hangouts
Don Letts’ five best musical hangouts in London
1. Notting Hill Carnival
This only happens once a year, but Notting Hill CarnivalYou have to be the first in line. It’s a culture shock of sounds that lights up the city. Everything it represents – bringing people together, cultural exchange – is truly a beautiful thing to see. Whether this will happen in 2021 has yet to be announced.
2. Rough Trade East, Brick Lane
My local branch of Brutal trade is the smallest shop in West London that I go to every week. But Rough Trade East is a great place to hang out if you like vinyl or books, or just want a cup of coffee. It also hosts impromptu performances. Big up Rough Trade.
3. O2 Academy, Brixton
With the right group, it’s a hell of a trip. I am lucky to have played O2 Academy a few times, including a few sold-out evenings with my old band Big Audio Dynamite. It’s in Brixton where I grew up, so the place means a lot to me. So many legendary performances have taken place there.
4. West Town London, Notting Hill
A good advice. West Town London is a small store which opened on Westbourne Grove Mews just before the lockdown. It’s not a music store per se, but it’s inspired by people with very serious musical backgrounds – let’s put it that way. This is the cave of Aladdin’s cultural delights. Wonderful little place.
5. Popular Record Store, All Saints Road
If you want an old school reggae store, Popular sound recording store is one of the last to still sell vinyl. It’s a tiny little place with a hole in the wall, very much in the tradition of old school reggae shops. One of the last of its kind in London.
Don Letts’ new book, There and black again, co-authored by Mal Peachey, is published by Omnibus Press, RRP £ 20. A selection of book reading events will take place in the UK in Spring and Summer 2021.