Rough Trade Books

Iconic label launches new publishing arm

Tuesday 31st July 2018

Rough Trade was originally founded in 1978 as an independent record label to champion the post-punk and alternative music scene of the period. The label together with other independents including 2 Tone and Factory formed The Cartell, a network that allowed the smaller labels to pool resources and expand the distribution available not only for their records but for the zines and fanzines of the era that were so seminal to the counterculture at the time.

Celebrating and perpetuating the spirit of spreading the printed word, Rough Trade will launch Rough Trade Books, with Rough Trade Editions, a series of 12 pamphlets by leading writers, musicians and other creatives. The series of pamphlets will be available through a subscription service which will also include exclusive content, event invitations and other bonus incentives.

The diverse contributors include musician Ana da Silva (of legendary London post-punk band The Raincoats), spoken word artist Salena Godden, author Joe Dunthorne (Submarine) and counterculture expert Jon Savage.

One of the most stirring pamphlets of the series, Jon Savage's 'Uninhabited London' collates his photos of North Kensington, taken in 1977. The photos capture the period in which the area was derelict, as it had been since World War II, and the images formed many of the visuals in Jon Savage's punk fanzine 'London's Outrage'.

"[punk music] seemed to point towards this idea of empty urban space" – "It was this empty, deserted, depressing kind of dystopian view of London that seemed to be coming up to the surface" - Jon Savage

Other pamphlets in the series explore more abstract themes such as 'To Run Wild In It: A Handbook of Autonomic Tarot' by David Keenan and Sophy Hollington. Keenan (a critic for Wire) and Hollington (an illustrator whose musical commissions include Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs' recent album artwork) have made a publication which works as both experimental fiction and a functioning tarot – brought to life by Hollington's linocuts fusing ancient and modern motifs.

Other contributors to the series include Authors Daniel Blumberg, Lorena Lohr, Jenn Pelly, Kirk Lake, Mellisa Lee Houghton and Olly Todd.

Rough Trade Books launched at The Social, London on 23rd July with further events planned for festivals around the UK in summer 2018.

Listen to our Subculture playlist with John Savage here.

Find out more about Rough Trade Books at

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