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NN Cafe in Northampton is brewing up a cultural storm

By Northampton Herald & Post  |  Posted: October 11, 2013

  • Proprietors Tamsyn Payne and Alan Lynn opened NN Café on Guildhall Road last week

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The newly-opened NN Café has burst onto Northampton’s cultural scene with a variety of comedy, music and literary events.

Last Thursday Fans of the late musician Nick Drake flocked to the venue, based in the NN Contemporary on Guildhall Road, for the book launch of Nick Drake: Dreaming England. Written by Nathan Wiseman-Trowse, associate professor in popular music at the University of Northampton, the novel, published by Reaktion Books, explores how ideas on English identity are closely associated with the folk musician who died in 1974 at the age of 26.

During the launch local musician Gregg Cave performed a selection of Drake’s songs and photographer Paul Hillery exhibited photographs from the book.

Speaking to arts podcast Culture Club Mr Wiseman-Trouse said: “{Nick Drake] is a treasured object passed from friend to friend.” He added: ”You know how you know where you were when JFK died. I know where I was when I listened to River Man.”

Proprietors of the café Tamsyn Payne and Alan Lynn have big plans for the venue, which opened on September 27 with stand-up comedy show from Robin Ince, currently touring the UK with his show The Importance of Being Interested.

Mr Lynn said: “It opened last Thursday for Robin Ince. “For the Robin Ince gig it was really busy. There were about 80 people there.

“It was very well received. It was brilliant – one of the best mic shows I have ever seen.”

He added: “It is great for me and Tamsyn to put our gastronomic and cultural heads together and for us to come up with this concept and then lean that up against the side of a contemporary art gallery is genuinely exciting.”

NN Cafe will also be turning the concept of the Women’s Institute on its head with an event called Fruitful Union, which will run activities for both men and women. The first event, which will take place on October 23, will teach the participants how to brew beer and make sour dough bread.

“It is like WI with no gender politics”. said Lynn. Other culinary events include a cup cake making competition, which will take place on the Friday November 1. Those not competing can pay a £5 entry-fee to drink tea and sample the cakes.

The venue will run a regular DJ slot on Saturdays and host monthly student mic nights.

There also plans to put on stand up comedy nights with local comedians. Comedian James Acaster will also be performing in December.

Acaster, who grew up in Kettering, has appeared at the Edinburgh fringe festival and his TV credits include Russell Howard’s Good News.

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