'It's crazy how a small city like this can have so many promoters and artists out there putting on their own stuff and making a really good go of it, and there's a real togetherness between most of them too...'
What’s your name?
James Victor Travis, or JVT... Or just James if you prefer. Never Jamie or J, though.
What do you do?
I work in Social Media for a popular hotel booking site in the centre of the city, it's a pretty good day job to be honest. I'm also the chap behind the Dots & Loops club and gigs, and sometimes DJ elsewhere when people will have me. Other than that, I'll probably be at home listening to Leonard Cohen.
Where do you live?
I'm living with my girlfriend in West Didsbury at the moment, just off Burton Road. The flat is kinda weird because it's above a house share that we have to pass through to get to it, but it's totally our own space. The other day we needed to get access to the basement below the house share to store some junk, and it turns out the basement is a disused recording studio. I mean, it isn't in operational order right now, but it's pretty damn cool down there.
Tell us the story of how you ended up in Manchester.
It's hard to elaborate on how I ended up somewhere I've always been. I was brought up in Rochdale and studied at Salford Uni for a couple of years and I never made the decision to move away anywhere else. I've often considered moving away, but it never came off for one reason or another... it's definitely likely in a few years or so, but I'm quite comfortable for the time being.
What’s great about this city?
There's never a lack of good shows or events, and it's a really creative place with a good atmosphere. It's crazy how a small city like this can have so many promoters and artists out there putting on their own stuff and making a really good go of it, and there's a real togetherness between most of them too. The record stores, of course... People complain about the weather, but I quite like it these days.
What’s not so great?
The high street is pretty awful. People can say what they like about HMV, but to see that store close down and become a 3-storey bargain place is pretty depressing. It's just scaled down supermakets and mobile phone stores now. Piccadilly Gardens is a real mess too, and that big wheel hasn't done much for it. I really can't tolerate Spinningfields, but each to their own and all that. I'm not really a city centre kind of guy I suppose.
Do you have a favourite Manchester building?
The old fire station by Piccadilly train station, it's a really impressive building, absolutely stunning. It's a real shame that Britannia Hotels (who own the building) continue to neglect it. They came up with some nonsense about there being no demand for more hotels in the city, but then you see there's more and more hotels being proposed and approved every year. It's really hard for me to understand what they're trying to do there, very unusual. Hopefully there can be some kind of resolution soon, but it's been 20-something years as far as I'm aware, so I'll not hold my breath. It's not like a new hotel would be my preferred option for the place anyway, but it needs to be SOMETHING. The worst building? Has to be that premier inn. What a shocker.
Do you have a favourite Mancunian?
I don't really have a favourite Mancunian that comes to mind. I guess I'll be real nice and say my Papa. It certainly ain't Ian Brown, anyway! Mark E Smith is a funny guy, I like him. Don't reckon he'd like me much, mind...
What’s your favourite pub/bar/club/restaurant/park/venue?
This is real difficult, there's plenty of nice places! I suppose my favourite places would be Fuel and Kraak. Always a great atmosphere in both those places, and plenty of interesting stuff going on. Islington Mill is fantastic... The Castle is nice to pop in for a good drink and a sit down, and the venue space is pretty handy too. I generally like to stay in with a few records though, and burton road has a really great beer store now called The Epicurean. It isn't cheap, but it's good to be able to just pop into a place and pick up some drinks you're used to only being able to buy at trendy bars here and there.
What do you think is missing from Manchester?
I think we were missing a good medium sized venue, but the Albert Hall has that covered really well now. Burton Road really needs a grocery store, I'll say that. I don't think there's enough good outdoor areas in the centre of the city, nowhere to really sit down and relax in the middle of all the madness. That's maybe something they could work on, starting with Piccadilly Gardens.
If I was Mayor for a day I would …
Make the Metrolink free of charge. Hell, that ain't no kind of service to be charged for.
Who else would you like to nominate to answer this questionnaire?
Kev Rolfe. He's got his own label going on now, and is always involved in other great stuff. He's off around America for a few months but you should grab him after that.
Dots& Loops 8th Birthday is on July 4th including a DJ set from special guest Bob Stanley (Saint Etienne) plus live sets from The Oscillation & Dead Sea Apes. Kraak. 9pm till 4am. £8 advance, £10 on the door. Event page here.