My earliest memories of visiting Sheffield in the 1970’s with my parents was on the rare occasion of being allowed to go to Redgates, a department store boarding Wonka-esque proportions when 7 years of age, floor after floor of delights. With a nod to J.C Penny, the sounds and smells, rhythm and piped music seemed to be a metaphor for this great city of the north.
Ten years later I came to Sheffield in search of much more than Star Wars figurines and new grips for my BMX.
Music caught my interest, the very early days of Pulp, Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire and the momentous weekly nights at The Limit, Leadmill and the Groovy Fish Tank.
The nights would always begin with a few in a nearby boozer and always end up in a deep and meaningful with an ex-steel worker; withered face, twisted and contorted body, swollen, pink eyes and yet mesmerising, enchanting and enthralling in their banter.
I knew more about the day to day existence of sheet metal workers, cutlers and engineers through this vicarious existence. Only by time passing and with a generous helping of hindsight that I can still hear the rhythmic sounds of heavy industry that rang through every street of this city, replaced by the constructs of synthesised and engineered music which gave way to so many tracks we know and love today.
If you missed the Storyville production The Big Melt, click below the trailer. It is on for a limited time, but worth it none the less.