A Sheffield song called Seven hills

Robberie’s song about our city

Find out more on robberie.com. The single is available from Record Collector or Tonearm Vinyl, or digitally on iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon and more.

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2003 promotional video for Sheffield

(Univer)sity on the move

Considering it is only around ten years old, this promotional video from the University of Sheffield is quite something.

On Twitter, we dated it to around 2003. What do you reckon?

Our Cow Molly and Sheffield Honey Company video

Welcome to Sheffield, land of milk and honey

This film from @russellcavanagh takes you behind the scenes at The Sheffield Honey Company and Our Cow Molly milk and ice cream.

Watch it to find out the important role that our local, independent food businesses play in Sheffield’s economy and community.

You’ll also see Eddie from Our Cow Molly explain just how fresh their milk is – and why he turned down an offer from Spar to stock their ice cream.

In search of the Sheffield carols

A festive tradition that’s right on our doorstep

I love a local tradition, and the Sheffield carols is one of our best. It’s still going strong since it started in the late eighteenth century, when singers and musicians would gather in north west Sheffield pubs during November and December to sing Christmas carols.

The carols aren’t just the obvious ones that you hear everywhere at this time of year. Many of them mix church and secular material and are composed by local musicians, with variations of words, melody and tempo depending on which pub you are in. What’s brilliant is that some are still referred to by their local names, such as Bradfield, Stannington and Malin Bridge.

Although the basic etiquette for these ‘sings’ in pubs may seem a little daunting, tracking down when and where they are happening is easy thanks to the listings on www.localcarols.org.uk.

The first pub we tried was The Sportsman in Crosspool, on a weeknight in the run up to Christmas. Here we found the Loxley Silver North Band playing a mixture of local carols and a few of the obvious ones – someone even requested Jingle Bells.

The band sounded great, although with just a small gathering of people singing in one area of the pub, it didn’t quite feel like the full local carols experience. So it was time to try one of the village pubs further north.

The Royal Hotel in Dungworth is famous for its local carols. We headed over on boxing day and weren’t disappointed. The pub was rammed, with people gathered round an organ, singing their hearts out. This was exactly how we hoped it might be.

We were made to feel welcome, despite not really knowing the carols. We soon discover that many of the words and tunes are quite familiar. This is the end of Sweet Chiming Bells, one of the many variations of While Shepherds Watched (excuse the shaky filming on my phone):

The enthusiasm of people singing is infectious. Looking around, it seems like generations of families are in the pub, with nearly everyone drinking the tasty Bradfield Brewery beer, which is brewed just up the road.

Singing like this in a pub may seem a bit strange to some people, but when you think that this local carol, called ‘Stannington’, has been sung for hundreds of years in Sheffield public houses, it is hard not to be drawn in:

In fact, spending time with people who are part of a tradition like this is quite special. It’s heartwarming to be part of something that has been taking place for so long but hasn’t really changed.

I bought a Loxley selection songbook from The Sportsman (just £1) and now I know that many of the carols are quite easy to pick up, I would feel much more confident about joining in. What’s more, it seems silly not to make more of such a cherished tradition that takes place right on our doorstep, so I’ll definitely be back next year.

There’s more about the history of carols in this BBC documentary by Howard Goodall. The Blue Ball pub in Worrall is featured from 52 minutes, 18 seconds:

John Shuttleworth performs in a Broomhill residential home

A special gig from Sheffield’s versatile singer-songwriter

John Shuttleworth at a Broomhill residential home

John Shuttleworth at a Broomhill residential home

It is 3 o’clock on Friday and instead of contemplating a post-work beer in a Broomhill pub, I’ve taken the afternoon off and am settling down to tea and cake in a residential home round the corner.

I’ve got good reason to be here at Lifestyle house. As one of the many events at Broomhill festival, Sheffield’s very own John Shuttleworth is putting on a couple of low-key afternoon performances. The gigs are for the residents of the home but there are also a handful of free tickets available to the public.

John Shuttleworth at a Broomhill residential home

Versatile singer-songwriter John Shuttleworth

John Shuttleworth is a likeable comedy character created by comedian Graham Fellows. He sings gentle observational songs about life, with accompaniment from his retro portable keyboard. You may have heard him on his own Radio 4 series, on TV and also in a couple of full-length feature films. If not, read his entry on Wikipedia and listen to some of his songs below, you’ll soon get the idea.

His lyrics have plenty of local references (“She lives in Hope, but she used to live in Barnsley”) which makes them even funnier if you’re from or know south Yorkshire.

The annual Broomhill festival is in its 37th year and is firmly established. As a result it manages to occasionally pull in high-profile acts like this which you might not expect to find at a normal community festival: at his last Sheffield show, John filled the city hall. In addition, Graham Fellows has links with Lifestyle House, as his parents are both residents here and he also went to King Edward VIII school, which is just next door.

John Shuttleworth at a Broomhill residential home

Performing to Lifestyle House residents

The average age of the people in the room must be about 80, but he goes down well. Early on in the set we get to hear the Shuttleworth favourite Two margarines and it is soon clear that the songs and talk in between work brilliantly in this setting. You’re never quite sure whether the lovely old people understand that he is a comedy creation or instead just see him as another eccentric afternoon entertainer.

The residents provide plenty of good banter, although when one old lady says “I’m not going to answer any more of your questions”, you realise they don’t all suffer fools gladly.

Halfway through we break for tea and cakes, served to us using classic Beryl ware hospital/residential home crockery. After some mingling John then takes to his keyboard once again to play Shopkeepers in the north, near-Eurovision hit Pigeons in flight and a sherry-fuelled I can’t go back to savoury now. One old guy has nodded off but everyone else has been thoroughly entertained.

A small crew recorded the performance for another John Shuttleworth film, which will be worth looking out for. Some photos are below.

Queueing up outside Lifestyle house

Queueing up outside Lifestyle house

John Shuttleworth at a Broomhill residential home

John Shuttleworth performing at a Broomhill residential home

John Shuttleworth at a Broomhill residential home

John Shuttleworth at a Broomhill residential home

John Shuttleworth at a Broomhill residential home

John Shuttleworth mingling with Broomhill residential home residents

John Shuttleworth at a Broomhill residential home

Damien Johnson enjoying John Shuttleworth at a Broomhill residential home

John Shuttleworth at a Broomhill residential home

John Shuttleworth at a Broomhill residential home

Tea and cakes - John Shuttleworth at a Broomhill residential home

Afternoon tea at John Shuttleworth's Broomhill residential home gig

All in a day BBC4 Sheffield documentary

More seventies Sheffield

This fly-on-the-wall-style documentary shows a day in the life of Sheffield in September 1973. There is no commentary, and the only real narrative is the progression of events, with the cameras returning to certain stories – such as a birth, a death and a marriage – throughout the day.

In terms of visual change, there is plenty to look out for. The cooling towers form part of the backdrop; Bramall Lane still has tall floodlights on the corners of the ground; the Peace gardens are the old layout; people are still using outdoor loos; the Black swan (aka the Mucky duck) was still open; and at one point I think you can spot the now-demolished Kelvin flats.

The local media also feature quite prominently. An audio clip announces that it is ‘Radio Sheffield breakfast magazine edition one’, although with the station going live six years previously, it presumably wasn’t the first incarnation of the breakfast show.

We also get to see behind the scenes at an editorial meeting at Sheffield Newspapers, where the front-page news is that the corporation is to halt council house building and a bread delivery lorry’s brakes have failed, causing it to crash into a Walkley house.

Some of the seventies background music makes scenes from All in a day reminiscent of City on the move. And I couldn’t help being reminded a little bit of the beginning part of Threads. Obviously, the turn of events in All in a day isn’t so tragic, but to a viewer who wasn’t born in 1973 and who was only young in 1984, they both have a similar old-Sheffield feel.

Oh and look out for the bizarre, symbolic juxtaposition of a priest leading communion, ‘This is my blood…shed for you and for many for the remission of sins’, which then cuts to a pig being slaughtered.

You can watch the All in a day documentary below.

Shane Meadows’ new Robinsons ad, filmed in Sheffield

This is Sheffield

There are plenty of Sheffield locations to spot in this advert from This is England director Shane Meadows and Warp films. Keep your eye out for – I think – High storrs road, Ecclesall parish hall, the hardware shop at Bents green shops and Bingham park.

Robinsons have also uploaded making-of video, which they say was made by the children in the advert:

Paul Scriven’s Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s hotel training video

Not such a perfect day for the leader of Sheffield city council

The original of this video was hastily removed this morning, although Sheffield politics has preserved a copy and uploaded it again:

Paul explained on Twitter that it is an internal training video.

Escape from the Moor print

Final print completes the set of six

Looking for a last minute Christmas present? Escape from the Moor, the final Jim Connolly print from his excellent set of six Sheffield-themed posters is now available.

Jim explains:

Escape from the Moor is a look at the Moor’s current mid-regeneration status. I’ve compared it to John Carpenter’s burnt out looking Manhatten in the 80s Kurt Russell classic, although my gangs are mainly comprised of unruly OAPs and post-apocalyptic pound shops dominate the skyline

The teaser trailer is here:

Most of the other prints from the series are also still available.

Escape From the Moor by Jim Connolly

Escape From the Moor by Jim Connolly

Made in Sheffield week on Sky

Sheffield’s music legacy

Starting tomorrow on Sky arts is Made in Sheffield week.

At 9pm each night a TV programme relating to Sheffield’s musical legacy will be shown:

The documentaries, made by Sheffield vision film maker Eve Wood, are getting their UK TV premieres. They tell the story of the Sheffield music scene from the late 70s through to Pulp’s legendary appearance headlining Glastonbury in 1995.

Made in Sheffield focuses on the early electronic scene while the Beat is the law covers the 80s and 90s, including how Thatcher’s Britain influenced music from the city.

If you haven’t got Sky then you can also buy copies of the documentaries from sheffieldvision.com, Rare and racy and Record collector.

Made in Sheffield week on Sky arts