Wednesday, 3 August 2011
WELCOME TO TRAMLINES NO.1: A SIGHT TO BEHOLD
First published in the Tramlines Times, Friday 22nd July 2011.
WELCOME! FROM THE SHEFFIELD PUBLICITY DEPARTMENT
Wilkommen! Bienvenue! 欢迎!
We're the Sheffield Publicity Department, and we're here to introduce you to our lovely city. We'll be suggesting Things To See and Do throughout the Tramlines weekend, to help you understand what makes Sheffield so special.
NUMBER ONE: A SIGHT TO BEHOLD.
If this is your first visit, let us say this: don't panic. Yes, it may appear that the city is just a random collection of scruffy modern buildings, competing bus companies and one-way streets, with no attempt made to join them together. And yes, the uninitiated may be shocked by the sheer amount of wasteland, as if Sheffield has only recently lost a war.
But rest assured, this is not the full picture. There's a way to see our city in a different light. It's just about knowing where to see it from.
Let us take you to a viewpoint. It's only five minutes away. We'll start at the train station. Go inside, up over the bridge towards the trains, and out the door at the end. Keep going, up those rusty steel steps in front of you, all the way to the top. And then turn around.
Here, below you, is our city. From here, the city centre is a pop-up history book, where 60s office blocks rub up against mock-tudor Victorian pubs, and 1980s science parks. And from here, the empty spaces are like breathing space for the city, where the weeds blossom every spring like a post-industrial flower show. And somewhere in this mess are the musicians and artists and designers, working now, even now, to put the name of this city on the lips of the world.
And above the city you can see our hills, covered with terraced houses, like the crowds at a football match. And from here you can see our trees, bursting out of the roads, covering the suburbs with green. And further away, at the edge of the frame, you can see the bare brown lines of the Peak District, the space where the city spends its weekends.
And as you sit and look out, teenagers flirt in the grass at your feet, and insects land on your jeans, and a fat man pants up the steps, and a mother herds her children down and says 'look at the view!'.
This, then, is our happy, ugly, beautiful city. We hope you like it.
Sheffield Publicity Department
Here's the original, in case you want to look at it: