Wednesday 27 June 2012


New project alert. The SPD is back. And more hi-fidelity than ever.

Introducing Sheffield Music City.

Sheffield Music City is a beginners guide to the beautiful, futuristic and strange music that our city has produced. It's not your usual guide: there aren't any pictures of Phil Oakey's hair, and it doesn't list record sales. Instead, it takes you, the reader, to the places where Sheffield music was made and inspired.

We've found the terraced house where ABC first shimmied; the front room where Warp first bleeped; the nightclub where the city found its rhythm. Some of them are still there. Some of them are long gone. But all played a role in making this small, unimportant, shabby city, at the far south of the North, into one of the most important musical cities in the world.

The guide was produced for Sensoria festival, and supported by the University of Sheffield's English Department. Mega thanks to them both. You can find an essay by Matt Cheeseman, our theorist in residence, by going here, and clicking on the 'Sheffield Music City' tab.

The beautiful, bleak, clinical photos are taken by the uber-talented Theo Simpson. The publication is printed in glorious two-colour litho, by Unicorn Press, the hidden jewel in Sheffield's lofi printing crown. Warm red pantone, in case you were wondering. Cyclus offset, natch.

All in all, we're pleased as punch. This is exactly the sort of publication that a dream tourist board for Sheffield should be creating. We hope you like it.

Note: it's currently available in the Site Gallery and at Rare and Racy. We're working on getting it online, but don't hold your breath. In the mean-time, email us if you'd like a copy.


It's worth using the power of the internet to point you in the direction of a few of the things we reference in the guide.

Noise, Heat, Power is home to some of the finest writing about Sheffield you'll ever read. This mix is bloody brill. Check out the liner notes for an introduction to the 'long lost Sheffield of the soul'.

Warp Records: Labels Unlimited is equally mint. It tells the story of Warp Records with amazing writing, and incredible archive pictures. The sort of book that you read under the covers as a kid, and dream of Doing Something Worthwhile.

Beats Working for a Living is also indispensable for anyone interested in Sheffield music.
And finally, Eve Wood's Made in Sheffield is incredible. The bit where Chris Watson, formally of Cabaret Voltaire, describes his reaction to a crap gig in Sheffield City Hall ("I could do better than that! We could all do better than that!") sums up everything that makes this city punk as fuck.


Kid Acne's two mixes of music made, remixed or inspired in South Yorkshire are full of total bangers. One. Two. Keep your peepers out for number three soon. Hype.

Toddla and Pipes' mix from Kabal in 2008 reminds us of standing at the bus stop in Heeley and just hearing bassline from every single passing car. Including the police cars. Difficult to find now, but worth tracking down.

And it's wrong to have a favourite. We have to be objective. But you have to listen to this. And then this. And then this.

Easily the second greatest musical city on Earth.

Friday 26 August 2011


Let the minutes show: yesterday was possibly the best day in the history of the Sheffield Publicity Department.

We took some intrepid workshop participants up to the Park Hill, to fill in their tree-rubbing posters, and make a one-off poster about our urban forest. Here's what happened. Click on these photos people. They're worth it.

The weather was incredible. The sun shone down through the canopies. The views were spectacular. It was wonderful.

Thanks to everyone who came down: we'll get the pictures of you with your posters up soon.

Mega thanks to Gemma Thorpe for the lovely photos.

And ultra, super thanks to Jane and Natalie at the Site Gallery for asking us to get involved. Site Gallery has suddenly got amazing. Well done all.

PS if you couldn't make it down, the packs are now on sale at the Site gallery for £3.50. We're talking perfect Birthday/Christmas gift.

Wednesday 24 August 2011


Look. At. These.

The posters are back. The header cards are folded. The crayons have been paired off like rare, beautiful animals in a zoo.

To get your hands on one of these, come down to our Tree Rubbings workshop at the Site Gallery tomorrow, Thursday 25th August. It's going to be bloody lovely.

If you can't make it tomorrow, the packs will be on sale in the Site Gallery from this day forth.

(Thanks to PDF in Sheffield for the printing, and Gemma Thorpe for the photo.)

Friday 19 August 2011


Exciting times in the SPD office. The crayons have arrived.

Two of these beauties will be in each of our DIY tree-rubbing packs. You'll have to choose your favourite colours from the selection. No mixing.

Plus, if you're into late capitalist bling, we even have a couple of gold and silver crayons doing the rounds. Note would-be looters/scrap thieves: they're made of wax.

You know what we really love about these crayons? It's the smell. Straight back to childhood. We literally cannot wait for the workshops.



Sunday 14 August 2011


Sheffield has over two gazillion trees, making it the greenest city on planet Earth. As part of Site Gallery's DIY Summer, we'll be holding a tree rubbing workshop on Thursday 25th August, to celebrate our urban forest.

We'll be leading people on a short walking tour up to the trees of Park Hill, where we'll help you create your own unique, DIY publicity poster through the medium of wax crayon rubbings.

We'll be running a number of workshops throughout the day. The workshops are open to all, and cost a mere £3. To find out more click here. Or to book a place, click thusly.

Stay tuned for more info. Check out the incredible new logo. That is all.



Wednesday 3 August 2011


First published in the Tramlines Times, Sunday 24th July 2011.


Number 3: Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me

Now, as the city's tourist board, we're used to making bold claims. But here's one that's undisputed: Sheffield has the most glorious sunsets on planet Earth.

We don't know really know what causes them. Maybe it's the shape of the city, the hills around us, that means you can always see the point where the sky meets the ground. Who knows? And of course it doesn't happen every evening. There's no way of telling when. But suddenly, out of nowhere, you'll notice the colour pink from the corner of your eye. And from that moment on, all you can do is stand and watch.

Sometimes the sky looks like Super Mario, cartoon blue with perfect pink, popcorn clouds. Sometimes it becomes a vaulted ceiling above the city, like pink bunting. Sometimes it's darker, with heavy bruised clouds like black eyes. And sometimes it seems to magnify the clouds on the other side of the sky, so that they look like mountains hanging over the city. Like Sheffield has been moved to the Alps.

And then the colour balance is turned up, and everything starts to get brighter and brighter, until it looks like a chemical fire, or a new cosmos being born, just out of sight in the Rivelin valley. And then the sun disappears from view, pulling the evening behind it like a blanket, and the sky turns turquoise, then dark blue, then purple like a chocolate wrapper. And then it's over.

All this happens slowly, over a half hour period, like a movement in classical music. Some people will notice, and get out their iphones to take a picture for the kids. Others will carry on regardless, oblivious to the heavens above them.

Of course, it's difficult to market a sunset. We can't really arrange tours. And photos don't do it justice: they have to be seen to be believed. And the Sheffield Publicity Department can't guarantee that you'll see one. It's outside of our remit, alas.

But maybe you'll be lucky. And suddenly, the puddles on the floor will turn pink, and the drab office buildings will light up in gold; and you'll see that this poor, hollowed-out, hollow cheeked city, is rich beyond anybody's wildest dreams.

The sun goes down tonight at 21.14, precisely. Keep your eyes peeled.

With love
Sheffield Publicity Department.


First published in the Tramlines Times, Saturday 23rd July, 2011.



Here at SPD HQ, we've got a book about the city, published by our forerunners, the City Council's Civic Information Service, in 1964. The book is called SHEFFIELD, England, with a foil-blocked title. It's completely beautiful. Inside the front cover, there's a quote from Confucius, ancient Chinese scholar. It reads thusly:

"How may I recognise a good craftsmen? First, by the reputation of his ancestors for honesty and sincerity; then by his ability to create something new with an experience that is old."

Pretty deep shit, we think you'll agree. Why are we telling you this? Well, Sheffield, as you probably know, has always had a reputation for making amazing stuff. For a long time, that stuff was mainly made out of steel. For 100 years or so, Sheffield pretty much made cutlery for the whole of planet Earth.

Today, a lot of people think those times are gone. That we don't make anything here anymore. But that's not really true. Yes, Sheffield steel no longer fills your Nannan's cutlery drawer. Yes, some of the factories have closed down. But the spirit that fueled them is still in the air.

And one of the best places to see that spirit is in the pub, with a pint in your hand. Some of the best beer in the world is made here, in Sheffield, in micro-breweries attached to amazing pubs. There are too many to mention here, and far too many individual beers to name. So here are the greatest hits, with tasting notes, like some sort of BBC Food and Wine programme. Look out for:

- Pale Rider, Kid Acne's beer of choice, made by Kelham Island, tastes like power.
- Easy Rider, it's softer younger brother.
- Farmers Blonde, by Bradfield, like summer and cows and meadows in a glass.
- The Tramlines special beer, by the Sheffield Brewery Company, which, like that wine you had on holiday, will remind you of the good times.

But, here at the SPD, there can only ever be one favourite. Moonshine, made by Abbeydale Brewery. Weapon of choice. Ticket to ride. Moonshine is a whole pint of Ron Burgundy shouting: HOA! LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

So this weekend, put down the Corona, and do us all a favour. This city makes its own beer, for the people who live here, and it tastes bloody brilliant. Just another Sheffield product. In the service of mankind.


The Sheffield Publicity Department.