the cribs Yorkshireâ€™s finest are back with another indie belter
proudly supporting the childrenâ€™s childrens hospital charity
operation crucible // Paloma Faith // Jim McElvaney // FatRobot Illustration // Connor Houston // + more inside!
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R E STAU R A N T
CUBANA IS OPEN!... Cubana will open as a restaurant FIVE days per week from WEDNESDAY through to SUNDAY.
> Tapas & Drinks &
As per the latest tier 3 requirements we will only be operating as a restaurant (both upstairs and downstairs). You’ll be certain to find the ever present warm, friendly Cubana experience along with the usual good vibes, and that we’ll provide the appropriate due care and attention for your safety and well-being. We’ve had to adapt and tweak our offering to accommodate the 10pm finish over the last few weeks and we’ve changed things around once again to meet the latest requirements. Live music is now in full swing and our newly launched Bottomless Brunch is already proving very popular so please book ahead!
R E STAU R A N T
Our team of chefs and waiting staff are ready to cook and serve you, a selection of over 40 mouth watering dishes from our varied and authentic tapas menu.
Our bartenders are ready to prepare you our tasty, exotic cocktails and of course we’ll have our full range of wines from around the world, not to mention our 220 strong award winning rum selection for you all to enjoy.
> Happy Tapas & Happy Drinks HAPPY TAPAS is still available now until 5pm SUNDAY TO FRIDAY. Call in and chill out at the end of a hard day (at home or at work or maybe both these days!!). Unwind and soak up our relaxed Latino vibe whilst enjoying our ‘Happy Tapas’ deals. All tables seated before or at 5pm may choose from ANY 2 tapas dishes for £9.95 or £5.00 off ANY of our tapas set menus.
HAPPY DRINKS! We’ve Happy Drinks offers available until 5pm, SUNDAY TO FRIDAY. All of our Classic & Signature cocktails for only £5.00. There’s also discounts on selected beers and house wines.
> Live Music is back! We’re delighted to announce that live music is back and now in full swing at Cubana. We are hosting live music between 7pm-9pm every night we are open (from Wednesday to Sunday). We’d like to show our support to the amazing musicians who’ve been unable to work much and who have had a tough time of it lately by hosting as many gigs as possible. They too, would love you to come down and see them perform. To get back into the swing of things, we are mainly hosting solo artists and occasional duos. Get ready for plenty of live Soul, Funk, Jazz, Blues, R&B, pop and more! We are so thrilled to get the rhythms flowing again and finally get the show on the road!
Call 01142 760475 FIND US AT... UNIT 4 LEOPOLD SQUARE, SHEFFIELD S1 2JG
NEW!... BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH > Bottomless Brunch – Cubana style
> Cubana vibes
Our Bottomless Brunch runs every Saturday and Sunday. There are various sitting times starting between 11am and 4.15pm - well if you’re going to have an early finish you might as well have an early start the next day! At Cubana though, it’s so much more than just the fabulous selection of drinks!! We wanted to raise the bar with our own unique BB offering. We feel that it’s also important to provide a package which includes a substantial and wide selection of top quality food. See the website for full information. Our talented team of chefs have put together a delicious combination of Spanish and Latin brunch dishes for you all to enjoy alongside the usual on tap supply of Prosecco, Sangria, cocktails and more. Do book early as it’s proving very popular!
You can be certain of one thing - we’ll continue to provide Sheffield with the usual good vibes and friendly Latino welcome you’ve come to expect from our fantastic team. We’ll take good care of you in our unique Cubana style. Muchas gracias to all our customers for your ongoing and loyal support. We’re ready and waiting to serve you look forward to welcoming you back!
> Bookings For bookings, please complete the enquiry form on the following booking request link: www.cubanatapasbar.co.uk/request.php or give us a call on 0114 2760475
> Opening Times
Cubana will open 5 days per week until 10pm every night
Unfortunately we are unable to provide our take away service for drinks for customers to enjoy either on Cubana’s outdoor terrace or outside in Leopold Square. We are planning to reintroduce this in the future should Sheffield move into any of the lower tiers.
Wednesday & Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
4pm – 10pm Midday – 10pm 11am – 10pm 11am – 10pm
Last orders for tapas in the upstairs restaurant is 9pm.
C U B A N ATA P A S B A R . C O . U K facebook/cubanatapasbar
We are still open as normal!
new menu a taste of Yorkshire.
E x t ende d ! 0114 270 6160 silversmiths-restaurant.com 111 Arundel St, Sheffield S1 2NT
32 32: The Cribs Wakey’s likely lads are back with a brand new album Night Network. Our Tamsin Crowther caught up with Ross Jarman to discuss the record and just how bloody great the North is.
Elsewhere... 13: City Views 14: City grab 26: music 45: Culture 51: Film 56: Artist Spotlight
26: Back in the chuffin’ day Exposed’s resident music scribbler Mark Perkins takes a look at some of the lesser-known Sheffield bands which helped shaped the landscape of the music scene here over the last decade or so.
Phil Turner (PUBLISHER) firstname.lastname@example.org
40: Ed Cosens
Nick Hallam (Sales Director)
Founding member of Reverend and the Makers, Ed Cosens is stepping out on his own and puts his own lyrical prowess up their with the likes of Alex Turner and Jon McClure. Tamsin Crowther gets the skinny.
JOE FOOD (EDITOR) email@example.com
PAUL STIMPSON (ONLINE EDITOR & DESIGN) Paul@exposedmagazine.co.uk
38: paloma faith Paloma Faith’s remarkable career continues with her ambitious new album Infinite Things.
45: fatrobot illustration Rob Richardson, AKA FatRobot Illustration talks his influences, the arts community in Sheffield and working on a Sky Atlantic series.
19: Ellie Grace Sheffield-based photographer Ellie Grace made national headlines during the first coronavirus lockdown with ‘Doorstep Portraits’ – a heart-warming project documenting the lives of local residents during an unprecedented time in the city’s history. Now, Ellie’s photographs have been fashioned into a fantastic book.
Tamsin Crowther Mark Perkins elliot lucas Cal Reid emily duffy Neill Barston jake pearson
the business stuff Exposed is published monthly by Blind Mice Media Ltd Unit 1b 2 kelham square kelham riverside Sheffield s3 8sd The views contained herein are not necessarily those of Blind Mice Media Ltd and while every effort is made to ensure information throughout Exposed is correct, changes prior to distribution may take place which can affect the accuracy of copy, therefore Blind Mice Media Ltd cannot take responsibility for contributors’ views or specific entertainment listings.
www.exposedmagazine.co.uk | 7
Credit: danny lines
upfront: kick off
Closing time For some Sheffield independents, the recent move to impose tier 3 restrictions on the region is another hammer blow in a time of real peril for small businesses. These are incredibly testing times for everybody. Once again, as we did in the spring, we’re calling on our readership to do whatever you can to help out your favourite independent. We can’t let them fade away. Leave a review, buy merch, visit them (if safe and they are still open), or perhaps just drop them a line on email to let them know they still have your support. They have adapted to so many changing conditions and will be gutted to have to close up again. Here’s to the lot of them, and here’s hoping this time next month, when we’re kicking off our December issue, we’ll be writing about everybody’s great plans for Christmas. Stay safe. Love from the Exposed Magazine team.
www.exposedmagazine.co.uk | 9
You may have been bamboozled by a series of special sculptures popping up around the Steel City last month. Bear with us while we explain the story behind these developments…
Three panda sculptures have been erected in the city centre, the largest of which is situated at New Era Square – the £66 million modern Asia-inspired development at St Mary’s Gate. The panda serves as a symbol for friendship and peace in Chinese culture, and the main focal point of the installation weighing in at a whopping 1,350kg can be seen on a rooftop by the development. Alongside this there are two smaller pandas – one clambering up the side of a pillar and one resting on a bench – and all are the creation of David Wei of Hatch Architects. A UK-qualified architect, Wei is renowned for producing visually inspiring art works for flagship Chinese developments. Upon arriving in the UK last month, the panda was then fabricated by local Sheffield firm Campbell Design and Engineering Ltd. Rongmin Qin, Executive Director at New Era Developments, said: “With New Era Square, our 10 | www.exposedmagazine.co.uk
ambition has always been to deliver a true example of what modern Asia has to offer. Going far beyond the classic China Town experience in the UK, the development marries the excitement and dynamism of modern Asia with the best of Western culture. “We also wanted to create something special for the city of Sheffield. Now more than ever, we are seeing the important role that open public spaces within our busy urban environment play in our mental health and wellbeing. We believe that New Era Square and its bold art installations is truly unique in the UK and complements Sheffield’s creative personality perfectly. Finishing touches are currently being added to the square, which supports the long-term aim to better connect London Road with the City Centre. The development also features a mix of quality office space, apartments, contemporary restaurant and retail units, and an 83-space underground car park.
Give it a go: Mow’s Coffee A collaboration between The Mowbray and experienced barista Sam Gilmer, Mow’s Coffee began life as a test pop-up concept and has since grown into a full-time addition the city’s thriving café scene. Situated at Sellers Wheel, 151 Arundel Street, the stylish venue provides a 20-seater sanctum devoted to incredible coffee and high-quality seasonal food courtesy of the renowned kitchen team at The Mowbray. “I have a huge passion for coffee and customer service,” Sam told Exposed. “I want every customer to leave happier than they were before coming into the café. Working with the Mowbray has given me access to talented chefs who are providing fresh sandwiches and cakes made from scratch every day.”
The red-brick interior has been designed by award-winning studio 93ft, inspired by a theme of sustainability featuring reclaimed timbers, lighting, marble, and a set of iconic bus seats to relax on. “I feel that locally the speciality scene is growing really quickly - we have some great well known speciality coffee spots in Sheffield but also lots of new smaller shops popping up too, we are the latest addition to this great group of independent coffee houses,” says Sam. There’s seating space and an outside courtyard available; plus a handy service hatch onto Arundel Street if you’re on the move! Mow’s is open Monday-Saturday 9am-4pm. Follow them on Instagram @coffeeatmows.
pellizco In a nutshell Pellizco is a fairly new concept, taking over from Pinch N’ Pull. They specialise in Mexican and South American cuisine, ranging from tacos, burritos, their own style of empanadas, to their own recipe Mexican fried chicken, which has had some really good reviews. All using locally sourced products where possible combined with imported Mexican goods to give authenticity to flavours. They recently bagged a nomination at the British Street Food Awards The annual awards celebrating the best street food from England, Wales and Scotland. Pellizco were chosen from over 3000 applicants, going on to compete in the Midlands regional heat before being selected as a wild card finalist for the national competition in London. They are up against 13 other traders for a number of different categories with results being announced this month, so check their socials to see how they got on! Letting us in on a secret Owner Dan Pinch reckons to the secret to good street food is as follows: “It’s about putting care, time and effort into what you do. So many settle for mediocre food because that is all they know; whereas street food is by and large there to show people simple things can be done really well if given proper attention. I think independently -owned businesses tend to care for their product a lot more as they are far more likely to know, see, and speak to their customers on a daily basis.” COVID-19 has made things tough With event catering a big part of Pellizco’s offerings, they’ll usually have their calendar booked up months in advance; but this year has meant plenty of changes and cancellations. With the latest restrictions they’ve noticed a 60-70% decrease in sales, but they’re soldiering on with a strong commitment to keeping things safe for their customers. Keep your eyes out for a venue soon “The next stage for us is a permanent premises. We are actively looking for a venue, whether it be a standalone lease for us to open with our own seating, or whether it will be in one of the many food halls that are appearing all over. Ideally, we would love to have a place in Sheffield to call our own and really showcase what we can do to the people who have supported us as an up-and-coming business.” www.exposedmagazine.co.uk | 11
Book now for CHRISTMAS Bespoke packages tailored to your requirements. Visit truenorthbrewco.uk/christmas to see our Christmas party venues and offers.
0114 280 8222 | firstname.lastname@example.org
image: Will Roberts
Moving to Sheffield University during a pandemic Moving away from home to University is usually considered a big deal, a scary but exciting turning point. This year that fear-factor felt doubled. Regardless of the pandemic, I was already taking a big risk by moving to Sheffield as pre-September I had never even visited before, no open days or weekend trips to put me at ease. I had no idea what I was in for except that I was doing the degree I had dreamed of in a city known for its student life. I had the train tickets and the appointment with the university department, Covid struck early and stripped that experience from me too. Foolishly, I had thought that would be Covid’s only impact, little did I know that I would quickly be stopped from completing my exams and be thrust into halls with four other people I’d never met but was now limited to talking exclusively to. Thankfully my flatmates are lovely, but not everyone in my shoes has been as lucky and loneliness will definitely start to increase for many. While not visiting Sheffield may have meant I was wandering blindly into something that will impact the next three years of my life, given the current pandemic situation we find ourselves in I actually think this has helped me. I never had that chance to build a preconception about life here so I don’t know what I’m missing. If I can move here at a time when everything is closed and still love it then I can only imagine how great this city will be post-pandemic. However, there is a big negative to this situation: it is so hard to meet people. I move here and am told I can go to events as long as I sit down, then a week later suddenly I have to be home by 10pm
and a month after that there are just no events at all. Students understand that there is still a pandemic and that they have moved away from home not from the restrictions imposed nationwide but these inconsistent rules that everyone is struggling with do not help when I’m trying to make new friends. During my first week in Sheffield, I managed to visit The Leadmill - a renowned hub of music and events. We danced (sat down at our table) until 3am and I had a chance to actually meet the faceless names I had seen on a screen for weeks in an environment that felt laid back and exactly what I was used to. Now, only a few short weeks later, and the only way to meet people outside of my flat is to go and sit in a park. While Sheffield is beautiful and renowned for its green space (my favourite fact being that there are four trees to every one person), it is very much November and our annual sunshine happened in the first two weeks of being here so shivering while wearing 20 jumpers isn’t exactly the impression I want to give when meeting new people. That being said, there are a lot of great cafes in Sheffield. Although this is no longer an opportunity to meet people, it makes bonding with my flatmates easier. Study brunch? Marmadukes. Study break? Tamper Coffee. Although I have noticed that none of the millions of bubble tea places are open before 1pm (even if they say they will be). While moving here during a pandemic has been a much-anticipated roller coaster, I think I’m most disappointed that I’ve been here 6 weeks and still haven’t bumped into Alex Turner.
by emily duffy
“If I can move here at a time when everything is closed and still love it then I can only imagine how great this city will be post-pandemic.”
want to share your sheffield story? drop a line to email@example.com www.exposedmagazine.co.uk | 13
Grab a bite! who’s new to city grab this month
trader of the month
City Grab’s pick of the bunch
Kommune A great collective of eight eateries, drinks and more, Kommune is one of the most popular city centre spots for social dining. Bringing together some of the most exciting independent kitchens and traders from across the country, Kommune is a social all-day dining experience, situated in a unique Grade II-listed building at the very heart of Sheffield. Choose from South-Indian street food Chaat Cart, Mediterranean-inspired MorMor and the Depot Pizza Co., plus lots more! kommune.co.uk Workshop Koffee The brand new rustic coffee shop in the newly opened Steelyard Kelham space is a fine choice for a morning perk up. Coffee, bagels, pancakes - whatever your breakfast needs, Workshop Koffee delivers - quite literally with City Grab. workshopkoffee.co.uk Make no bones Innovative vegan food has been the order of the day for Make No Bones for seven years. As one of the city’s most popular restaurants, it was an exceptional bit of news to hear they were recently reopening down at The Old Workshop in Kelham Island. Grab their signatures dishes and more on City Grab! makenobones.co.uk picture house social Italian street food, craft beer and cocktails - Picture House Social is closed for the foreseeable but they can still bring the typical PHS night out straight to your gaff courtesy of City Grab. picture-house-social.co.uk
14 | www.exposedmagazine.co.uk
Taco MEx A highlight of London Road’s many diverse cultural dining options, Taco Mex has a fine reputation in Sheffield for providing some of the most authentic and delicious Mexican food this side of the Atlantic. Taco Mex specialises in traditional Mexican dishes like burritos, quesadillas, chimichangas and nachos and offers an extensive veggie and vegan menu.
and the rest!
- Workshop Koffee - Yard Burger - Bibimcup by OISOI - Andy’s Food Factory - Lionworks Fireworks - Sicily Chesterfield - Hazels Quality Catering - 24/7 Spar BP Bramall Lane - 24/7 Subway BP Bramall
Lane - Cricket Inn - Qashqai - The Suited Baker - Extra Life Gaming Lounge - Miss Whippy - Italianeese - Freddys Chicken & Pizza
Exposed’s recommendation Vegan Pulled Beef Burrito, £5.99. Roasted pulled jackfruit seasoned with toasted cumin seeds, taco mex herbs, beans, rice, lettuce, jalapenos, and guacamole. A proper hearty meal, ideal for lunch time or an evening meal.
When a picture mouthful paints a thousand words TM
**This logo is irrelevant >> We sell #ReytGoodCurreh www.ashoka1967.com
View from the hill The photographer behind some fantastic snaps of Park Hill and Sheffield life in the 1960s and 70s is hosting a free exhibition at Steelyard Kelham on 15th November. Photographs will be shown in several bars at Steelyard Kelham â€“ free of charge, with the book sale and signing taking place at the Bubba Bar. The book contains 130 images taken by photographer Mick Jones between 1969 and 1970. Most of the snaps were taken in and around the town centre, including some iconic shots of the infamous Park Hill estate. The book is ÂŁ15 and can be purchased from 1889books.co.uk.
16 | www.exposedmagazine.co.uk
mick jones: view from the hill
www.exposedmagazine.co.uk | 17
your doorstep Sheffield-based photographer Ellie Grace made national headlines during the first coronavirus lockdown with ‘Doorstep Portraits’ – a heart-warming project documenting the lives of local residents during an unprecedented time in the city’s history. Inside the 140-page book you’ll find residents of Abbeydale Road, Heeley, Crookes, Sharrow, Netheredge, Hunters Bar and Meersbrook. The design of the book took social distancing as a concept and applied it to how the photos and type are arranged, creating space between everyone, even the questions and their answers. Ellie said of the project: “This book is a reminder of the good times of lockdown and a reminder of the strange little world that we all lived in for a while. It was weird, it was scary and it was sad but some good things did come out of it. Neighbourhood spirit and bonds of family and friendships were particularly strong outcomes and I hope this book reminds you of these positive aspects that got quite a few of us through the hard times.” ‘Doorstep Portraits – People Under Lockdown’ costs £21 (including p+p) and can be purchased from doorstep-portraits.co.uk. You can keep up to date with Ellie’s latest work on Insta by following @elliegracephotography. 18 | www.exposedmagazine.co.uk
Sheffield council Public Health message
Susan Hird, Consultant in Public Health at Sheffield City Council
period for Tier 3 the government review may not automatically mean that everything will go back to normal. Life won’t be business as usual just yet. So, as winter approaches and Christmas looms ever closer, by all of us playing our part we can hope to meet family and friends again and hopefully we’ll get to a point where we can celebrate the festive season together. As we have said before many times, and as the figures tell us, this is a virus still circulating in our communities. It is deadly to some and can be debilitating to others. So, we want to say, thank you for continuing to follow the guidance, your efforts will be rewarded when restrictions are lifted further in time and we can welcome friends and family back into our homes. Until that time, administer some self-care, take a walk and if you’re really struggling, there is help at the end of the phone. Sheffield City Council has a community helpline if you need someone to talk to 0114 273 4567. Mental health charity Mind has advice and guidance mind.org.uk available. Community help is available from vas.org.uk with links to a Sheffield Covid-support map for your local area. There is guidance on the voluntary Community sector response to Covid-19 in Sheffield, with the free to download Now Then app to keep you informed on your phone. Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Together we will get through this with grit, integrity and true Sheffield steel spirit.
Images: marc barker
Image: Ben of the north
As Sheffield finds its feet in Tier 3, many of us are feeling the uneasiness that comes with not being able to be as social as we would like. Our mental health has become more important than ever in the wake of enforced social isolation for the good of our friends, families, co-workers, neighbours and the communities in which we live. We can still enjoy fresh air in Sheffield’s fantastic green outdoors. It’s time to seek out new walks and discover new places close to home. You can still visit the Botanical Gardens and explore the rugged country of the Sheffield Round Walk. Whilst stopping to taste the offerings from café’s, pubs and restaurants along the way. Just because we can’t mix households unless in an allowed bubble, it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a bite to eat and support the local independent businesses who’ve worked so hard to offer a Covid-secure environment to customers. For more inspiration activities available this autumn, including a full list of businesses open during Tier 3, check out sheffnews.com/news/things-to-dothis-autumn-and-winter. Doing things differently, will stay with us for some time to come. After the 28 day
Sheffield steel spirit shines in testing times
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Iâ€™m playing my part to keep Sheffield safe. Are you? #PlayYourPartSheff
Image: prakriti khajuria 24 | www.exposedmagazine.co.uk
Road Trip By Jake Pearson
I watched the second hand with arduous anticipation as it as it slowly stumbled its way past 45, then 50, then 55, eagerly anticipating the moment it would reach the summit of it’s journey and signal the start of dinner-time. It wasn’t that I hated my job, in fact I quite enjoyed working at Mr Pastel’s Advertising Agency. I was a copywriter and my job was to come up with creative slogans, snappy text etc. the kind of thing that gives you an uncontrollable desire to rush out and purchase something that, despite only hearing about for the first time just 30 seconds prior, you can now no longer live without it. Like I said, it’s not that I hate my job, it’s just that 12 noon is the best part of the day. As soon as the second hand reached its peak I grabbed my coat and headed for Joe’s café. Joe’s is one of those American style cafés, gloopy black coffee and pancakes served with overly crispy bacon and lashings of maple syrup. The food isn’t great and the coffee is even worse, but it is where everyday I see Alabama. Alabama is one of the waitresses at Joe’s and every weekday we spend our break together in the back left booth of the café. Alabama and I have been seeing each other like this for almost a year now. I have proposed we meet some other place and some other time, but she said she likes it this way, this way we can always be sure of what to expect and never properly hurt each other. Everyday I open the café door and find her already sat in our booth. I walk over and sit beside her and every day we both order the same thing, pancakes with bacon and eggs, one with syrup and one without, and two cups of coffee, and we always talk about the same thing. Alabama is originally from American, hence the name, and she has always dreamt of renting a Cadillac and travelling the country of her birth. This is now something we constantly speak of, buying two plane tickets to America and driving the full length of the country, and every day we explore a new city, town or providence over our pancakes. Our journey started in the West and we are currently driving through Indianapolis. In our fantasy we get held up by the traffic of the people heading to the Indy 500 and decide to stop. We head over to a café, similar to Joe’s, and order a cup of coffee, realising the irony, both in reality and in fantasy. As the time approached 1 o’clock I finished my coffee, put on my coat, kissed Alabama’s warm rosy cheek and headed back to work, as always feeling a slight emptiness in my stomach as I knew I had to wait another 23 hours to see her again. The afternoon passed surprisingly quickly. I was working on a campaign for a company that produces vacuum cleaners, and was actually producing some of my very best work. I looked up at the clock and it was already gone five. I finished off what I was working on, put on my windbreaker and headed out the door. Usually I catch the bus home but it wasn’t too cold for the time of the year, so I decided to walk, I even took the longer route so I could walk through the park. As I came out of the park I passed a car dealership, and at the very front of the lot was an old Cadillac, red, rusty and saturated in American nostalgia. The price in the window read £2,000. I stood for a while just looking at the car, not really thinking about anything in particular, just looking at it. Then I thought about Alabama.
From then on time seemed to pass increasingly slowly when I was not with Alabama. Four months had passed since I had purchased the car. My plan was to restore the Cadillac to its former glory and take Alabama around the country in it. We’d go up first, to Scotland, then back down, through Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, then on to London and down to Dorset and Cornwall. It wasn’t quite Route 66, but it was something and it was real. Another month passed and the car was almost finished. Its body now shone an almost offensive red, just as a car of its nature should. During this time Alabama and I had continued meeting every day and our journey across the States was almost at a close. We had headed south and were almost in Miami, the agreed-upon closing point of our adventure. My plan was clear and concise in my head, the day after we had finished our road trip across America, I would, as I had done the past 378 days, make my way into the café, but instead of sitting down in our booth, I would ask Alabama to come outside, where I would have the Cadillac waiting. I would open the passenger-side door and help her in, then I would myself get in the car and we would drive away into the distance, leaving behind the life we had known and beginning a new adventure together, a real one. It was Thursday when we finally arrived at Miami, the sun was hot, the palm trees were high and the water was cool and crisp. We talked about Miami for a while, in fact we talked until gone 1 o’clock. I would be late back to work but I no longer cared. I knew that I would not be at Mr Pastel’s Advertising Agency for much longer. That night I could hardly sleep, all I could think of was Alabama, the Cadillac and starting our lives together, really together. I went into work that morning but hardly got any work done. I spent most of the time staring at the clock. After what seemed like days the clock finally struck 12. Having already put on my windbreaker in anticipation I ran towards the door, feeling almost uncontrollably sick with anticipation. I hopped into the Cadillac, drove it as fast as I could down the street and parked it opposite Joe’s Café. I opened the café door, trying to conceal the excitement from my face. My eyes were instantly drawn towards our booth, but Alabama was not there, instead it was occupied by a man and a woman I had never seen before. I walked up to the counter and asked one of the other waitresses where Alabama was. She told me that she had handed her notice in yesterday afternoon, that she had gone straight home and not returned, even though she was required to work at least a week’s notice. The waitress continued to speak but I couldn’t hear anything she said, it was as though time had slowed almost to a halt and every sound was but a muffled drone. I couldn’t move for what must have been a minute, I just stared forward, unable to speak, hear or think. Eventually I gathered myself and headed towards the door. As I passed our booth the woman sitting there grabbed my arm and handed me a note written on a napkin. “Dear Jimmy, I’m sorry I couldn’t say goodbye in person. I had a wonderful adventure with you, but now it’s time for us both to start a new one. Love, Alabama x”. I left the café, got into the Cadillac and drove. I don’t know where I went but it was far.
Back in t’day Image: timm cleasby
Exposed’s erudite music hound Mark Perkins talks a stroll down memory lane and picks out some of his favourite Sheff bands of yesteryear… There’s always been a strong case for Sheffield being the music capital of the UK; in fact, it is something which I’ve argued for in these very pages on more than one occasion. And to compliment all the success of the Arctic Monkeys, The Human League and Def Leppard, or the critical acclaim of Cabaret Voltaire and the Comsat Angels, there have been countless bands who are no longer around, but who have contributed in their own way to making the Sheffield music scene one of the country’s most vibrant and varied. They may no longer be making the tunes, but these are some of the acts who floated my musical boat back in the day.
Image: timm cleasby
Image: Chris Saunders
wet nuns 26 | www.exposedmagazine.co.uk
If ever there was a band who came along just a little too late, this was the one for me. Proof, if it were needed, that popular acclaim doesn’t pay the bills. After five years of making some of Sheffield’s most original music, they went their separate ways in 2014. Vocally and musically, they had no equal. Gina Walters and Nick Cox led the band upfront on vocals, but everyone contributed equally to their infectious music. They were so popular in Japan a promoter even paid them to fly over and play some gigs, but the music scene was changing. Their album launch at the Harley will forever be one of the best nights I’ve had in the Steel City, but making a living from music was becoming almost impossible. They had no major record label behind them, so a band that many agreed had the potential to be a major success, played one last triumphal gig at the Queen’s Road Social Club in December 2014, and then went their separate ways.
They were a live band I kept hearing about, but seemed to keep missing, so when I finally got around to seeing them the anticipation was immense. I needn’t have worried. They blew the roof off the O2. Armed only with guitar and drums, the two-piece played heavy, loud rock, inspired by a sort Mississippi delta blues-meets-Death Rock vibe. They finally released an album in 2013, but by then had agreed to call it a day. What went wrong led to much speculation at the time, and the subsequent death of drummer Alexis Gotts, who tragically took his own life, only makes it harder to listen to their music now.
The Lovers were a French duo, Fred de Fred and Marion Benoist, so plainly in love with each other it was both beautiful, and at times, almost intrusive to see them perform. They were totally at odds with any other local band, but somehow fitted in perfectly to the diverse music coming out of Sheffield in the late 90s as we went into the noughties. Their musical collaboration started with working at FON studios, writing with Jarvis Cocker, and for a time being part of the I Monster touring band. Their own live shows and music can best be described as a sort of burlesque/electronica concoction, and they were always as entertaining visually as they were musically. They left the Sheffield scene, moved back to France, and as far as I know, have not performed as The Lovers since. www.exposedmagazine.co.uk | 27
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Back In’t Day
music Monkey Swallows The Universe
Around the time of the ‘Yorkshire New Wave’, when the Arctic Monkeys were the talk of this and every other town, several bands seemed set to surf along in their wake. My favourite by far was The Harrisons. The gig they played at the Leadmill in support of the release of their only album was incredible, but proved to be their last. The cheeky brand of Hillsborough pop that they made will forever be summed up for me with the video for their single ‘Blue Note’. It’s a shot-for-shot remake of the famous football scene in Kes, complete with singer Jubby in goal as Billy Casper. Cheeky and irreverent fun, just like every Harrisons gig I ever went to.
Image: andy earl
Monkey Swallows the Universe
Image: Chris Saunders
The redoubtable Nat Johnson has been around the Sheffield music scene for a good few years, solo at times, collaborating with other musicians at others, but her earliest music success came with the group she formed with Kevin Gori, after they met at Sheffield Uni. Somewhat randomly, they took their name from an episode of the cult Japanese TV show Monkey, and soon began to have local then national success. After two albums though, it was over, and Nat wanted to move on. She remained involved in the local music scene, formed another band, The Figureheads, was involved with the Women of Steel project and even led a rediscovery of the delightful music of Conny Converse at a recent Sensoria event.
Image: Chris Saunders
Slow Club ended their career on a high, by headlining the Leadmill after playing Glastonbury; but for me the band I miss is the one I saw in their early days when they were just a simple duo, consisting of Rebecca Taylor and Charlie Watson. I never once set out specifically to see them, but for a while they were the ‘go-to’ support act for larger touring bands. I’d be at the Harley or the Leadmill to see some more famous band, and Slow Club would come on to support them. They never failed to entertain, and more than anything, this seemed to stem from them clearly having so much fun on stage. Their show would often end with Rebecca playing impromptu percussion on the legs of a stool or some such craziness. There’s a marvellous, bittersweet documentary, Our Most Brilliant Friends, filmed on what they knew was their final tour. If you want an insight into how and why talented bands split up, this is for you. The onstage magic is captured brilliantly, but you get the idea that, by that point, performing on stage was the only time they spent together on the whole tour.
So there we are. Gone but not forgotten. Live music is on a tragic hiatus at the moment, and there will sadly be an increasing number of musicians forced to stop performing, but let’s look back a salute those who enriched our lives for a while at least. It will be back in our much-loved venues soon, and I’ll hopefully see you down at the front! www.exposedmagazine.co.uk | 29
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The Old New Fellas Return! Words: tamsin crowther Exposed catches up with The Cribs drummer Ross Jarman to discuss their 8th studio album Night Network, music industry vampires, and Northern pride. It’s been a tough few years for Wakefield trio, The Cribs. After the success of their 4th consecutive Top 10 album, 24-7 Rock Star Shit (2017), the band split from their long term management and found themselves in a lengthy legal battle over the rights to their earlier music which, unbeknownst to them, was owned by various third parties. The brothers’ misfortune led to an enforced break, the longest in their 17-year history, and the stress of the situation made them seriously consider their future as a band. “It really ground us down,” Ross reflects. “We felt demoralised. So we started to think, you know, maybe now is the time to take a break.” But a well-timed olive branch from rock star legend Dave Grohl, who offered the Jarmans use of his LA recording studio, got the band exciting about making music again. Two weeks later, as if rising from the ashes, Night Network was born. 32 | www.exposedmagazine.co.uk
Hi Ross! I’d like to start by saying how much I loved the new album. It’s great to have you guys back. What happened? When we released the last record – 24-7 Rock Start Shit – our management at the time weren’t really supportive of us doing what we wanted to do. They wanted us to have commercial aspiration. But we felt like if we wanted to release a record that was just Ryan playing noisy guitar, then we should be able to. It really caused friction, especially the way we did it. We recorded the album in five days and only announced it two weeks before it came out, but luckily it was successful and went to Top 10. We’d heard horror stories of bands getting ripped off by managers and other vampires in the industry, but we always thought we were quite clued up. When we started to think about leaving and began looking under the bonnet at everything that had been going on for the past few years, we realised that the contracts weren’t honoured from the record label or management. (A lengthy legal battle ensued, with the band eventually reclaiming the rights to their back catalogue.) It really ground us down, we felt demoralised. So we started to think, you know, maybe now is the time to take a break. But then we got
offered to do Etihad Stadium in Manchester with the Foo Fighters. We had done festivals and tours, but one thing we hadn’t done was a stadium show. It was the last gig on their calendar and we thought, maybe this is where we leave things. But then after the show, we were hanging out with the band – having a drink and drowning our sorrows – and that’s when Dave made us the offer: he said we could use their LA studio to get back to what mattered, making music. We knew an opportunity like that doesn’t come around often. I mean, when one of the biggest bands in the world offers you their home playground, you don’t turn it down. We were given a couple of weeks there which gave us a target, and we ended up making an album. Given the circumstances, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the album. How did such a stressful experience colour your approach when it came to writing? We were conscious of the fact that we didn’t want the record to come out negative. That could have been an easy thing to do, writing about that experience. But we were feeling positive at the time. We felt empowered about getting our rights back and starting afresh; and being in the Foo Fighters’ studio and having them around really brought positivity towards the recording of the album. Gary wrote a great song for the opening track, ‘Goodbye’, and that was our letting go. When we made the rest of the record there was a real sense of positivity and rebirth. It’s our first self-produced album.
The Cribs @ Tramlines 2014 // image: Jamie Boynton
With explosive singles like ‘Running Into You’, Night Network has an energy and excitement to it reflective of the band’s newly renewed positivity. My favourite track is ‘Screaming In Suburbia’ as it has a nostalgic, early Cribs feel. Incidentally, The Cribs were my first proper gig. Armed with fake ID and a hip flask sewn into the inside of my jacket, I saw them on the Men’s Needs album tour at The Kasbah in Coventry in 2008. That’s one of my favourite songs on the album, too. Funnily enough, it was written around the same time of the Men’s Needs album, so that nostalgia you feel is probably because it harks back to those earlier times! It was an old idea and guitar riff that Ryan rediscovered when archiving some stuff. Maybe we did have a sense of nostalgia when writing this album after spending so long focusing on the back catalogue and regaining our rights. ‘Running Into You’ is an absolute banger of a single, and I love the video. The video mocks the bands comeback in a comically self-depreciating fashion. You’ve always taken the piss a bit with your music, whether out of ‘the scene’ or the industry, or out of yourselves. Is maintaining an anti-rock star image important to you as a band? Ross takes a pause here. I can tell I haven’t got this one quite right, but he soon corrects me. We have often found ourselves amongst bands who just take things way too seriously. When we did Leeds Arena we showed up in a van, whereas most bands want to turn up on a bus looking like www.exposedmagazine.co.uk | 33
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rock stars. Maybe it’s because we’re from the North, but we aren’t excessive people. As long as we have the essentials we need, we aren’t gonna kick off because there’s blue M&Ns on the rider. I mean, we used to work in a factory manufacturing toilet roll. (There’s an advert in the ‘Running Into You’ video for Sharman toilet roll – a nod to this early period, perhaps). It’s not that it’s important to us, we aren’t trying to keep up an image. It’s just who we are. There’s a video for each of the three singles you’ve released, and they have a retro, nostalgic feel. I was interested in the video for ‘I Don’t Know Who I Am’ because it has a more sombre tone than the others. What’s that about? Usually when you release a record, you take it to radio and they always pick the 3-minute pop song to plug. They picked ‘Running Into You’ and ‘Never Thought I’d Feel Again’. But you can often feel misrepresented through that process. We wanted to put something out there with a bit more depth, so we picked ‘I Don’t Know Who I Am’. Its not a single, but it was our choice. As for the video, it was the director [Nick Scott] who came up with the idea. It’s based on an old movie called The Running Man (1963). Films from that era have always interested us. Around our third album, we were into a movie called
This Sporting Life (1963) which was based in Wakefield. We liked the black and white artwork to that. The video was a nod to that kind of look. But as a whole, the theme of the record is the ‘night network’, late night TV from when we were younger which would start during the early hours. It evoked a certain feeling for us that we tried to capture in the album. Your brothers have recently celebrated their 40th birthdays. Do you think your music has matured as you have, and is this something you think about when writing a new album? Or are you “still the same kids” at heart, as you write in ‘Screaming in Suburbia’? I think we have matured. If you listen to the early albums, they are so fast and erratic, and that’s fun, but I feel like we have definitely matured. We try not to think about it, we just get together and write and I think our excitement comes across in the music. I feel like our fans have matured with us too, though. I’m always interested in sibling bands, probably because I have three sisters myself. By today’s standards, The Cribs have had a
long career. Do you think the fact that you are a band of brothers has played a part in your longevity? Yeah I do, it was easy for us in a way. Things are pretty intuitive between us; we have a good idea of what the others are gonna do. We are happy to throw curve balls and see what catches, and we can be honest with each other, too. When you’re in a band with your mates, people might be more likely to get offended. But if we think something’s shit, we’ll say it, and then you just get over it. We genuinely get on really well - it’s certainly no Gallagher situation. With Gary in Portland, Oregon, Ryan in Queens, New York, and Ross residing in their hometown of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, you are no strangers to being apart – but not for this long. How they’ve dealt with the pandemic and not being able to see each other. Not only has it been difficult as a band because we can’t play music together, but as brothers, me, Gary and Ryan have never spent this long apart. We have kept busy, though. We’ve been making music videos and working on the artwork for the album. www.exposedmagazine.co.uk | 35
cover story At first, we weren’t sure whether we should release the music during or after the pandemic, but we decided to go ahead because we thought, why deny people of music at this time, with everything that is already going on? People need music now more than ever. From a selfish point of view, we could have waited. Our bread and butter as artists comes from touring and festivals. But we knew this was the right thing to do. It’s been so long now since we’ve played a live show, we are just really looking forward to getting back at it. What’s it like living in Wakefield? Were you ever tempted to join your brothers in the states? I was a little bit tempted. Even when Ryan moved to London, I was tempted then. But there is something comfortable about coming home. I have friends here who I’ve known for a long time, and when I’ve been on tour, I always like coming back
Wakefield has always been our base. when I’ve been on tour, I always like coming back somewhere quieter. It’s kind of weird because we have a plaque in the middle of the town centre. But it’s nice to have the recognition, even though we aren’t looking for attention.
somewhere quieter. Wakefield has always been our base. It’s kind of weird because we have a plaque in the middle of the town centre. But it’s nice to have the recognition, even though we aren’t looking for attention. During lockdown, I’ve appreciated more about living here. Having all these nature walks nearby, I’ve noticed summer and autumn, and I’ve never really noticed the seasons before. With Ryan stuck in a flat in New York, I’ve really appreciated it. What bands have you been listening to recently, and where are you taking inspiration from. My lockdown record was probably The Strokes’ ‘The New Abnormal’. I also liked Death Cab For Cutie’s ‘Thank You For Today’ record. But you know, we’re real suckers for just listening to our old influences from when we were
teenagers. That stuff always holds a place, you always end up looping back as it brings back certain feelings from certain times. It’s nice to think that there are people that feel that way about our band, now. The Cribs’ 8th Studio Album, Night Network, is due to be released on CD, LP, cassette, and digital download via Sonic Blew/[PIAS] on Friday November 20th 2020.
Keeping the Faith From gaining number one album success, through to battling her way to becoming a mother, Paloma Faith’s remarkable career continues in setting her sights on a return to the charts with her ambitious new album, writes Neill Barston.
Amid a global pandemic, this year has been one to forget for many, but as Paloma Faith reveals, she feels notably blessed by news of her second child’s imminent arrival. After a hugely testing trial of repeated rounds of IVF treatment, the Brit Award winning singer announced the latest addition to her family happily coincides with her latest musical baby in the form of her fifth studio album. Since her last release, The Architect, achieved number one status, Paloma has seen herself nominated for a clutch of industry accolades, as well as exploring new territory as an actor in the Batman prequel spin-off, Pennyworth. So, as the coronavirus crisis grimly took hold around the world, the enforced downtime offered her a rare chance to take stock after an intense period of work. As she admits, inhabiting her line of work can often make you ‘whimsical in going with the flow,’ yet reveals that having a toddler to take care of has, by necessity, required greater time management. “It’s ‘made me go for the jugular more,” she notes in having to be far more focused. Consequently, being ever creatively restless, material soon flowed while at home completing her latest album, led by powerful lead single ‘Better Than This’, a reflection on the fractured state of the world and hopes for the next generation. It stands proudly paving the way for what is a bold, uncompromising record brimming full of confidence and self-assurance, taking on everything from her trademark soulful pop, through to sweeping orchestral ballads that stem from an artist who is at the top of her creative game. “We live in a very volatile world that now seems as if we only get one chance, so I have been lucky that I’ve been able to put releases out there and put myself on the map,” she says of her latest recording. However, it’s been a far from straightforward journey for the halfSpanish East-London born singer, who holds a degree in contemporary dance, and an MA in theatre directing that saw her initially consider other artistic directions. But after early stints in cabaret, bartending and modelling, she gravitated to singing, and has been doing things her own way ever since. There have been pressures along the route, including offering a ‘showbiz age’ several years younger than her actual years for fear of not being given a recording contract, yet she remains very much true to herself. Despite such moments, her debut album provided plenty of vindication in reaching the top 10 in 2009, setting the tone for a career to date packed with notable milestones. There have been plenty of highlights beyond the icing on the cake of multi-platinum sales, including her friendship with the late Amy Winehouse, to whom she has been widely compared, who she penned a tribute to on her last album. To her credit, she has stood firm on other key issues, notably on one of her biggest hits to date, Only Love Can Hurt Like this, which featured a video with an interracial love scene. When US executives asked her to re-shoot it on grounds it ‘wouldn’t sell’, she refused, and never spoke to them again, even if it might cost her a stateside breakthrough. She says she’d rather have success very much on her own terms. As she concedes, her latest recordings, which were self-produced in her basement, allowed her the chance to push herself artistically more than ever before. “Well, I think being at home meant I was completely uninhibited with wild abandon, in a way that I am not when sound engineers are looking at me. I wasn’t afraid to make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes land in places that are wonderful, and I wouldn’t make them if someone else was there. So, I feel like there’s more intimacy in this record, and that there’s more truth in the way that I am singing,” she explains, noting that the album is very much focused on motherhood and the pressures, hopes and expectations that it brings. “It is so great being a mum and I feel very lucky, as the lockdown meant that we’ve spent a lot of time together as a family, which has been a positive. Usually, it had just been one or the other of us looking after our daughter, who has now started really learning about family,” she adds of her now three-year-old.
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“I feel like there’s more intimacy in this record, and that there’s more truthin the way that I am singing.” The record’s title track, Infinite Things, is about her youngster, and was inspired from previously reading Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borge’s short story, The Aleph, in which its central character experiences the full spectrum of human emotion, from pain to joy, within a single moment. “With the title track, it’s about seeing things through my daughter’s eyes and is about becoming a parent, and how that it is all about continuing humanity. You experience the worst heartache with it. The album is also a commentary on society as well in respect of issues raised by living in the pandemic, and also knowing people who have lost loved ones.” “It’s also about enduring love, as we’re most used to hearing about the initial parts of a relationship on that first spark, so it’s an area that that’s under-represented. I think there’s a big cultural hole there that I’m aiming to address,” notes Paloma, who isn’t afraid to tackle some difficult subject areas that many would shun. This is most notable on one of the early tracks on the album, Monster, which is a reflection on the darker side of the music business. There’s certainly a bittersweet edge to one of the album’s standout tracks, the spinetingling ballad ‘If Loving You Were Easy’, which would not seem out of place on a James Bond soundtrack – “I was born to do Bond” she asserts, yet is also acutely aware that the more she mentions it, the less likely it will happen. But in spite of whatever occurs, it seems there’s a strong level of support out there for her. As she explains, she and her other half Leyman Lahcine, a French artist, have endured a lot in recent years, including handling a total of six rounds of fertility treatment. While they may have challenges ahead, including Paloma revealing she’s prone to postnatal depression, they’ve demonstrated a strong degree of resilience. “I’d pretty much resigned myself to giving up with this latest treatment, and I thought that this just wasn’t going to happen. It felt like it was the last chance saloon and I was thinking to myself, where am I am going with this?” With IVF, I think it’s sad that men don’t really talk about it in public, and it’s one of those things where society always assumes that it is a female issue. “It’s something that can be hard on relationships,” she admits, keen to put across the fact that they’ve split their childcare as evenly as possible. As if that wasn’t enough to contend with, she’s greatly enjoyed the opportunity to explore acting roles – notably in the Batman series, Pennyworth, which she describes as an amazing experience that she would love the chance to repeat. Clearly, planning for the future is a little hard contending with a pandemic, but the much-travelled singer is anticipating heading out on the road again for another UK tour next autumn. It’s a prospect she is eagerly awaiting, with performing remaining her grand passion, especially with the added bonus of designing her own sets. Somehow, beyond being a recording artist, mum and actress, she’s still found time to devote to other personal interests, including being an ambassador for Oxfam and Greenpeace, which of great significance to her. “Being an ambassador is fantastic, as I feel like when you’re in my industry, it’s easy to lose sight of the reality about the world. The truth is, there are a lot more pressing things going on out there than singing a pop song, so if I can use my platform for the greater good then I absolutely should and intend to. “I also find it something I get a lot of enjoyment out of and not for superficial reasons that I’ve pursued this career,” she remarks, looking forward amid an uncertain world with a true sense of optimism.
Infinite Things is out 13th November and the album tour comes to Sheffield City Hall 28th September 2021
Stepping Up A stalwart of the Sheffield music scene and founding member of Reverend & The Makers, Ed Cosens is embarking on his own solo journey. These may be uncertain times for the music industry and for the future of live entertainment as we know it, but that’s not stopping Ed Cosens, guitarist/bassist of chart-topping Sheffield band Reverend and the Makers, from releasing his debut solo album next year. “You haven’t taken Rishi Sunak’s advice and decided to retrain as an accountant, then?” I joke as we begin our Zoom call. “No,” he replies. “But I did do the online test thing and the top one that came up for me was a circus performer! I mean, I’m sure it’d be a lot of fun, but I don’t know if it’s exactly a lucrative industry.” Who knows what the future holds – but for now, I’m glad to report Ed is sticking with music, especially as he gears up to the release of his first solo album, Fortunes Favour, out early 2021. “It’s been a long time in the making,” he tells me. “The idea of a solo project has been in the back of my mind for a good 10 years, but I had to find the right confidence and belief in myself first. With Reverend, I was always heavily involved with the writing side of things musically, but Jon [McClure] took the lead lyrically. But over the last 2-3 years, things have really come together for me. I feel I have the confidence now to be able to stand up next to people like Jon and Alex Turner lyrically.” The first single, ‘If ’, showcases Cosens’ writing talents and sets the tone for the rest of the album. It is described as being concerned with ‘the conflict between what you think you want, where you unwittingly lead yourself, and ultimately, where you should really be’, told in three mesmerising minutes of tremolo-rich, stringssoaked melody. In his own words, Cosens says: “It’s something a lot of people experience as they grow up – falling in and out of love. The song is about being with someone and being happy, but then you start acting up for whatever reason, and things fall apart. Maybe things work out in the end, maybe they don’t. Luckily for me, things worked out.” Ed describes the song, and wider album, as a reflection on the journey of growing up, one he hopes will be relatable to a lot of people. “A lot of the songs on the album are of a similar nature, they are about growing up, making mistakes, learning from experiences, whether its love or work or friendship. Then
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along that journey, it’s about finding inner confidence and belief in yourself ” – a journey clearly reflective of his own personal development as a musician. “It’s a personal album,” he confirms, “and ‘If ’ is probably the most personal song. It’s the one I’ve had for the longest and the one that helped me decide the tone and direction for the album. It was a long time in the making, but things sort of came together nicely after that song.” ‘If ’ is one of four singles to be released in the lead up to the album, each of them alongside a video that will be put together to make a 15 minute short film to tie in with the album’s launch. “It was fun to play with the visual narrative for that alongside the music”. Cosens’ acknowledgement of his creative licence comes with a side of humble self-awareness, as he notes that this is a difficult time for many in the industry. “For artists like me, it’s easier to adapt. There’s still an outlet, still opportunities to create and put things out there, but that’s not the case for most. The people behind the scenes who make things happen, they need our support.” I asked him if he had any reservations about putting out the album in such precarious times. “Sure, it worries me that I might not be able to put on gigs, but you get to the point where you realise – this isn’t going away. Things might not get back to normal, whatever normal is. You have to adapt, you have to put things out there. There’s likely to be no gigs for a while, but we have to push through.” Finally, I ask Ed about his wider influences for the album, and whether it would resemble the sound he created with his band. “There are hints of the sound that I have made for my record in the songs I contributed a lot more to in the last two Reverend and the Makers albums. I think that gives an idea of where I’ve gone with it. I’m influenced by other Sheffield artists like Richard Hawley, and then musicians like Dan Auerbach – I was listening to his solo record at the time I was writing. It’s not easy to describe your own music, but the album definitely has a singer-songwriter feel; it’s very real, very personal.” Ed Cosens’ first single, ‘If ’, is out now and available on all major music platforms.
â€œOver the last two to three years, things have really come together for me. I feel I have the confidence now to be able to stand up next to people like Jon [McClure] and Alex Turner lyrically.â€?
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Sheffield born-and-raised musician Conor Houston is bringing out a new single, ‘Outside the Grocery Store’, this month. Written in the aftermath of the tragic death of George Floyd whilst under police arrest in the USA last May, the song focuses on the convicted police officer and interrogates its subject through mesmeric, synth-pop beats and dark vocals. Unusual effects were applied to the vocals for two reasons, Conor explains: “I wanted to take as much of my own ego out of the singing as possible, whilst retaining the emotional impact. I also wanted to create a disconcerting sound that wouldn’t have been achieved if the vocals sounded more ‘human’”. We spoke to Conor about his new single, lockdown, and the artist’s role in commenting on issues of social injustice. Tell us a about your new single? Like a lot of people, I was impacted by the death of George Floyd. At the time it happened, I was in a place where I was really wanting to write, but nothing else felt relevant. I’m not an expert on issues of race, so I wanted to create something that was more subtle and nuanced. It was almost like I needed to write the
song in order to move on from the event in my own head, it was all-consuming Aside from its cathartic purposes, what are you hoping to achieve through this song? I don’t like protest music. I’m not a Bob Dylan fan, and I don’t like people telling me what to think. I also think that artists can be reluctant to go into political subjects because your stances often change and morph over time. So rather than a protest song, I wanted to write a song that was more reflective and emotion led. I hope the measured approach to the topic and lyrics can elicit something similar in listeners. What role do you think artists have in commenting on political issues? I think you can be as engaged as you chose to be as an artist. Some people’s philosophy is that art is escapism, they don’t want it to comment on current affairs. Others chose to be very political with their work. For me, I don’t want to try to tell people what to think. I don’t believe artists know any better than anyone else. All you have to offer is your personal take on things, your own reflections on ideas and events. How has the pandemic impacted your work? I’m currently working towards a degree in music production and luckily, my first year
finished just before lockdown in March. I work as a session musician and I was meant to be spending the summer touring. We had festivals and American and European dates lined up, but all that got cancelled unfortunately. I did a lot of walking, and I watched a lot of TV and films which is unusual for me. I am getting stuck back into my degree now though as I have just started second year. What have you got planned for the future? I have more singles and videos recorded, so I’ll be releasing those. They cover a bunch of different styles and topics that aren’t quite as deep as Outside the Grocery Store. I’ll also probably do a bit of online performing; I did some of that at the beginning of lockdown. I’m hoping to get some more performance dates in for The Sheffield Beatles Project when we can. We are a band of around 30 professional and semi-professional musicians who get together to perform The Beatles’ albums, it’s a lot of fun. You can check us out on Facebook for dates. Conor Houston’s single, Outside the Grocery Store, will be available on all major streaming platforms from November 20th. You can check out The Sheffield Beatles Project on Facebook at facebook.com/thesheffieldbeatlesproject. www.exposedmagazine.co.uk | 43
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Bill Stephenson. Hyde Park Flats, 1988
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For many people in Sheffield the last decades of the 20th century were a time of great upheaval and hardship; the aftermath of the Miners’ Strike was still being felt, the steel industry’s workforce had been decimated, and mass unemployment and dereliction were widespread. But it was also a time in which the city began to imagine its future, one that would include the Meadowhall retail development, the transformation of the lower Don Valley, and the state-of-the-art facilities created to host the World Student Games. Recognising the significance of the time, Sheffield’s Untitled Gallery, now Site Gallery, engaged a series of emerging local and nationally-based photographers for The Sheffield Project, an ambitious visual survey which sought to document the changes happening across the city. The Sheffield Project: Photographs of a Changing City, a new exhibition at Weston Park Museum, features work from the remarkable original collection by Mike Black, Matthew Conduit, Berris Conolly, John Darwell, John Davies, Anna Fox, Graham Gaunt, John Kippin, Kate Mellor, Ken Phillip, Tim Smith, Bill Stephenson, Ian Stewart, Patrick Sutherland and Adrian Wynn. The compelling photographs these artists and photographers created captured the often complex nature of change. Subjects showed span the steelworks’ furnaces firing for the final time, abandoned buildings soon to be demolished, and depictions of the changes to ways of life that the regeneration bought for the communities on its doorstep. The photographs also reflect the hope in this new vision for the future and the energy of the World Student Games and legacy it sought to leave behind. A new publication, ‘Regeneration – The Sheffield Project 1981-1991’ will be published by Untitled Print Studio to coincide with the exhibition, which features work of all photographers and artists involved, together with insightful statements about their images and experiences of working in the city at that time. Alison Morton, head of exhibitions at Museums Sheffield said: “The images created as part of The Sheffield Project offer a fascinating insight into what is in many ways the birth of the city we know now. The last six months have highlighted how quickly we begin to adjust to change in our lives, but when you look at these photographs it’s not hard to imagine how radical the change they depict must have felt to those most affected by it. It really beings a new perspective to how we think about the city we live in today.” The Sheffield Project: Photographs of a Changing City opens on Friday 23 October 2020 and continues until 3 May 2021 – entry to the exhibition is free, but pre-booked visits to the museum are advised to avoid disappointment. 46 | www.exposedmagazine.co.uk
Berris Conolly, Castle Square, 1989
Tim Smith, 1985
d. Buffer, 1985
Ken Phillip, George Turtons on last night of production -1984
John Darwell, Peter outside his shop, Attercliffe Rd, 1988
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operation crucible Eighty years ago, on the 12th December 1940, Sheffield was subjected to a bombing raid which aimed to wipe its world renowned steel works off the map. A single bomb reduced the Marples Hotel, which stood in Fitzalan Square, from seven stories to just 15 feet of rubble. Only one of the ten compartments in the hotel’s cellar withstood the blast. Trapped within it were four steelworkers. This is their story. We spoke to playwright Kieran Knowles to find out more... Hi Kieran. First of all, how has life been as a playwright and actor in 2020? Professionally, it’s been pretty bleak if I’m honest. I’m incredibly lucky though, I have spent the last ten years insulating myself against the everyday risk of working in an industry that can be unpredictable at the best of times, so I have managed to carry on with a job I do outside of theatre albeit working from home. But it has been a godsend; I know there are people who had everything turned off overnight, and the loss of projects you were excited about combined with the financial uncertainty – all of this has caused has just been an incomparable disaster. From a creative perspective, did the break in live shows help in terms of your writing, or was it difficult to remain productive during such a testing time for the industry? I had a few things I was working on when the lockdown was announced, and I managed to finish them off in the summer, but I had a real sense of “when and how is this ever going to get on?” I also have two kids, so the time I thought I had to work on stuff, I did not have time to work on stuff. But my head is finally clearing a little, and I’m starting to mess around with bits again. I don’t think lockdown propelled me to be creative, I think the opposite, in fact: it made it much harder to think creatively. It’s great to see theatre return to the Crucible stage with Operation Crucible, which had such a fantastic reception here last time around. For those who might’ve missed it a couple of years ago, could you briefly fill them in on the story? 48 | www.exposedmagazine.co.uk
Operation Crucible is a story of four steelworkers who get caught up in the Sheffield Blitz. They don’t mean to be heroes but they end up at the centre of a major event. They take shelter from the air raid in the Marples Hotel only for the building to take a direct hit. The play is really about friendship in the darkest of times and community spirit and coming out of something stronger than when you went in. What made you want to make a play set during the Sheffield Blitz? It was an accident really. I wrote the play after developing the idea with three other actors who I trained with at LAMDA. We wanted to tell a story of when being working class was a badge of honour, and doing what your Dad did was seen as passing on the mantle, not failing. 1940s Sheffield was booming, the steel they made was world-renowned and because of the war effort the factories were producing as much as they ever had. As two of the actors were from Sheffield, that seemed like the perfect setting. Do you think there’s a message in the play’s themes of hardship, sacrifice and unity that could be relevant to the problems we’re facing today? We’ve done the play for seven years now, we opened in 2013, and every time we’ve done it, there has been a way to tie it to current events, which is a little depressing. In 2013, a helicopter had just hit a nightclub in Glasgow and the building came down; in 2016, when we last came to Sheffield, we were six years into austerity measures and remembering working class roots seemed vital. In 2018, we took the show to New York and obviously that city can tie the events to living memories. This year, it sort of seems more pertinent than ever. Not only is it the 80th anniversary of the actual events, it is also tied to, arguably, the biggest national crisis we have faced since. There is definitely something in reminding ourselves that we can get through this, and we can do that by sticking together.
How important are the character’s roles as local steelworkers to the story? It’s fundamental. They are old school characters; they shouldn’t really be on stage. They are four versions of my Grandad – almost monosyllabic, but profoundly loyal, and fiercely proud. Their profession is their life. They live on the same streets, drink at the same pubs, they work in the same factory, on the same floor. They are as intertwined as it is possible to be, and that weaves itself into the narrative. They are as dependent on each other as we are on the other actor to say the right line at the right time so that we can stich four non-traditional characters into one coherent narrative. Finally, can you sum up what it means to you and the rest of the cast to be bringing this story back to life in front of a live audience? I don’t really know whether I can. This play means so much to everyone involved. We all found theatre independently, but I think for the last seven years this piece has been a definition of the sort of theatre we want to create. The ultimate aim for this piece was always to tell it in the Crucible and to get that opportunity is in a way unbelievable. Some of the team are from Sheffield and some of us have memories with this venue that predate the play which also makes it special and so there’s a lot of emotional history just with the play, just with our journey to get here. But when you tie in what’s happened this year, to think we’re on the brink of losing theatre as an art form, losing the people that make it and the places it can be shared. Placing that context makes it an even more emotional and important thing. And we’re so lucky! Our producer told me we’ll be one of about 30 shows in the country when we’re on. There are 11,000 performing arts spaces, so it gives you a flavour of the importance and the jeopardy in one hit. Its also the 80th anniversary and a story that Sheffield needs to hear right now. And theatres need to be open so that people can laugh and cry and so they can remember what it was to be normal, just a chink of normality, of hope and light in a very dark year. So – no, I don’t think I can sum it up or coherently and eloquently express it, but – it means a lot, a massive amount, it means everything. Operation Crucible runs at Crucible Theatre 17th-28th November. Tickets and more info available at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk www.exposedmagazine.co.uk | 49
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As we head into Tier 3, social calendars are beginning to free up at an alarming rate. However, don’t fret, as nights in provide the opportunity to revisit some of the best films ever committed to celluloid. Every last one of these classics turn the big 6-0 this year and you can ease the lockdown blues by paying homage this month…
Alfred Hitchcock’s classic chiller remains one of the most powerful
Film edited by Cal Reid
and frightening films of all time. Its impact upon horror cinema is insurmountable and responsible for inspiring many of the greatest horror films in the following decades through to the present day. The sequel, currently up on Netflix, is also worth a look!
The Time Machine
The first film I ever saw, George Pal’s adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic is one of the greatest science fiction films of all time. Produced in fabulous technicolor, Rod Taylor takes us on a
journey in his special steam punk device, far off into the future. The film won an Oscar for Best Special Effects, featuring a famous timelapse sequence that shows the world changing right in front of Taylor’s eyes.
The Magnificent Seven
Nothing like a good Western to keep spirits up. Featuring a killer theme tune, and a great cast including Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen, the remake of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is one of the
best Westerns of its kind and helped launch the careers of many actors who played the eponymous group.
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
British social realism at its finest. Albert Finney stars as Arthur Seaton, a Nottingham lad who works his fingers to the bone as a machinist during the week, but when payday comes, he gets on a suit and chugs pint after pint whilst carrying on an affair with his co-worker’s wife, and dating a young Shirley Anne Field.
Ben Wheatley brings a modern adaptation of the du Maurier gothic classic to Netflix. Starring Armie Hammer and Lily James in the roles made famous on the screen by Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. Critical reaction has been divided but it promises interesting viewing.
A South Korean zombie movie that is similar in premise and style to the French film The Night Eats the World, although much more entertaining than the latter. Waking up one day, a tech enthusiast is shocked to discover the world outside his high-rise apartment is crumbling due to a sudden outbreak of the undead.
The Haunting of Bly Manor
A follow-up to the successful, if not uneven, The Haunting of Hill House. This time the series is taking its inspiration from the Henry James novel The Turning of the Screw, previously filmed as The Innocents.
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BUY ART FROM SHEFFIELD ARTISTS
Image: Mark Newton
5 things you only know if you’re...
Abbeydale Brewery Brewer Scott Murray Being a brewer means being a team player. For a brewery our size, you have to rely on multiple people to get the product made, out of the door, and into the pub. And every single one of us is important to the end product – from whoever is washing casks that day (we share!), to the people who create the wort, guide the beer through fermentation, and sell, market and deliver the beer. Oh – and quality control too of course! You have to be a good multitasker. It’s a job that requires you to be such a jack of all trades – cleaner, plumber, welder, beer teacher and advocate, bar staff, and occasionally a brewer of course! No two days are ever the same, and doing this job never gets old. Pretty much all beers will have
been made before, so it’s a real challenge to come up with an original idea. I’ve put in bacon, pastries, and biscuits over the years (to varying degrees of success!). Who knows what could be next?! A key passion of mine is working alongside other local independent businesses; you can learn so much about flavour from working across industries and with those who are absolute experts in what they do. I’ve made beers with coffee from Frazer’s and Cafeology, both Sheffield based, as well as tea from the amazing Birdhouse Tea Co. (The bacon was local too, from Whirlow Hall Farm Trust!). Long-standing recipes rarely stay exactly the same. Beers like Moonshine have all changed slightly as the raw ingredients change. Beer is a natural product – hops are affected by the climate
they’re grown in, and the weather can have a massive effect on the quality of your malt, so it’s important to adapt and keeping a beer consistent can mean actually needing to change what goes in it! Brewers drink crap beer too! Obviously I love trying new and exciting things (I’m a big stout fan) and keep my finger on the pulse of what’s going on across the industry, but sometimes nothing beats kicking back with a supermarket lager stubby! abbeydalebrewery.co.uk Have some interesting tales from your trade or know someone who does? Drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll feature them in an upcoming issue.
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Jim McElvaney: The People Watching Portrait Artist
Jim McElvaney is a Sheffield based portrait artist. His art focuses on ‘people watching’, portraits of people he has seen while waiting for or travelling on public transport. He attempts to capture the anonymity and familiarity of the strangers we see out and about, and highlight the oft-unnoticed depth of these strangers lives. His latest exhibition, ‘A Moment’s peace’ can be seen at Artcade Gallery.
What type of subject do you like to draw? Well I’m a portrait artist. When I’m waiting for a bus or whatever transport I’m using to get around Sheffield, I like to take photos of people who are waiting. I’m not necessarily trying to draw that specific person, but it acts as a starting point. A starting point to try and capture something that I see in them, a sadness for example. My latest exhibition, ‘A Moment’s peace’ it’s about exactly that. When you’re on public transport, you put a little bubble around yourself. You forget about your surroundings. You take a time-out. This exhibition is based on that. Looking at your art, you seem to be interested in people who are struggling somehow, who are going through something. I wouldn’t say I’m interested in struggle. I suppose I’m interested in people who
are in a reflective state, and what might be going on in their life, and what’s going on in their head. Why do you like to use unconventional materials in your art, such as wooden canvases? It all stems from me just trying to use what was to hand. I make a lot of art outside, on the streets. Things like drawings and murals. It’s easy to overthink things when you’re in the studio, whereas drawing outside has got to be quick. I like to try and capture those materials and the way that I work outside, and bring it inside the studio. I quite like finding old shopping lists, in trolleys and outside supermarkets. I like to make drawings on them. It just adds to the story and character of the piece. It makes it feel more familiar. With portrait art, that’s what people are looking for. A bit of familiarity or an emotion they can relate to. It’s the same with the materials. Materials have got their own history and background which adds to the portraits. You did a collaborative piece earlier this year with an artist called Enso. Is that common in the art world? Should it happen more often? I think it’s always good to collaborate with other artists. Like if you were collaborating on music, you’re both bringing something new to each other’s work. It is a common thing and it’s something I enjoy doing. You just need to find the right person. Sometime you just meet someone, and when you see their work, you know that it’s going to go together. It’s like this week, I’ve done a collaboration event down on Exchange Street. And of course,
when you come back after a collaborative piece, you look at your own work in a different way. I’m not talking about copying anyone’s work of course, but learning from the mentality they have when they create work. What do you want people to come away from your exhibition thinking and feeling? I suppose exactly what the exhibtion is named ‘A Moment’s peace’. I just want people to have a bit of a time-out, without looking at their phones, and just walk away feeling positive. Do you want people to be more attentive to strangers and the depth of their lives? People are so distracted by the phones these days, they’re not taking the time to look at the people around them. We live in a multicultural city with people from lots of different backgrounds, I think we should embrace it and take the time to notice.
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culture: artist spotlighT
FatRobot Illustration Hi Rob, can you begin by telling us a bit about how you first got into illustration? Following a foundation course in fine art at Barnsley College, I got a job at Nostalgia And Comics, a Sheffield comic shop, and whilst there I began freelancing for The Leadmill nightclub. I drew loads of posters for bands such as The Damned, Green Day, Bad Brains, and Monster Magnet (Green Day singer, Billie Joe Armstrong, really liked the poster I did for them!). Soon I was working regularly on Leadmill flyers, record sleeves, T-shirts, comics strips, badges…I was the illustrator for the Rise clubnight at The Leadmill, and they’d run full page adverts in music magazines, which led to me getting jobs from all over. I went on to work in video games and feature animation for a few years before going freelance. What were your early inspirations and have they developed since? Comics are my first love and, as a kid, I’d pore over the 1970s Marvel and DC books, old 1950s EC stuff like Vault Of Horror and Tales From The Crypt, and the UK anthologies Star Lord, Battle, and 2000AD. I still gravitate to comics and newspaper strips from 1930s-1970s. I’m really into classic illustrators from the golden age onward, especially the midcentury American magazine and book cover artists. I have a weakness for vintage memorabilia and merchandise- those toys you used to get in breakfast cereals, dodgy TV and film cash-ins, bubblegum cards, PEZ dispensers, action figures etc. How was FatRobot Illustration born? I started FatRobot Illustration after getting made redundant from my job. I’d had years of experience drawing, painting, an animating, and it felt like the right time to go for it. I work on storyboards for TV, film and commercials, corporate training comic strips, video games, and everything in between. More recently I’ve been pushing toward more illustration and design work in my own style, focussing on horror and sci-fi themes. I do a lot of work for burlesque artists and events, who’ve really welcomed me into their fold, and have a range of T-shirts, greeting cards and prints under the Astro Diablo banner. Are there any projects which you are particularly proud of? I was bowled over to have done storyboards for the Sky Atlantic mini-series, Little Birds. I got to work with Stacie Passon, an amazing film director who’d flown over from Los Angeles for the project. She’d previously made a great feature film, Concussion, and directed episodes of Marvel’s The Punisher, and American Gods. That was really cool to be involved with.
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I was also chuffed to design merch for the 2019 Fame reunion (the Fame TV series was enormous in the 80s), and I got to see some of my childhood heroes rehearsing for the show. One of the Fame performers, Jesse Borrego, wore my T-shirt on BBC’s The One Show! Music is another passion of yours, and you’re a member of Sheffield ‘mad zombie’ band Iron Sphincter. What does a band made of the undead sound like? Iron Sphincter are a staggering barrage of rock! We play skin-peeling versions of crowd pleasers by Boney-M, The Cramps, Johnny Mathis, Bob Marley, Johnny Cash and many more. Our Christmas carol services are really something to behold, with traditional Christmas standards and carols blasted at ear-splitting volume and bearing no resemblance whatsoever to the original singles. All this from a wayward group of four decaying zombies, one mad scientist, and a mutated clone with four arms (that’s me!). How do you find the arts community in Sheffield? The arts in Sheffield are thriving, there’s always loads going on from some incredible and diverse artists, musicians, cartoonists, photographers, designers, filmmakers et al. I’ve found everyone to be really supportive of each other. Also the city’s streets are alive with colour thanks to our local street artists. Are there any projects you are currently working on? I’ve been doing designs and promo artwork for a Ghost Train being built in the US, which is great fun. Otherwise it’s mostly smaller jobs that I’m trying to get through- a few burlesque T-shirt designs, a range of vintage motorcycle T-shirts, and backgrounds for a young adult graphic novel. instagram.com/fatrobotillustration // fatrobot. crevado.com
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