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The 10 best things about Sheffield

I bloody love Sheffield and so thought I’d share with you the 10 best things about the mighty Sheffield… (In my humble opinion)

 

1. We breed the very best folk

Jarvis Cocker, Arctic Monkeys, Jessica Ennis to name but a few.  Sheffield is home to a huge amount of amazing people, the great Sean Bean, Joe Cocker, Michael Palin also hail from our great city.

But it’s not just the famous folk, the people of Sheffield are the warmest, funniest, most generous in all the land.  After the farce of the Sheffield Half Marathon this year (officially cancelled minutes before the start) Sheffielders came through and did us all proud with local people handing out bottles and cups of water to the runners who ran anyway.

People of Sheffield are proud and no matter where they live in the world, Sheffield is always in their hearts…

jarvis cocker best sheffield folk

Totes braggy photo of me and Jarvis…

2. The Snooker makes us all fans and experts once a year

Once a year, everyone in Sheffield becomes a snooker fan! The World Snooker Championship held at Sheffield’s mighty Crucible Theatre is a sporting highlight that shines a light on our great city.

It matters not if you never look at another snooker table for the rest of the year, throughout the championships Sheffielders are experts on 147 breaks, snooker tactics and we all DEFINITELY once saw Ronnie O’Sullivan in town…

cue ball snooker sheffield

 

 

3. We have the best music scene

Sheffield has always had strong ties to live music, we have some great larger venues, but even better smaller ones that host such a range of music that fit to all tastes…  From Corporation to The Plug, Leadmill to the The Harley.

Music in Sheffield is exciting and I believe this is because we nurture young talent, a good Sheffield band take a place in your heart and are supported strongly.  And because Sheffield is the world’s biggest village (see number 10) everyone knows everyone in the music scene… This is a nice thing! Going out in town means bumping into the who’s who of Sheffield music and collaborations and musical appreciation are rife.

Go take a look at Exposed for a foray into Sheffield music awesomeness…

Some Sheffield musicians are Arctic MonkeysBring Me the HorizonPulpDef LeppardRichard HawleyLongpigsMilburnReverend and the Makers, The Long Blondes… to name but a few!

sheffield music

 

 

4. We have our own festival… Tramlines

Sheffield has it’s very own inner city Glastonbury, Tramlines festival is HUGE and takes over the whole city with venues all across Sheffield from the main stage through to bars, pubs, parks and pretty much every space going.  It’s one weekend a year where music lovers, families, hard core festival goers and festival virgins alike don a wristband and experience three days of music, arts and Sheffield love.

tramlines sheffield music festival

 

 

 

5. Hendersons is KING (and we are a bunch of foodies!)

Hendersons Relish… It’s a Sheffield staple.  We hold Hendersons to our heart and have a ridiculous amount of love and pride for this spicy relish!  We sing about it, make art from it, dress up like it.  It’s as big a part of Sheffield as the now destroyed Cooling Towers (See number 9!)

“It was Mr Henry Henderson who first began manufacturing his own special type of sauce back in the late part of the 19th century. Originally manufactured at 35 Broad Lane in Sheffield, Henderson’s Relish is still being made and has been in uninterrupted production within half a mile of the site from which the first bottle was filled.”

hendersons relish art jarvis cocker

This image of Jarvis Cocker is painted in the spicy yorkshire sauce

You can buy prints of this amazing work here by Neil Antcliff.

hendersons relish sheffield

But we aren’t just about the Hendos, Sheffield is fast becoming a foodie capital with amazing places to eat.  Pub grub is so much more at The Great Gatsby by Shyboy Cantina and for something a little smarter the amazing Wasabisabi is a must.  Sheffield Food blogger Feast and Glory is a great place to look for reviews and ideas on where to eat next time you are out!

 

6. Sheffield is the greenest city in the world!

61% of Sheffield’s entire area is green space, and a third of the city lies within the Peak District National park. There are more than 250 parks, woodlands and gardens in the city, and an estimated 2 million trees, giving Sheffield the highest ratio of trees to people of any city in Europe.  There are 4 trees to every person in Sheffield… I love that fact!!

We are currently storming ahead in a vote for Sheffield to be the best UK city for country lovers

These facts come from the Creative Sheffield site;

  • Despite its urban location almost three-quarters of the city is taken up by natural vegetation and waterways.
  • More than a third of the city is located in the Peak District National Park – no other city has a National Park within its boundary.
  • In addition you’ll find 150 woodlands and 50 public parks all within Sheffield and it is rumoured that there are 4 mature trees to every person living here!
  • Over 44 per cent of Sheffield residents live within a five minute walk of a wood and half the city’s population live within 15 minutes of the open countryside. Imagine that!

sheffield green city

7. We have our own language

After thas finished tha snap tha can av some spice, orate?

Gi’or wi thisen, thas gorra get dahn thi jennel.

Neyow.

Understood? I love the confusion on people’s faces when they listen to a full on Sheffield accent, like the Full Monty but further…

In case you were wondering the above statements say

After you have finished your food, you can have some sweets, alright?

Give over with yourself (stop yourself, calm down), you have got to go down the alleyway between two buildings.  (It is DEFINITELY a jennel and NOT a ginnel…)

 

8. We have a band who play ukeleles, make puns and swear a lot… Everly Pregnant Brothers

I love a ukelele.  I love puns.  So I was always going to love Everly Pregnant Brothers! A group of Sheffield men, including artist Pete McKee and singer ‘Big Shaun’, they play Sheffield ukelele versions of classic songs such as No Oven, No Pie (No woman, No cry) and Hendos (Yellow).

everly pregnant brothers timm cleasby the picture foundry

A Tramlines favourite, EPB are everything that is right and good in silly, funny music that doesn’t take itself too seriously…

If you are over 30, you may remember the Hole in The Road?! Yes? They sang about that too…

9. We all mourn the loss of the cooling towers

The Cooling Towers were an important part of Sheffield, the beacon on the M1 that said you were nearly home (or just getting to Meadowhall, yeah yeah I know I should probably have included Meadrall/MeadowHell or it’s many incarnations but you know, it’s just a massive shopping centre!!)

When they came down in 2008, a city mourned. There was an attempt to save them by artists, but alas they were demolished and an icon disappeared.

You can buy beautiful art prints by Jonathan Wilkinson here, seen below.

cooling towers sheffield

 

But plans to reuse the site for a £500,000 public art project are to go ahead and so perhaps we will soon have a new icon to behold!

 

10. We are the biggest village in the world!

We really are!  Despite a population of over 550,000, Sheffield manages to redeem the feeling of living in a large Village.  Perhaps because the city centre is the heart, with clusters of great areas surrounding or perhaps it is just the great people of Sheffield.  Either way, you know on a stroll through town or a wander on Ecclesall Road you will most likely bump into a lot of people you know!

views of sheffield

Sheffield just has a great feel to it, it has a character and an authenticity that Sheffielders hold close to their hearts.  It is a great place to live and whenever I have been away for a while, coming back into the city always lifts my soul and makes me smile.

 

Sheffield and proud x

 

You are So Bad Ass… Timm Cleasby

On my old blog I started a series of interviews with some of the interesting folk of Sheffield, one of them is my favourite bloke of all time, my husband, Timm.

I talk about him a lot on So Bad Ass as he is a huge part of my journey, illness and recovery and so thought it would be nice to share it here.

 

 

With a music career that spanned two decades, Timm has worked for so many bands, there are too many to mention so I’ll just mention a few of the Sheffield bands, Reverend and the Makers, Richard Hawley, Human League and Arctic Monkeys.

In early 2005 Timm started working for Arctic Monkeys, he spent the next 6 years touring the world with them, watching the band grow from a bunch of teenage kids to one of the most popular and influential bands of our generation.

Then after almost 20 years in the business, he decided he would stop.  That he wanted to do something different.

Photograph: Timm Cleasby

We have three kids together and touring 9 months of the year just got too much.  He tells me that one day he was sat in a suite in some exotic location, in the bar downstairs were a group of young, beautiful famous faces partying.  And all he wanted was to be back at home with me and the kids.  So he stopped touring…

He was interviewed by Mixed in Sheffield, about his life and work in the music industry, its a really interesting watch, take a look.

So how do you move on in your work life from touring the world with musicians? Well, we knew it had to be something that he loved.  So he took his years as an amateur photographer and put them into use.  We set up a photography company, The Picture Foundry, and have spent the last few years building it up into an amazing business where we work together every day and Timm is at home and there for his kids every day.

He also runs Responsible Fishing UK with his best friend James Brunt, creating natural art installations and working with children and young people to encourage arts and play.  He keeps his finger in the music pie as the Productions Director for Sheffield festival, Tramlines.

Let’s get to the interview…

Name, age, gender

Timm Cleasby, 40, Bloke

What do you do?

Photographer, Artist, Organiser of festivals

Photograph: Andy Willsher

How has living in Sheffield and Yorkshire affected your life and attitude?

Living in Sheffield has affected my life in so many ways, I moved here when I was 19 and from then on it’s shaped my life, from studying photography at Stradbroke college to getting dragged into the music industry gigging with local bands in the early 90’s. It’s also inspired much of my work and style in photography, I love industrial settings, probably due hanging out in too many dodgy warehouses and industrial ruins. I would have never had the opportunities I have had without being in Sheffield.

It’s affected my attitude in many ways too… coming originally from Barnsley it was a bit of a shock living in Sheffield, the multicultural nature of the city and the many characters and sub cultures that made up Sheffield in the 90’s challenged most of the conceptions I’d had living in Barnsley in such a positive way… and I’m glad it did.

Yorkshire has provided such an amazing place to live, I’ve had many chances to move away (London, Aus, USA) but I’ve always felt at home here, even though I’ve spent most of my life away Sheffield and Yorkshire has always been the place I come home to.

 

How would you describe yourself in 5 words?

Grumpy, Creative, Beardy, Happy, Bloke

 

Tell me something peculiar about yourself.

I have “Dude” tattooed on my left shoulder and the owner of a tattoo shop / bar called White Trash in Berlin, Germany has “Sweet”…. Yep we were drunk.

I’m going to be a 40 year old Grandpa

I like Fish Fingers and Custard

 

 

What are your future aims?

To have an amazing photo studio in a beautiful house that we can use as locations inside and out

To be a great dad / grandpa

To reach old age with my lovely wife but still act like kids

To have my own festival with my Best pal James

 

If there were a zombie apocalypse, what would your survival plan be?

Fight, fight, fight… Gather as many tools, weapons and vehicles as I can and FIGHT.

 

 

What is your favorite thing about Sheffield?

The fact the within 20 minutes I can be in the city or amazing country side or a big shopping mall.

 

Find out more about Timm at The Picture Foundry.  Follow him on twitter, like him on Facebook.

 

 

Love Sam x

My son is so bad ass…

This is my awesome 13 year old son and his band at their first gig in the school hall, I am SO proud of him!

You will definitely be seeing more of them in the future!

Feeling unattractive

Today has been a bit of a write off, after last nights abysmal sleep I spent the day feeling exhausted, emotional and just a bit crap.  There is no rhyme or reason to my emotions at the minute, sometimes Im feeling fantastic, really positive and raring to go, at other times I am feeling low, Im teary and finding things tough.

Today I am feeling very down.  I look in the mirror and see my scar and the bag and I feel so unattractive.

Before the surgery I was kind of upbeat and didn’t think I would feel bad about my appearance, I think after being ill for so long, vanity was the last thing on my mind.  But now the dust has settled and life is going on, it feels like an issue.  Im very conscious of smell – I worry that I smell of poo.  Timm tells me in all honesty that I don’t, and logically I know I don’t, the bags have filters and the output actually doesn’t smell like poo anyway!  I think its just that I am aware that I have waste sat in a pouch on my stomach and the fear of it sets in.

At times when Im feeling down, I can’t imagine how Timm can bare to be near me.  Surely it must put him off? He can’t really want to hug me or lay next to me in bed? With my gurgling stomach and bag of poo, why would he want to put his arm round me?  These feelings are tough.  My eyes are filling with tears now because those thoughts make me feel like Ive been punched in the gut.

Its hard to look in the mirror at the minute, Im both intrigued and disgusted by my new body.  Having to clean my skin and stoma means touching it and being aware of changes to my skin, but there are times when Id love to just cover it all up and not look at it, empty it, clean it.  There are times when I just want to stick my head in the ground and pretend its not there.

I worry Timm will not find me attractive any more, after all, if I don’t then how could he?  We had a chat today after I cried a LOT.  He is a wonderful fella you know, he tells me that this will never affect our relationship, that he loves me and everything will be ok.  He says all the right things and he makes it better.

The kids are honest.  Im glad of that but its still hard.  They tell me its ‘weird’ and that they don’t like seeing my stoma, they say that it upsets them and avert their eyes if they are with me when I don’t have my bag on.  We have always talked openly and honestly with the kids and the same goes with my surgery.  Its been a tough few weeks for them and Im so proud of their resilience and courage.  I can’t imagine how scary it is for a child to know their mum is having an operation and I was away from them for two weeks!  But I do feel sad, I feel like the bag is a barrier between us, they don’t like it and so they’re not as likely to sit on my knee or cuddle me and that is hard.  But I won’t push them, they need to deal with it in their own way at their own pace.  Im sure as time goes on, they will get used to it and it will just become normal.  Its such early days so I am sure things will get better.

Things WILL get better, I know that.  I will get used to my bag and it will become more normal for us all.  I keep threatening to do a quote a day on my bag a la Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) drum skins…

matt helders drum skins

Im thinking if I have to wear this bloody thing, then I may as well rock the shit out of it!  Im trying to think positively by looking at how I can still feel like me through all of this so Im looking at clothes that will work better with a bag, ostomy covers and even some nice underwear and swimwear.

I struggled with whether to post this today.  I do not want to come across as needy or whingy.  Or as one of those girls who say ‘oh Im ugly’ so that others say ‘noooo you are SO pretty’ – you know the type!  That’s not what this is about.  Anyone who knows me, knows Im a fairly confident person.  But I thought it was important to chart the negative feelings that come about with having this surgery.  For others who are going through this to know that there are other people who are feeling that their confidence has taken a bit of a thrashing.

I refuse for this to be an entirely self pitying post, so thinking of the positives…

It was our son Charlie’s 13th birthday party yesterday, Timm planned it all and made him a BMO cake from Adventure Time and it was fab, he just had some friends over to watch a film, Timm set up the projector in the living room so it was like a cinema and made a ton of pizzas and popcorn.  A lot of Charlie’s friends are budding musicians so they brought their guitars and all had a bit of  jamming session.  It was a lovely night made better by the fact that Charlie said we weren’t an embarrassment to him… High praise from a teenager!

BMO cake adventure time

Timm and I are continuing to plan for our trip to Vietnam and Australia in December – Im so excited.  I can’t wait for us all as a family to experience so many new things and it will have been 14 months since I saw my sister and her family so it will be fantastic for us to be together again.  The fact that I don’t have to worry about a flare up just makes it all so much better.  I joined the Ileostomy and Internal Pouch support group and have been looking on the forums for travel advice.  I got a Travel Certificate which explains to airport security that I have an ileostomy, you can get one either from your stoma nurse or the IA using the link above.

Just three more days till I am off the steroids! Woohoo!! I am hoping that once I have finished the steroids that problems such as insomnia and mode swings will stop too.  There’s a good possibility that my down mood today has been magnified by the meds, so thinking of being steroid free is a real positive thing for me to look forward to, I have been on them now for almost three months.

Im sorry that todays post is a bit of a pity party.  My negative feelings today have been really overwhelming, I have cried a lot and just felt really sad.  I haven’t been out of my pyjamas and barely made it out of bed.  But I know that there will be good days as well as bad and as rubbish as today has been, I have got through it and tomorrow will be a better day!

Thanks for reading, please feel free to keep sharing the blog with anyone you think it could help.

Love Sam xx