This city was my home for 10 years, first as a student at the University of Sheffield and then working in Freshman’s vintage clothes shop by day and singing in The Long Blondes by night, before the band signed to Rough Trade Records and we became full-time artists. As a band, we played in venues all over the city, used its former factory buildings as practice spaces and DJ’d in its many pubs and clubs. Sheffield was our Ballardian playground and our Warholian Factory, it formed our ethos and our sound.
I was drawn to Sheffield because of its musical history. Pulp in particular but also The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Heaven 17 and Moloko. Sheffield has a distinct attitude and sound, a DIY ethic that once installed doesn’t leave you. More recently as a visual artist Sheffield’s Brutalist architecture has been an immense influence on my work, which I do from my studio in Bury St Edmunds - although I have returned and performed as a solo artist at Tramlines festival twice and sung with Sheffield legends Heaven 17 as well as appearing on the third B.E.F record “Dark”.
Sheffield formed me in a way or forged me. I left home at 19 to go and study in a city that only existed in my imagination from Jarvis Cocker’s lyrics. Jarvis always treated Sheffield the city as a character in her own right, and that she is. Warm, even though it rains a lot, and with a very dry sense of humour.