TNB Indie Arcade, Sheffield

The Nichols building in Shalesmoor just got twice as good

TNB Indie Arcade

TNB Indie Arcade

Since opening in 2011 in a vast former wholesale grocers in Shalesmoor, the Nichols building has established itself as a destination vintage arts and crafts emporium.

A few weeks ago, TNB Indie Arcade opened on the ground floor. At the moment it’s all about independent retail but one day it could host gigs, cinema, theatre and club nights.

I spoke to Matt Abbott from TNB Indie Arcade about his plans for the space, the latest on his musical projects and moving to Sheffield.

1970s caravan in TNB Indie Arcade

1970s caravan in TNB Indie Arcade

TNB Indie Arcade has been up and running indoors on the ground floor of the Nichols building since July. Is it a separate thing to the Nichols building and owned or run by different people?

The ground floor did actually exist as TNB Indie Arcade before we took over on 1 July. It was run by the same person that still runs the first floor, although it was more of a secondary overspill than it’s own individual space.

So since we’ve taken over, we’ve really transformed it into a unique business and it’s already starting to gather quite a distinctive and intriguing style. I think the centre pieces so far are the fantastic 1970s pop-out caravan and the old church pulpit that we use as the sales desk!

Also we’re conscious that each unit has a really imposing style, so that it feels as though every corner offers something completely different whilst still fitting in with the style of the whole room. It’s a fantastic project and we’re really pleased with how much we’ve progressed in the first five weeks or so.

Yorkshire Tee at TNB Indie Arcade

Yorkshire Tee at TNB Indie Arcade

Tell us about the sorts of retailers you’ve got in TNB Indie Arcade and what they’re offering.

We have everything from mini retro £1.50 greetings cards to fantastic antique furniture and original artwork. The vast majority of our dealers treat their units as hobbies so whilst it does provide a little extra income, it’s also a labour of love. And I think this is really reflected in the standard and the quality of the products that they bring in.

A&D Creations have a workshop here and make some fantastic glass work and jewellery. Steel City Retro are constantly bringing in a diverse range of records into the vintage caravan. Reverse Gear Interiors has some amazing furniture, and other units such as Love Me, Heartily Homemade, Northern Sewn and Cute as a Button bring superb home made gifts and decorative pieces.

We also have original artwork by Tracy White, MJT Artwork and Simon Abbott, as well as original photography by Gordie Cavill.

Also, we’ve recently added Yorkshire Tee, who are currently the most popular t-shirt designers in the city.

TNB Indie Arcade

TNB Indie Arcade

How have the first few weeks been?

They’ve been truly fantastic. Seeing the space gradually evolve day by day is really satisfying, and working so closely with the dealers gives you an appreciation of the time and effort and also the care that goes into their products.

It’s great socialising with customers and meeting so many talented people. And let’s face it; turning up to work somewhere like TNB Indie Arcade doesn’t really feel like a proper job! We’re very lucky to be involved.

As well as the retail arcade, it sounds like you have plenty of other interesting spaces in the building. What are your plans for making the most of them?

We do have a shared courtyard which is currently used for fairs and events. However we’re running a few small events in the retail arcade, and our long term plans include extending into the cellar. It’s a superb space, reminiscent of The Cavern or a much larger version of Club 60, and there’s fantastic potential down there for film screenings and alternative club nights.

The evening events will be an extension of the cultures that we celebrate in the daytime retail space; vintage and alternative lifestyles, and particularly 1960s Britain. I’m a huge fan of the Mod scene and so I really want a few Northern Soul-driven Quadrophenia nights in here eventually!

The first event that we’re running is on Tuesday 18 September and will include spoken word sets, acoustic sets, ’60s DJs and most importantly, cheap alcohol.

The main Nichols Building has been open about two years now. How is it going – I expect there have been some ups and downs in that time?

I can’t personally speak from experience, but obviously a good proportion of our trade is down to the Nichols building having already been established as a great vintage space. People know about the Nichols; they just don’t necessarily know about the ground floor. But obviously we plan on dramatically changing that!

I thought I recognised the name Matt Abbott. Are you the same punk poet/frontman from Skint & Demoralised?

I am indeed. To be honest we won’t be writing or recording as Skint & Demoralised any more after the release of our third album The Bit Between The Teeth in April, although I still regularly perform punk poetry sets and have several new writing projects in progress.

I’m working on a new album and this time we’ve brought a third writer on board, so it’ll be different to S&D. Apart from that, I can’t really divulge much information at this stage I’m afraid!

Finally, did you think twice about moving down to Sheffield from Wakefield? And have your impressions of the city changed since you moved down here?

No, not in the slightest. Obviously I love Wakefield because it’s my home town, and I still spend a decent amount of time there, but I’ve been utterly infatuated with Sheffield since I started coming here at the age of fifteen and I’ve always wanted to live here.

I live with my best mate, who’s also the other half of S&D, which is obviously great fun. And to be fair I probably know as many people in Sheffield as I do in Wakefield because we were always considered a Sheffield band as much as we were a Wakefield band.

As you know; Sheffield is an absolutely wonderful city and I’m really enjoying my time here so far.

@TNBIndieArcade on Twitter

TNB Indie Arcade on Facebook

TNB Indie Arcade

TNB Indie Arcade

2003 promotional video for Sheffield

(Univer)sity on the move

Considering it is only around ten years old, this promotional video from the University of Sheffield is quite something.

On Twitter, we dated it to around 2003. What do you reckon?

Suspended Coffee Sheffield

Help people in need get a free hot drink

This week you may have read about the concept of Suspended Coffee. Richard Hennessy explains a bit more about it and why he is trying to get this up and running in Sheffield:

The idea is that independent coffee shops in Sheffield allow people to buy a suspended coffee which is either kept ready waiting for them in the shop or a voucher is given which you then pass to a homeless person.

This way the homeless person gets a drink when they want one, people can give something to a homeless person if they are in a rush and don’t want to give money, the local coffee shops sell the tea/coffee (Americano) at £1 so they make a little money (but not an extortionate amount) and more money is invested back into the local economy.

It is an idea that came out of Italy originally I believe but it is taking hold around the world and I am trying to give the idea a foot hold in Sheffield.

Giving a coffee (or tea!) to someone means so much more than just warming them up…it shows you give a monkeys which could make a big difference. Handing over a voucher for a brew or a sarnie is also a great opportunity to start a conversation with a homeless person. Ask a couple of questions and you might gain a deeper understanding of some of the issues affecting the homeless/poor.

Piccolo Sandwich bar on London Road has already pledged their support for the scheme. Could you approach your local coffee shop do the same?

You can get in touch with Richard or find out the latest on Suspended Coffee Sheffield via their Facebook page and @suspendedsheff on Twitter.

A Typographic Tour of Sheffield

I finally got round to sending off an SAE for a free copy of this. It’s a guide to the points of typographic interest around the city, starting from London Road and finishing on Devonshire Green. The tour takes in both iconic examples that you’ll recognise and some that need a bit more detective work to spot.

A Typographic Tour of Sheffield

A Typographic Tour of Sheffield

The guide is by the people behind the beautiful Our Favourite Places book. And for the price of a couple of stamps, it’s definitely worth getting your hands on: send Eleven an SAE and they’ll pop one in the post.

Oh, and if you’re into Sheffield typography then Sheftype is also worth following.

Found: Sheffield’s lost Britpop album

Download Speedy’s debut for free later this month

In 2008 I posted about Speedy, one of Sheffield’s forgotten bands. You may know them from their 1996 single Boy Wonder. It wasn’t a big hit but it did appear on a Shine compilation album at the tail end of the series:

Speedy – formerly Blammo! – released a few singles but they were dumped by their label before their debut album News from Nowhere saw the light of day.

The Speedy long-player has presumably been sat in a record company vault somewhere – until now. On 15 December when you’ll be able to download a copy of this lost album for free.

Nick from the Britpop Revival blog is full of praise for the album:

Oh boy. It is that good. I listened to the whole thing with a huge smile on my face. And then I played it again, and then again…It feels unjust that a band can take the time to craft such a fine slice of pop music and then not even get to release it.

It sounds good doesn’t it? And it seems Speedy are happy about it going out in this way, with former singer Philip Watson is appearing on Nick’s blog’s radio show in January talk more about the band and their great lost debut album.

Britpop Revival: a Speedy recovery

Sheffield street art interactive map

Thanks to Ritchie for taking the time to do an interactive map of Sheffield street art. If you’re not sure where to start when exploring then why not follow one of the suggested walking routes? They’re perfect for a lunch hour:

Pinstone Street, the home of Sheffield’s independent fast food

The one good thing to come out of the Sevenstone delay?

Fanoush Falafel and the Street Food Chef

Fanoush Falafel and the Street Food Chef

As we wait to find out what the latest talks between the council and Hammerson mean for Sheffield’s Sevenstone retail quarter, an independent food revolution is quietly happening in town.

Pinstone Street is one of the key roads on the edge of the proposed development. In anticipation of demolition and construction work beginning many of the old shops closed down or moved to alternative locations, leaving a depressing row of empty units.

Not for long though. The good news is that a growing number of tasty food outlets have moved in and are breathing life into the vacant shops on Pinstone Street.

The award-winning Street Food Chef arrived first, serving up Mexican street food from tacos, burritos to empanadas. Their breakfast burritos are delicious.

Flurt frozen yoghurt in Sheffield

Flurt frozen yoghurt on PInstone Street

Then Flurt opened a few doors up, offering fat-free frozen yoghurt. A perfect pudding if you’ve got room after your lunchtime burrito.

And this morning Claire from Feast and Glory revealed that Fanoush Falafel is opening next door to the Street Food Chef. Fanoush already have a shop on London Road so it is great to see them opening in town.

What all three of these outlets have in common is that they are independent businesses, offering an alternative to the food chains that you can find in any city. The food is fast, tasty and relatively healthy. They’re definitely worth supporting.

It’s ironic that without Sevenstone these great food outlets may not have opened at all on Pinstone Street. Perhaps the growth of these businesses points to the approach we should take for a city centre retail quarter: if you create favourable terms for people to take on shops in good locations then local, independent businesses can flourish, even alongside the big chains. The city centre needs both.

Make the most of these foodie gems while you can, as a green light for Sevenstone could mean the end of these independent food outlets in prime city centre locations.

Sheffield on Twitter – September 2012 update

Below you can find the latest additions to the list of Sheffield people and organisations of interest on Twitter.

A directory can be found on the Sheffield Twitter users page. As this page is getting a bit unwieldy, I’m not currently adding to it. Instead I’ll link back to each monthly update page.

We’re now into our fourth list of people and organisations in Sheffield in Twitter. There is also the first, second and third which each contain 500 accounts.

Mrs Shah’s Curry Mix
@MrsShahCurry

Marketing Sheffield
@MarketingSheff

FunMeFit community health/fitness/sports website
@FunMeFit

True Gents exhibitions in ex-public toilets
@true__gents

Champs
@ChampsSheff

Vintage Coffee Co
@Vintagecoffeeco

Festival of the Mind
@FestivalMind

Ennis’s Gold Postbox
@ennispostbox

Danuta Reah writer
@DanutaJR

Kelham Island Brewery
@KelhamBrewery

Sheffield Street Art
@SheffStreetArt

Graze Inn, Eccy Road
@GrazeInnSheff

Sheffield Tigers RUFC
@SheffTigersRUFC

Sheffield Beer Festival 38
@SheffBeerFest38

Real Ale Trails
@realaletrails

The Dram Shop
@TheDramShopUK

Sheffield Whisky Society
@WhiskySheffield

Relish restaurant
@RelishSheffield

Antiques quarter
@antiquesquarter

East and West
@EastnWestSheff

Electronic Supper Club
@eSupperClub

Sharrow Reels
@SharrowReels

Sheffield University Amnesty group
@amnestyshefuni

Fusion cafe
@fusioncafesheff

Nosh Sheffield
@NoshSheff

Sheffield Eagles community department
@EaglesCommDev

Yorkshire Enterprise Club
@YorksEntClub

Asian Chic Magazine
@AsianChicMag

Noodle Inn Centro
@NoodleInnCentro

Made North conference/gallery/network
@MADENORTH

Sheffield University Ceilidh Society
@ceilidhsoc

Motore Cafe
@MotoreCafe

Sheffield Sabres
@SheffieldSabres

NCWA wrestling school
@ncwauk

Golden Spirits fashion show
@GoldenSpirits1

Liberty Foods
@libertyfoods17

Jive Juice
@jive_juice

Call & Response bird-themed haiku
@Callhaiku

Politics Society Sheffield
@PolSocSheffield

Sheffield Hallam Salsa Society
@SHUSalsa

Steel Opera
@SteelOpera

Working Woman Magazine
@WorkingWomanUK

Toni Minichiello, Jessica Ennis’s coach
@Coach_Toni

Hood Food Project
@HoodFoodProject

Young Peculiar band
@YoungPeculiar

Magpie Markets
@magpie_markets

Shakedown, Fridays at DQ
@shakedownDQ

Approved Food clearance food and drink
@ApprovedFood

Sheffield Predators American football team
@sheffpreds

The Cotton Club
@TheCC_Sheffield

Sheffield Girl Let
@sheffgirlltd

Bishop’s Bistro
@bishopsbistro

No Clothing
@NoClothingUK

Double no-no
@Double_NoNo

Laundry Point
@Laundry_point

St Chad’s magazine
@StChadsImpact

Dicks Board Store
@Dicksboardstore

Ardent Media
@ardent_media_uk

Oxo UK
@oxo_uk

Surefit Carpets
@SFSheffield

Shopmobility Sheffield
@Shopmobsheff

Thou Art tattoo
@thouarttattoo1

Let’s Get Stoned handcrafted footwear
@_letsgetstoned_

nouriSH me now sports recovery drink
@nouriSH_me_now

Rexpo renewable opportunities sector
@RexpoUK

Kemps Bakery, Eckington
@Kempsbakery

Five festivals not to miss this autumn in Sheffield

I love the summer in Sheffield but apart from during big events like Tramlines, the city can seem quiet during July and August. Then the holidays come to an end, the students return and before you know it, Sheffield has become home to a run of festivals stretching well into November. Here’s a round up of what’s going on:

Sheffield Food Festival

14-16 Septembersheffieldfoodfestival.org

This three-day festival has moved from July and is now slimmed down from a full week in 2011. There is still lots going on this year, with a themed menu of city centre events for all the family including demonstrations, tastings, workshops and of course an opportunity to gorge on lots of delicious local food and drink.

Don’t miss: The Sheffield Breweries Co-operative (Peace Gardens, Friday 14-Sunday 16 September) Your chance to meet the brewers and drink the beer from nine of our local breweries in a Peace Gardens marquee. Have all our best-loved Sheffield beers ever been available under one roof before?

Festival of the Mind

20-30 September | sheffield.ac.uk/fotm

This new festival hosted by the University of Sheffield could prove to be one of the stand-out events of the year (I should mention that I have some involvement with it though so I am probably a bit biased.) Sheffield’s creative community and academics from the University are coming together to put on over 50 events. There are some intriguing and wonderful collaborations, including Do It Thissen, a celebration of Sheffield’s post-punk music scene, 50 Ideas for Sheffield and virtual art gallery Computer Love.

Don’t miss: The Arrivals Zone. The brilliant Sheffield Publicity Department hosts a dream tourist information kiosk outside the train station in Sheaf square. Expect more than just leaflets about our galleries and museums.

The Last Laugh Comedy Festival

2-30 October | lastlaughcomedyfestival.co.uk

Toby Foster is going solo with this year’s comedy festival and it is now known as the Last Laugh Comedy Festival instead of Grin Up North. You probably won’t notice too much difference though: it’s the usual programme of comedy, from performances fresh from Edinburgh to full-blown arena shows.

Don’t miss: My friend who went to Edinburgh this year recommends Pappy’s sketch troupe, nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award this year (12 October, The Greystones) and the excellent storytelling standup Elis James who is charming, engaging and above all, hilarious (19 October, The Lescar).

Octoberfest

11-13 October | bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2012/200811octoberfest.html

South Yorkshire seems to be getting its fair share of BBC events this year, what with The One Show in a very wet Endcliffe park last month, Richard Hawley’s Magna show on 6 Music this weekend and now Radio Five Live is popping over the Pennines for a weekend of events and live broadcasts. Radio Sheffield is involved and the press release says we can expect ‘an eclectic mix of news and sport programming, audience debates and interactive activities in venues across the city’.

Don’t miss: A live audience broadcast of Fighting Talk.

Off the Shelf

13 October-3 November | offtheshelf.org.uk

At 21 years old, is this the oldest festival in Sheffield that is still running? This festival of words includes the usual mix of more well-known faces (Richard Wilson, Benjamin Zephaniah, Stuart Maconie, Peter Hook and Simon Armitage) and topics closer to home (Tracing the Sheffield Jungle, A Sheffield A-Z, Sheffield Stories, Big Sky – Stories from the Edge).

Don’t miss: Praise or Grumble with SRSB. Did you know the radio football phone-in was invented in Sheffield? Or more accurately, by legendary former Radio Sheffield sports editor Bob Jackson, as he lay sunbathing one summer in Cyprus? The Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind’s Mappin Writers host this event with Bob as guest speaker (Saturday 27 October, 2pm, 5 Mappin Street).

And there’s more

There are also some other festivals taking place over the next couple of months in Sheffield including the fourth Celluloid Screams horror film weekend at the Showroom (26-28 October) and the MADE Entrepreneur Festival (19-21 September).

Although there isn’t too much overlap between the festivals I’ve mentioned, they do seem to be tightly packed over a few weeks. Would it be better to move one or two of them to the spring instead?

Cycling in Sheffield: five things I’ve learned

Back on my bike after 20 years

My dad recently bought himself a new bike and in turn offered me his old one as a hand-me-down. I haven’t really ridden a bike since I was a teenager so was a bit apprehensive but thought I’d give it a go. The good news is that I’m quite enjoying it and of course any excuse to do some exercise and put off the full-on arrival of my middle-aged spread is welcome.

Due to its proximity to the Peak District, Sheffield is a bit of a hub for outdoorsy types and cycling seems to be up there with climbing as one of those things that a lot of people do. Team GB’s cycling success at the Olympics will encourage even more people to take it up. So how have I found my first few weeks of cycling here? Below are five observations about cycling in Sheffield I’ve made since being back in the saddle.

1. Our roads surfaces are rubbish

As a car owner, of course I already knew this. But only when you experience all those bumps, cracks and potholes for yourself on a bike do you truly appreciate the rotten state of our city’s roads. The cycle lane on some is even worse than the car lane, which doesn’t really encourage you to use them. Hopefully this will be addressed by the £2bn highways PFI project, which has promised to make Sheffield’s roads and pavements better for everyone.

2. Sheffield isn’t yet a truly bike-friendly city

University Square roundabout: not great for cyclists

University Square roundabout: not great for cyclists

Although the council has made some effort to make it easy to cycle around Sheffield, more could be done. We have some cycle routes, but they aren’t brilliantly joined up. We have cycle lanes and crossings, but these aren’t always in locations where you need them most, for example trying to navigate – or preferably avoid completely – University Square roundabout. We have a council cycle map PDF, but this would work much better as a proper interactive map, plus I soon realised that many of the cycle parking facilities are currently missing off it. Thankfully the cycling campaign groups are pressuring the council to do more for cycling in Sheffield.

3. The hills are steep

Brilliant for cycling down but not so much fun on the return leg. I live near the top of one, which means that nearly every bike ride ends with a punishing slog back home. I suppose it is better having it this way round, instead of needing to shower at work in the morning. No doubt I’ll eventually find them easier but in the meantime I’m still having to push my bike up some of our hills so when you speed past please do give an encouraging thumbs up.

4. Cycling is different to driving

You tend to see roads and particularly junctions differently when you’re on your bike. I’ve needed to brush up a bit on my highway code and look up some of the advice online regarding things like what a cyclist should do in terms of passing stationary or slow-moving traffic. So far, I haven’t had any run-ins with motorists, touch wood. I’ve also made sure I’ve avoided things like cycling through red lights, which is something that can drive you mad as a car driver. You obviously feel less safe on a bike compared to in a car and if there were to be an accident, it is likely that the cyclist will get hurt, regardless of who is at fault. But so far so good. One bonus of cycling over driving is that you don’t have to pay stupidly high petrol and city centre car park prices.

5. Recycle Bikes is great

The old bike I was given needed some basic repairs and someone recommended that I take it to a social enterprise called Recycle Bikes, based in Heeley, It’s an independent, not-for-profit bike project which is involved in loads of worthwhile stuff including recycling old bikes, running youth and adult training and doing very reasonable repairs using recycled parts. They are part of Heeley Development Trust and I think are definitely worth considering if you need a repair, are looking for a cheap recycled bike or even have an old one to donate.

What are your experiences of cycling or cyclists in Sheffield, ? Is there anything else I should know?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 126 other followers