Steel finger screen print by Jim Connolly

Fourth in the series

The latest Sheffield-themed screen print by Jim Connolly, Steel finger, is now out. As Jim explains:

It is a jovial parody of a retro Bond poster where the action takes place in our fair city. Who needs Paris, Venice and Cairo when you’ve got all the action of flat cap wielding OAP assassins, rooftop battles on the Supertram and exotic and ruthless women called Roxy.

It follows the previous prints in the series based on the cooling towers, Henderson’s relish and Meadowhall. If you like his work, which you may also recognise from the cover of Exposed magazine and last year’s Celluloid screams film festival posters, then it is worth following his blog. You can also order prints online.

You can see a framed Steel finger print up in the window of Rare’n’racy and it looks really good. You’ll see that there are plenty of Sheffield landmarks to be spotted.

Oh, and continuing the Sheffield/Bond theme, @arepeejee pointed out on Twitter yesterday that any Yorkshir’ Bond villain should be known as ‘Dr Nowt’…

Steel finger screen print by Jim Connolly

Steel finger screen print by Jim Connolly

Top ten Sheffield Christmas presents

Sheffield-themed festive gifts

Stuck for a Christmas gift ideas? This list collects together some of the most popular Sheffield-themed merchandise from the last few months.

  • Pub maps

Explore the drinking dens of the city with this pub stops of Sheffield map by John Coates. It is designed in the style of the famous Henry Beck London underground tube map, which like a circuit diagram, focuses on the order of the locations instead of their exact geographic proximity. Available in mouse mat and poster versions, the designated coloured routes make for all sorts of interesting pub crawl variations. Or if you fancy an alternative pub crawl compass, then you could also try the heritage pub crawl map that you may have seen displayed in various local pubs.

Buy: Sheffield scene shop on Surrey street | zazzle.co.uk (for just the tube map)

Pub stops of Sheffield mouse mat and poster

Pub stops of Sheffield mouse mat and poster

Sheffield heritage pub crawl

Sheffield heritage pub crawl

  • Something Hendo’s-inspired

Is there a better way to impress people when they come over for tea this Christmas than with some Hendo’s-themed memorabilia? There are plenty of options available to help celebrate the city’s favourite condiment: one litre bottles of relish, aprons, illustration prints from Jim Connolly and Kid Acne and if you really want to splash out, a limited-edition set of silver accessories. The final option is a very long-lasting Hendo’s-themed gift that a bride bought her groom as a wedding present…

Buy: Various locations | madeinsheffield.com | archipelago-art.co.uk | kateyfelton.com

Katey Felton's limited edition Henderson's relish silver accessories

Katey Felton's limited edition Henderson's relish silver accessories

  • Sheffield illustrations

As well as the Hendo’s prints mentioned above, there are plenty of other local-themed illustrations available. Obviously Pete McKee is one of the most well known (don’t forget his Children’s hospital 2009 Christmas card) and Jim Connolly’s Sheffield superheros screen prints are also popular. The treasured Rare & racy shop on Devonshire street has various other prints, including Jonathan Wilkinson’s excellent We live here series of defining but less-celebrated Sheffield landmarks including the wedding cake, Park hill, the Roxy and the egg box.

Buy: Rare & racy | therealmckee.co.uk | archipelago-art.co.uk | welivehere.co.uk

  • Charity voucher book

I’ve already written a post about this charity voucher book, but the premise is simple: spend £50 on a book of local vouchers that includes £1,000-worth of savings. And £15 from every one sold goes to charity. You won’t get round to using them all but after using three within the first month I had made my money back and of course have got a whole load more bargains to look forward to. Be quick though, as most of the vouchers expire in August 2010 so the longer you leave it the harder it will be to cram them in.

Buy: Shop on corner of Pinstone street and Cambridge street | charityunleashed.co.uk

Charity unleashed Sheffield voucher book

Charity unleashed Sheffield voucher book shop

  • Victorian map of Sheffield

People from Sheffield love old Sheffield stuff and this map shows the city in 1849 as ‘a pleasant and organised town…relatively spared the ravages of the early unplanned industrialisation’. One for the toilet door?

Buy: Cheapest from Sheffield scene shop on Surrey street | victoriantownmaps.co.uk

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  • Cooling towers memorabilia

The Cooling towers shop may have been and gone but the Tinsley towers still hold a dear place in the heart for many people and befittingly there are still plenty of souvenirs available by which to remember them. Why not start with this matt photo print from RPG Photo and also these mugs from artist/designer Alice Skelton?

Buy: rpgphoto.co.uk | Mugs available from aliceskelton.com and the Bessimer gallery in the Winter garden

Cooling towers print from RPG Photography

Cooling towers print from RPG Photography

  • Pop books and shop books

There are a couple of Sheffield-related books with a nostalgic tinge that have been published in time for Christmas. Neil Anderson’s Take it to the Limit explores the late 70s and early 80s music scene through the eyes of the Limit nightclub, or Sheffield’s Hacienda as it was know by some. More pop music nostalgia can be found in artist Martin Bedford’s Up against the wall, a book collecting together some of his famous Leadmill posters that he produced to promote visiting bands in the 1980s and 1990s. And starkly contrasting with the city centre that we know today, the Shopaholics guide to 1970s Sheffield looks back to a time when town was the major shopping destination of the north.

Buy: Local bookshops | amazon.co.uk

Sheffield pop and shopping books

Sheffield pop and shopping books

  • I love Sheffield eco bag

Julia Gash bought this local variation of the I love New York design to Sheffield a couple of years ago. She was previously involved with the (now closed) Gash shop on Devonshire street but has since set up a business selling eco bags and the I love Sheffield one has been a huge hit, as you can guess from the frequency that you see them around town. They continue to be particularly popular with students and it looks like some variations on the original design are now available, too.

Buy: Various locations including the Sheffield university students’ union studio shop

I love Sheffield drawstring eco bag

  • A piece of history

The crucible is due to reopen imminently and the theatre’s new carpet is apparently inspired by the distinctive 1970s design of the original. The theatre has been selling off pieces of the old carpet to raise money and at the last count a few of them were still available.

Buy: Sheffield theatres

The Crucible carpet: old (left) and new (right)

  • Food discount card

The city may still be up-and-coming in the culinary stakes but progress is slowly being made and there are now some good places to eat out. Chef Richard Smith is the man behind many of the area’s more impressive restaurants and his relax, eat and drink privilage card could be just the gift for a foodie friend or loved one. You get £50-worth of restaurant vouchers, a £25 bottle of champagne, a free meal on your birthday, money off every other meal, free tea and coffees and more. At £100 it isn’t cheap, but when you remember that his restaurants include Artisan, the Cricket inn, the excellent-value Canteen and the imminent Spice market cafe on Ecclesall road, it won’t even take a meal out at each before you earn your money back.

Buy: relaxeatanddrink.com

Has anyone got any more present recommendations?

Top posts on sheffieldblog.com

One year on, which are the most popular posts?

I thought I’d do a quick round-up of the most viewed posts during the first year of this blog.

According to WordPress, this is the 83rd post, which makes an average of about 1.5 a week. I’d like to write more often but don’t always have the time. Thankfully now that this blog is on Twitter it is easy to put something out there quickly without having to draft a full post.

Anyway, here are the top ten posts according to number of views:

  1. From Runaway Girl to Silversmiths
    Written one week after Gordon Ramsay recorded the TV programme (but five months before it was broadcast)
  2. Free wi-fi hotspots in Sheffield city centre
    I started logging free wi-fi locations in the city last year, although the launch of wifi-in-sheffield.co.uk in January has probably already superceded this
  3. City of Sheffield walkabout – a photo tour
    Photographs comparing Sheffield in 2008 to the city as featured in a 1970s council brochure
  4. Cocoa chocolate shop
    Documenting a visit to this Eccy Road treasure
  5. Sheffield Twitter users
    Ever-expanding list of organisations, groups and companies from Sheffield on Twitter
  6. Date for cooling towers demolition confirmed
    In terms of page views, August was one of the most popular months on this blog, no doubt in part due to the passing of the cooling towers
  7. Sheffield City on the move video from The Fully Monty
    The full version of the 1970s promotional film used at the start of the hit movie appears online
  8. The day Sheffield stood still
    Report and videos from Sheffield’s first-ever large-scale flash mob
  9. Sheffield to London by train
    Some thoughts on a journey that I have had the joy of completing many a time, written a few months after Midland Mainline handed over the franchise to East Midlands Trains
  10. The Moor, Sheffield
    A look at the long-overdue and continued redevelopment of one of Sheffield’s pedestrianised shopping streets

What does the next year hold for this blog? Luckily there is still more going on in Sheffield than could ever be covered here, so I don’t see any reason why there shouldn’t be plenty more posting, tweeting and perhaps some more videos.

As I mentioned above the bigger issue is making time to create the content, so if anyone would anyone be interested in contributing posts then let me know. I’ve also got one or two other ideas for directions that it could go in, so watch this space.

In the meantime, if you have got any comments or suggestions then get in touch.

Use the sauce Henderson’s Relish-inspired print

Number two in a series of six

Artist Jim Connolly has released another Sheffield-related silkscreen print through the Archipelago Gallery.

Earlier this year he gave us the TERROR…! At Tinsley Towers! print, and his latest work is inspired by another Sheffield institution, Henderson’s Relish:

Use the sauce Henderson's Relish-inspired print

Use the sauce by Jim Connolly

There are to be a total of six prints in the Sheffield/comic book satirical series, and the Star has reported that a Dawn of the dead-inspired Meadowhall poster could be a future subject.

Botched towers demolition embarasses Eon

The north tower refuses to come down without a fight

So, the towers have gone…but not without making life difficult for the team behind the demolition.

It was somewhat satisfying to see the north tower resist the “precise destructive qualities” of the Nitroglycerine explosive packed into its 1,250 drilled holes last night. About a third of the tower was left standing, resulting in diggers chipping away at its base until nearly half past five in the morning when the remainder of the tower came down.

This shambles of a demolition doesn’t inspire much hope in Eon’s ability to deliver a worthy replacement.

Alongside coverage in the media (BBC, ITV, The Star), photos and videos from the public have started appearing online. A selection appear below; it is a shame that some people cheered as the towers were demolished.

A great photo from Eddie Robinson:

This is my favourite video, as the night vision and audio make it quite eerie:

The banter in the build up to this is funny:

And a fitting (and deliberate?) musical reference at the start of this:

People mourning the loss of the towers, and those searching out more memorabilia, may be interested to see that Archipelago Gallery, formerly of Ecclesall Road South but now located on Sidney Street, has produced a screen print by Jim Connolly to commemorate their sad demolition:

TERROR...! At Tinsley Towers!

TERROR...! At Tinsley Towers!

I have no links to the gallery or artist but I do like this, and at £10 for a poster print, I am tempted to get one. Signed originals are also available for £125. The similarity in style to the paintings of Isaac Mendez, the artist character from TV show Heroes, has been pointed out…

Date for cooling towers demolition confirmed

Bank holiday weekend will see the towers bite the dust

As widely reported in the media today, the Tinsley cooling towers will be demolished in the early hours of Sunday 24 August. A viewing platform at Meadowhall will be set up for spectators.

I guess that the potential of the Towers as a fundraising opportunity was highlighted with the success of the cooling towers gift shop, and as a result Eon has got together with the University of Sheffield’s Archaeology consultancy, Arcus, to produce a souvenir book and postcard collection. The beneficiaries are the Rotherham Hospice and Neurocare at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

Less than two weeks to go; enjoy the towers while you can…

Image by pauldcocker and used under Creative Commons license

Cooling tower word cloud for Sheffield blog

Wordle.com uses cooling tower template?

Just a quick post to show the Wordle word cloud that I generated for this blog. It is dead simple, just past in text, a feed for a blog (or any web page that generates a feed) or a del.icio.us user name and Wordle generates a cloud representing the most used words in the source material.

I wouldn’t have necessarily bothered posting the results here, but I was intrigued to see that the cloud generated for this blog was in the shape of a cooling tower. A coincidence? Try it now with your own blog and see what it comes back with.

The two towers and the two Toms

As the date of demolition draws nearer, the lead pro-towers campaigners have pulled out of discussions regarding replacement exhibit

Yesterday’s Guardian featured article about the impending demolition of the cooling towers and the story behind the campaign to save them.

I hadn’t realised that Eon had agreed to host a temporary installation inside the towers by Turner prize winning artist Anish Kapoor before U-turning on this decision in favour of the permanent replacement work of art. This was a further blow that understandably left Cooling the Towers campaigners Tom Keeley and Tom James feeling tired and disappointed.

The debate continues over what exactly the replacement work of art might be and whether the council is capable of collaborating on something worthy to sit in place of the towers. I think the planning department has certainly delivered some stunning public spaces in the city centre, and elements of these (for example the cutting edge in Sheaf square and the spheres near the Winter gardens) could also be classed as art.

Obviously the replacement project for the Tinsley towers needs to be something on a much larger scale than these flashes of artistic inspiration in the city centre, so delivering this will be a massive challenge that needs everyone on board.

I can understand the frustration that the two Toms are feeling over their project, but it seems a shame they have pulled out of the planning process for the replacement exhibit. Described by the council as “instrumental and inspirational”, surely their involvement would give us the greatest chance to fully unlock the potential of the location and be left with a relic that captures at least a small part of their original vision?

Tom and Tom: your city needs you – please get involved again!

Tinsley cooling towers gift shop

As the towers are due to come down, one very special shop is to be set up

So does anyone actually know when these are due to come down apart from sometime in the spring/summer? The campaign to save them and turn them into a work of art seems to have been out of the national headlines for a while now following the publicity on Channel 4, the online petition and the campaign’s MySpace site.

However, this isn’t stopping the Cooling the Towers team from keeping the campaign in the public eye with the launch of the a selection of memorabilia to be sold on a not-for-profit basis in a shop in the Millennium Galleries. Get your tea-towels, mugs, badges, plates and postcards now.

Aside from the memory of the towers living on through the merchandise, energy company Eon have offered £500k and an area of land for a replacement work of art on the site.

Although I was a supporter of the campaign to save the towers and will be sorry to see them go, I am fascinated to see what ends up being put there and am open to the idea that this new work of art could even be better than what the towers might have become.

Crucial to the success will be the bodies, organisations, individuals and council/government representatives that end up making the decision on what the work of art is to be.

The thing is, do we know the process for how this will be decided? What we don’t want is another poorly-planned white elephant for Sheffield.

In the meantime, take your photos of the towers and show your appreciation for the cooling towers on YouTube while you can:

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