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Sheffield

Our obsessive vinyl hunter-gatherer Mark Elliott might be in the Steel City, but, rest assured, it’s not metal he’s after
Illustration Ben Talon

Getty

In the words of Neil Tennant, I was faced with a choice at a difficult age… In my case it was a decision about whether to decorate my newly crafted pencil case with the logo of either The Beatles or The Human League. This being late 1981 and the rather sorry looking box being the only thing I would ever make in woodwork, the dilemma seemed truly significant. Sheffields finest won that battle and it might have ended there… except The Human League were soon followed by ABC, Heaven 17, Def Leppard, Pulp, Richard Hawley and Arctic Monkeys.

I was fascinated enough by that sort of pedigree to choose the city to do some studying years later, but haven’t been back in two decades, and it was certainly before my record collecting started motoring at full pelt and I had the funds to go a little crazy.

It is fair to say the city’s vinyl scene suffered a bit of a downturn during the 1990s, when I was last there, but I’ve heard good things about some new shops opening and I was confident that my former favourite haunt, Record Collector, wouldn’t disappoint this time round.

Sheffield’s heritage as an industrial giant saw the recession of the early 1980s bite hard, and no one would accuse the place of being one of the UK’s most fashionable destinations, but there’s a lively wit on display here that’s hard to find elsewhere (lacking some of the bite of its neighbouring cities, but warmer and more curious); the two universities support a healthy arts scene and there are plenty of trees (Jarvis Cocker was recently up in arms when the council announced plans to fell thousands).

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Long Live Vinyl - Apr 2019: Record Store Day
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