Pete David is a singer and writer with The Payroll Union – a Sheffield-based band which performs songs inspired by forgotten stories from history. He also presents a podcast from the independent record label, Backwater Collective, which has weekly discussions with creative industry professionals from around the world. Pete’s day job is at the University of Sheffield, where he works in the financial support team providing financial help and guidance to students. He also works in the university’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities which gave him the opportunity to get involved with the Festival of Arts and Humanities that is being held throughout the city in May.
I can’t think of anything more delicious than a sandwich from Bragazzis on Abbeydale Road. I haven’t found a better sandwich anywhere in the world. The magic comes from the quality of the ingredients – great cheeses, artichokes, olives, the herbs and oils – and the love they seem to put into each one. It’s making my mouth water thinking about it! Bragazzis have, of course, been the king of coffee in Sheffield for many years, but the sandwich does it for me.
View from Skye Edge
Me and my fiancée live just down the round from the best views of Sheffield, and this is where I popped the question just before Christmas (she said yes). Jo and I often go for a walk before bed to debrief on the day, and this is a great place to take in the glittering city at night. We’re very lucky to have so many hills in Sheffield – I’ve always felt our landscapes contribute to the poetic and artistic vibrancy that has been a constant for many years. Skye Edge is a place to think, to unwind, to get inspired, and to remind yourself that there is something bigger than you.
We only recently discovered Manor Lodge a couple of years ago, despite living nearby for six years. The house is most famous for being the prison of Mary, Queen of Scots for 14 years, but the grounds themselves have much more beyond the impressive Tudor ruins. Go past the visitor centre, and you’ll find wild flower meadows, as well as a working farm with pigs and chickens. If you’re after a good fry-up on a Sunday morning, go to the cafe by the farmhouse – it’s spot on. The whole place is an unexpected oasis of calm right in the city.
There has of course been something of a vinyl revival in recent years, and I can’t deny it’s reignited my love for the old format. Spinning Discs on Chesterfield Road specialises in new vinyl (although he does do some second hand), and has become my favourite spot to pick up records. Martin has done a great job in fitting out the store, and curiously, he always seems to stock exactly what I’m after. He’s also nice enough to stock CDs of my band, The Payroll Union, so he can’t be too bad, eh? Recent favourite purchases include Father John Misty, Kendrick Lamar, Mac DeMarco, and Frankie Cosmos.
I must confess, Gerry is my dad, and maybe I’m biased, but I think he does the best bread in Sheffield! His recent venture into breadmaking has been a winner with the good people of Walkley. I think one of his strengths is responding to his customers, and in particular, reaching out to the international flavour Sheffield has. He’s done bread from Sicily, Greece, Ukraine, Guyana, and also does a Jewish Challah bread. More broadly, Walkley is booming, with great new additions to South Road – Tonearm Vinyl, Walkley Beer Co, and Joni. I can’t wait to see what happens with the library, although I think that splits opinion...
Festival of Arts
We’re spoilt for arts festivals in Sheffield, but my favourite has to be the University of Sheffield’s Arts & Humanities Festival.
The sheer variety of the events makes it unique in the city and beyond.
What other festival includes a folk band, electroacoustic pioneers, a Booker Prize-winning author, a lost Broadway musical, cult film screenings, and – I kid you not – a Roman Feast!?
The 2017 lineup is mega.