ABC of Sheffield pop

Dr Matt Cheeseman by his collection of vinyl records  is putting on an exhibition called Do It These
Dr Matt Cheeseman by his collection of vinyl records is putting on an exhibition called Do It These

AN EXHIBITION of the time in the late 70s and early 80s when Sheffield was at the cutting edge of the national music scene is to be staged in the city over a week in September.

Record sleeves, fanzines, photographs, posters, ticket stubs and even the original sign from the Crazy Daizy nightclub in High Street will be on show at the exhibition, which will chart the progress of local musicians such as Cabaret Voltaire, Human League, Clock DVA, ABC, Artery and They Must Be Russians.

Reflecting the musical surge in the Steel City in the wake of punk, ‘Do It Thissen’ will be staged at the Montgomery Hall in Surrey Street, opposite the side of the Town Hall, from September 22 to 30.

It is part of the University of Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind – a collaboration between the university and the city.

Event organiser Dr Matthew Cheeseman, a research fellow in the School of English, says: “The material focuses on post-punk and demonstrates links between students and the city, emphasising DIY culture and local labels, set up by people from Sheffield, who created music, made fanzines and put on gigs.

“Everything will be accessible online if people can’t make the events, including all the photographs.”

Highlights of the free exhibition include exclusive pictures of many of the era’s bands, including ABC lead singer Martin Fry who graduated in 1979 and recently received an honorary doctorate. The picture was taken by fellow alumnus Mark Morreau for student newspaper, Darts.

On Saturday, September 29, from 6pm until 8pm, Sensoria will be launching a musical map of the city, featuring bands throughout the ages, including Richard Hawley, the Arctic Monkeys, as well a performance by “live coder” Alex McLean, who will be turning scans of record sleeves featured in the event into digital coding to create techno music.

Contemporary artists Tim Allcard, Couk, Lesley Guy and Syd & Mallory, will show their work – inspired by the exhibition – and DJ Jon Downing, one of the curators of the event, will be performing throughout the week as well as valuing visitors’ own memorabilia.

At the opening on Saturday, September 22, from 6pm to 8pm Martin Lacey, editor of NMX fanzine, and a former DJ at the Student Union’s Now Society, will be guest speaker and there will be be a showing of Eve Wood’s film, Made In Sheffield, in the Festival of the Mind’s spiegeltent in Barker’s Pool on Wednesday, September 26 at 8.30pm.

Matt, aged 35, says the exhibition “is definitely not just for people who were there. It’s about that Sheffield spirit – which still exists today – of saying I’m going to create and I don’t care if I only have a couple of friends and a drum machine to do it. It’s a celebration of that ethos which says you don’t need to go out and ram alcohol down your neck to have a good time.”

It’s a historic exhibition, adds Matt. “But if we could inspire a couple of people to pick up guitars in 2012 that would be amazing.”