City bands are back on the beat

Credit:  Eve Wood
Credit: Eve Wood

THE documentary, The Beat is the Law, is giving exposure to the Sheffield musical scene around the world.

Covering the mid-Eighties to the late Nineties, it was originally produced as a two-part DVD which has been screened in the UK on Sky Arts and has now been edited down into a 90-minute version for international audiences by film-makers Eve and Richard Wood of Sheffield Vision.

Part one ended with a disillusioned Jarvis Cocker leaving Sheffield for London and Part Two shows Pulp finally making it after years of struggle but also covers the emergence of the dance scene through Fon Records which itself eventually went under.

“That’s of great interest to people who know the scene in Sheffield but we thought if we were going to get this shown outside the UK it needed to put Pulp much more to the fore,” says director Eve Wood.

“So we end the film on a high with Jarvis’s appearance at Glastonbury in 1995.

“But we also tell the story of the Longpigs who were also expected to get to the top but for various reasons never made it. We tell their parallel stories.’’

The new final version of the film The Beat is the Law - Fanfare for the Common People had its UK official premiere at Leeds Town Hall at the Leeds Film Festival earlier this month and is also screening around North America in LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Montreal so far, where it has been well received.

This month it is at the Taipee Golden Horse Film festival in Taiwan, one of the biggest festivals in South East Asia, and at the Play International Music and Film Festival in Amsterdam.

The location of the screenings this Friday and Sunday in the Melkweg has special significance for Sheffield music, bands and artists and especially for the filmmakers themselves.

Martin F Bedford, one of the founders of The Leadmill (originally based on the concept of the Melkweg), who is interviewed in The Beat is the Law, is exhibiting some of the artwork for his posters promoting gigs throughout the Eighties and giving a talk at the festival.

Various Sheffield bands featured in the film played at the Melkweg during that Eighties/ Nineties period, including Hula, In The Nursery, Chakk, The Longpigs, Pulp and Artery (who featured in previous film Made In Sheffield).

And Eve (who is Dutch) and Richard Wood (who is from Sheffield) used to live in Amsterdam during the Nineties and have vivid memories of Pulp and The Longpigs in 1995 at the Melkweg.

Eve is taking part in a Q & A after the Friday screening.


Ian Soutar