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LaDIYFest 2012 Weekender (2nd/3rd/4th November)

October 18, 2012

Thought I’d let you all know about a fantastic group I’ve recently got involved in, and our biggest event of the year which is coming up real soon!

The LaDIYFest weekender is a once-a-year gathering (though we are active throughout the year as well, putting on gigs and things) of feminists of all stripes where you can come to meet other feminists, learn about different feminist perspectives, or even learn for the first time if you’re just feminism-curious.

Sheffielders should expect a packed weekend of lively discussion, new ideas, and plenty of thinking, ranting, plotting, joking and dancing.

This year the event is raising money for two important local organisations: Survivors of Depression in Transition (SODIT) and Young Women’s Housing Project (YWHP). SODIT helps women who have suffered from depression and mental health illness to move on in their lives. Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression, so LaDIYfest Sheffield believes that mental health is very much a feminist issue. YWHP provides safe accommodation for young women who have been affected by sexual violence, as well as supporting women survivors living independently, and leading activities and workshops to help women to recover. We put a lot of consideration into choosing our charities and are proud to be fundraising for two groups that do such valuable work.

The LaDIYFest programme is coming together a treat, with a crossover event with Off The Shelf festival on Friday night at The Harland Cafe ( where Juliet Jacques (from ‘My Transgender Journey’ as featured in The Guardian), will be giving a talk on media representations of trans people. There will be time for question and answers and Juliet will be sticking around afterwards too. Saturday daytime ( sees a whole host of workshops at the Quaker Meeting House including, ‘Why Disability Matters to Feminists’, ‘Making Sense of Consent’, ‘Women and Working Class Struggle Politics’, ‘Hollaback! Sheffield: Anti-Street Harassment’, ‘Body Mapping and Body Image’, ‘Feminist Craftivism’, ‘Confidence and Assertiveness: Making a Start’, ‘Why Women Travel: Abortion and Ireland’, ‘LGBTQ: Writing For Our Lives’, ‘Mindfulness’. There will be distros and stalls from a range of local groups, including: Archives of Activism ● Young Women’s Housing Project ● Survivors of Depression in Transition ● Feminist and Queer Zines ● Hidden Perspectives: Queering the Bible.

We will have a children’s space supervised by volunteers with activities scheduled throughout the day, including: Pom-pom making ● Firework pictures ● Leaf rubbing ● Animal masks ● Play dough monsters ● Rocket making ● Hand drawing.

Saturday night brings a party at Penelope’s with live music and DJs, (

And if you’re not completely knackered, there’s still a full day of awesomeness back at The Harland on Sunday ( including music from Izzy Isgate, Oxo Foxo, and Nancy Richardson. Spoken word from Cassie Killah and Mightyy Kerri Leigh + Sam Catbear will be doing crafty things! Other activities to be confirmed are: feminist quiz, short film screenings, more poetry readings!

Leaving Sheffield – Poetry by Edd Mustill

October 14, 2012

I thought I’d reblog this post by a friend of mine – Edd. He’s a Sheffielder who’s recently moved back to London for a job and is feeling kinda homesick. I know we have a lot of ‘ex-pats’ who read this, so this is for you, and of course, for Edd – whose poetry is sublime and you can catch more of it here:

I recently left Sheffield, here’s a barely completed piece I’ve worked on, posted because I’m feeling homesick.

From Steel City

“The bottle’s half empty
And the glass is half full
The people outside us
They never understood.”

Harrisons, Blue Note

“If it hadn’t rained so much
That the seven hills became seven seas.”

Monkey Swallows the Universe, Sheffield Shanty

“And you can pour your heart out at around three o’clock
When the two-for-one’s undone the writer’s block.”

Arctic Monkeys, The View from the Afternoon

“Everything you want to be
And even everything that you dream of
Is inside you.”

Bison, You Are My Smile

“How was London? How was Crete
How was Amsterdam and gay Paris
How was Barcelona and Sicily
And did you spare a little thought for me?”

Little Man Tate, European Lover

“So I’ll see you when I see you
Yeah I’ll see you again.”

Milburn, Last Bus

With every footstep
I’m scraping towards a vantage point
Because before I leave
I want to see all the streets
I’ve never walked down
And before I leave
I want the bellowing hammers of the Don Valley
To bowl me over backwards
And before I leave
I want the shaking sound of a five-string acoustic
(because the b-string broke before payday)
To rasp up above the arts tower
From every bar on Division Street

Tell me you’re not letting me go for good
And I won’t be so sad
Tell me you’re not letting me go for good
That you’ll see me
At Christmas and I’ll tag
Your trees with a nonsense signature
That you’ll help me ring in the new year
With snowballs and whiskey in Meersbrook
With heavy ale cannonballs across
Chesterfield Road
Tell me you’re not
Tell me
Tell me I’ll be back
That I can come back whenever
Whenever I need you
That I’ll drink in the Lescar
The Sheaf View The Fat Cat
When I’m boxed into winter’s corner

Sometimes I think this is
A mess of dirt tracks in the wilderness
Sometimes I think this is
The centre of the world

If the scarred and crapped-out
Paths of my youth are
Visible under the tarmac
Scratching their way past
UNITE blocks and the shuttered-up Boardwalk
Where the metal string ghosts
Hum their grateful two-pounds-on-the-door tunes
Down to the griping traffic at Lady’s Bridge

If they empty out into the Don like a sewer
I’ll pick through the waste
I’ll tip over your bins
And tickle your underbelly
Like we all used to do
And I’ll never leave
I’ll never leave
Never never


the incredible nutshell

July 19, 2012
The rather faded “In a nutshell” on Chesterfield road was there for as long as I can remember, and was a great place for veggies and health food fans to grab a few essentials. Unfortunately though as time went on, the lady who owned it grew older and more tired and with it, grumpy. It was because of this that I didn’t care too much for the shabby little shop with its worn around the edges sign and staff.
But all this has changed!
The brand new “The Incredible Nutshell” comes with a huge array of exciting new ingredients and enthusiastic and friendly staff too! It’s spacious and well organised produce is appealing to the eye and tummy, plus its vintage décor really adds a characteristic charm to the place, and the unusual window display really catches peoples eye and draws them inside.
The new owner is keen to keep things as local as possible, from the fresh cat lane bread, to  rescue battery hens eggs from a local lady and another Pakistani  woman from the refugee centre at st marys who makes authentic onion bhajis. They are looking into adding honey and organic vegetables to the exciting range of foods including the more adventurous ingredients such as sumac, miso and coconut oil. Certainly a wider range compared to your usual health food store.
Plus they are the only place in Sheffield to sell happy kitchen brownies, my favourite! Get yourself down there, if it’s sunny then take a seat outside and enjoy a cat lane scone or authentic Pakistani bhaji washed down with a refreshing healthy drink.

The rude shipyard review

July 8, 2012

If you were to ask me for three qualities that make a perfect cafe I would say amazing cake, lovely staff and the observer newspaper with a proper home made breakfast on a Sunday. Oh and a unique charm,  and tranquil atmosphere…and new and interesting music every time you visit…and hundreds and hundreds of books! OK, I got slightly carried away there, the reason being is that The Rude Shipyard possess all of the above in abundance!

There is nothing as special as an independent local bookshop. The selection of books there is vast and varied with each one deserving an appreciative home. For me, its a ‘home away from home’ as I’m there almost every other day. No other place in Sheffield has such a relaxed ambiance with the most genuinely lovely staff. They make every visitor whether young, old, strange or curious feel like a valued friend. 

This oasis of bookish tranquillity also hosts regular live music gigs (including the incredibly popular cupids in nooses anti valentines festival), free wifi, a book club, whiskey and drinking songs nights and Thursday supper to name a few exciting happenings.

Back to the food…not only do they serve self proclaimed hugs made of cakes, they also do a amazing breakfast on a Sunday with local sausages and bacon and home made soda bread. In the week you can find varying delights always including unusual sandwiches, soups and salads, plus the greenest hummus and more substantial meals such as burritos, curries and tortillas. Vegan and gluten free options are available.

If that wasn’t enough they also have a delicatessen where you can purchase home made dukkah or hot chocolate with mahlep, as well as aubergine pickle, hazelnut oil, smoked salt and paprika and much more.

The Rude Shipyard feels like one of those undiscovered gems that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves. I want to keep it to myself and yet I feel it is only fair to share it with you. It never fails to intrigue, inform and refresh me with every visit so I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as I do. Go check them out!

Queer Times: Pride and LaDIYFest

June 8, 2012

Well hello blogosphere, long time no see.

Komal, Aurore and I have been super busy over the last few months. That hasn’t really subsided but I still thought a bit of blogging might be a good thing.

Saturday gone was Sheffield Pride, the second one I’ve been to, and the first that charged on the gate (three English pounds, as I recall).

The best thing about this year (for me at least) was that it was the first year that there was a Pride march (rather than just the festival), starting around Pomona Street (I would say ‘at the Pomona’, but apparently it’s been renamed) and finishing up in the park. I was running late, after viewing a house (I’m moving soon), and was dashing down past the DVLA when the most gaudy, balloon-covered, drag queen-filled party float I’ve ever seen (but then, I haven’t been to San Francisco) came round the corner. I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear, and as it slowly went past, everyone gave me a wave. The float belonged to Affinity, a relatively new gay club in Sheffield (apparently it’s a blast, though I haven’t made it down).

On a whim, and knowing I was running late, I shouted ‘Can I have a lift?’ and to my surprise, they all shouted ‘Yes!’ and helped me on to the back of the float. So off we went down Ecclesall Road, dancing to the Cheeky Girls. We soon went past my friend Heather, who couldn’t help but laugh, but I pulled her up too, and we had lots of fun dancing all the way up, whilst also thinking we should probably be marching with the trade union contingents tailing the float.

Heather and Me ‘floating’ up Eccy Road on the Affinity float…

Some of our fellow revellers…

Waving to our adoring public.

Once we got to the park, we hopped off and carried on our day. I’m really not convinced by the Pride committee’s decision to start charging for the event, but I can imagine it keeps things under control. There were lots of stalls, mostly from liberation groups, political campaigns and various charities around, though I was extremely disappointed with the range of food on offer (burger, hot dog or hog roast anyone?) – with the brilliant range of mobile food available in Sheffield (where were Yabba, the Street Food Chef, etc?) it was very disappointing that I ended up with a cheese and onion panini.

There was a pretty funky looking inflatable bowel (warts and all), which you could climb inside and take an STI test and get some free condoms. Pretty clever though god knows where that idea came from!

Music was the usual, awful cover bands that seem to please noone. I’m not sure why gay events always put on this stuff, does anyone actually enjoy it? Surely some Sheffield-based bands (of which there are many) would be better? Most people seemed to head down the DJ tent pretty sharpish.

I think it is fair to say that Sheffield’s ‘gay scene’ (yuck, hate that term) is pretty young still compared with, say, Manchester and hopefully it will keep getting better year on year.

The following photos are very gratefully taken from my friend Emily Hammerton-Barry (affectionately known as ‘Hammertime’)’s collection. She’s a very talented photographer and filmmaker, now based in Sheffield, though these photos were taken on her phone!

Rhythms of Resistance (apparently a split from the Sheffield Samba Band – who knew)

Activists on the march on Ecclesall Road

Heather, me, and my ridiculous face.

Sheffield Fire Service repping for LGBT firepeoples everywhere

More revellers

This is the Affinity float I was on.

Emily and some other friends and I made a beeline for the LaDIYFest tent which was hosting a discussion on gendered language, swearing, linguistics, and more specifically the ‘C word’. The discussion was very interesting although I don’t feel my analysis was particularly well thought out (despite my militant feminism, I have a filthy mouth and say a lot of things that aren’t particularly progressive).

LaDIYFest, if you don’t know, is a Sheffield based initiative started in 2011 building towards a day event (the first was last Autumn, the next is in November). The LaDIYers describe themselves as ‘LaDIYfest Sheffield is an inclusive, DIY, anti-capitalist, community-based feminist collective’, but for my mind queer feminism seems to sum up the whole thing, with a smattering of anarcho/socialist feminism too. We went down to one of their events – a pre-pride special – on Friday at the Harland Cafe (what a lovely place – another write up coming soon I’m sure!) on John Street.

It was a night of Queer centric poetry, music, and spoken word, with some great little ‘zines on sale and some CDs too. I had a big fat chip butty (nice chips, Harland) and some raspberry lemonade, though they also had ales and wine on sale and a full bar.

I arrived quite late, but in time to see some pretty funny spoken word from Chella Quint, about marriage and gay partnerships. My views on gay marriage are probably a little more ‘anti-all-marriage’, rather than spending a lot of time and energy on making an innately problematic institution queer-friendly, but I am still in favour of marriage equality. I didn’t get a chance to have a chat on these views but maybe she’ll be around soon to have the discussion?

It was a great evening all round, and we rounded it off chair dancing to 90s house in the Cremorne.

Castle Market

October 15, 2011

If you fancy a bit of Urbexing (and I do, at some point), but don’t have the guts for it, spend an afternoon, like we did, snooping around Castle Market.

In my mind, from the exterior, Castle Market is something of a monstrosity. A ridiculous hodge-podge of ugly concrete and faded signage, closed walkways and bridges and dingy staircases. Plenty of dark corners bring to mind a place you don’t want to spend much time after dark.

Go inside then, and it’s another world. A bustling labyrinth where even regular visitors like myself struggle to find a) the toilets or b) the way out, it’s pretty clear that Sheffield City Council gave up on this place a long time ago. For every thriving small shop there’s an empty unit or in fact, a whole closed off section. The entire block upstairs from Wilkinsons is completely blocked off, and yet a peek through the window from this upstairs walkway:

Shows all the frontages are still there. This place, though it looks derelict, is right next to a still open hair salon (though one where not one of the appliances looked less than twenty years old).

The ever vibrant ‘SPAG’ – Sheffield Pensioners Action Group, who have been heavily involved in Sheffield Anti Cuts Alliance and the Trades Council, have their office up there. The Credit Union next door is now closed, and has moved to Commercial Street. I love their sign, and their motto.

Also dead keen on this sign for Sharon’s. It really is a bit of a time warp. Horlicks, Dripping cake and boiled ham. Yorkshire phrases like ‘pop’ also go down a treat. I’d love to bring one of my American friends here to see if they could decipher it…

I liked this little guy, guarding the ‘nanas.

These figs were lovely and ripe today, and for four for a quid you can’t go wrong! Yum!

There’s a much more comprehensive write up of the market, and lots more pictures too, check out this great article over at ‘Nothing to See Here‘ or the  photos of the same author on Flickr. Edit: For a great review of the food market (brilliant by the way, and MAHOOSIVE pumpkins for just £2.49!), see this great post by Clare Tollick, aka FeastAndGlory.

I’ll be going back soon for more pictures and snooping around.

Rosie @ LS

Notes From My Childhood

September 6, 2011

With an early evening to spare today, and needing a bit of a walk, I took my two feet and fuzzy head through Nether Edge in a quest to see some parts of my locality I haven’t visited in a very long time.

It’s often the case that the nearer things are, the less likely you are to visit them. I think that explains the conversation I had with some people on Friday night in the pub – people who’d been to South America, Africa, the far reaches of the Earth, but none of them had ever been to Paris (fools).

My first stop was to the old Merlin Theatre site, which, having originally been a Rudolf Steiner school, throughout the 90s was an independent theatre, where I remember seeing a production of Alice in Wonderland as a child, and the Angel Brothers later on.

The current status of the theatre is something of a mystery. It has now been bought back into the Steiner community, and is now owned by the Freeman college. It was empty this afternoon, when I managed to walk in and have a good snoop around the grounds, though sadly new gates meant I was unable to get beyond Tintagel house to the rest of the gardens (where the Green Fair used to be). Local signage still indicates the existence of the theatre, but the internet seems to have swallowed any history up.

The building seems to have been renovated somewhat, but my shots are a little dull I’m afraid.

It seems a little odd that the site is now so nondescript after such vivid memories. I hope that Freeman does the right thing and reopens the theatre for it’s original purpose.

Afterwards I walked up through Nether Edge, towards Brincliffe Edge. On the way I passed Nether Edge hospital, where I was born. It’s now home to CAMHS and the Speech and Language Therapy services. It’s such a grand building I’m quite happy that it was the first place I ever saw.

Outside was an Edwardian Post box. For some reason I always clock the era of each one I see. Sheffield’s are largely modern with a lot of George VI too. This is quite rare, and I love the flourished ‘E’.

Passing some truly stunning stone mansions and cottages (nether edge has the most beautiful houses and streets in Sheffield, by far), I walked up to Chelsea Park, which is known on Google Maps as Brincliffe Tower public park. Brincliffe Towers is in fact a residential care home these days, with some ugly 70s pebbledash flats tacked on to the side. The original part of the building is quite pretty still, and makes the small park look like a front garden.

The park itself, despite being the nearest to where I live, is somewhere I haven’t visited for around 16 years. We used to visit when I was little for their annual bonfire night celebrations, which I believe are still run now. The park is a charming little oasis which is full of dogs and their owners, and has some very old trees and some nice picnicking lawn.

This all felt a bit ‘Secret Garden’.

This statue from the Nether Edge neighbourhood group is one of the nicest pieces of public art I can think of.

It cheered me up, and walking back down Nether Edge road led me to some local veggies from Zed on the Edge. You may be surprised (considering the nature of this blog) that I think localism is bollocks as an ethical or economic model, but it’s nice to be able to get cheaper veg from near where I live (when Tesco is so expensive).

What are the places you all remember from your childhood?