Sheffield man’s passion for plectrums

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BABY it’s the guitar man – and he’s got the plectrums to prove it.

There’s nothing Franck Henot enjoys more than a good guitar riff.

As a steward and event crew-man at Sheffield City Hall for almost a quarter of a century, Franck has seen more than his fair share of guitar greats.

And, to remind him, he has a collection of more than 550 plectrums used by some of the guitar world’s greatest.

Franck helps to set up the venue for all the shows and has been lucky enough to set the stage for some of his favourite artists.

Franck, who is originally from Le Mans in France, said: “Working at Sheffield City Hall for 24 years and seeing my guitar heroes come and go has been such a privilege.

“I am well known in the building for my plectrum collection! I have more than 550, all collected or passed on from roadies and event crew.

“I have them from Michael Jackson’s Bad Tour, BB King, Lynard Skynard and Joe Satriani – and hopefully I will add to the collection when he returns on June 15.

“I get to see what many fans don’t – setting up, relaxing in the dressing room, and rehearsing some iconic songs, it’s fantastic.”

Franck has lots of anecdotes from his time behind the scenes.

“My favourite memory working here has to be when Eric Clapton played with Phil Collins on drums in 1989,” he said.

“It was not long after I started and me and a few other stewards stayed behind to ensure the crowds had gone after their gig.

“I couldn’t believe it when Phil asked us to go for a drink with them after the show to say thanks. It was brilliant – he was a genuinely nice guy.

“I also remember the crowd going crazy when Ozzy Osbourne threw a bucket of water over them, and Alice Cooper burst a big balloon on stage which had red ink in it. The front row seats were ruined and had to be replaced.”

Now Franck is looking forward to adding a few more plectrums to his impressive collection in the not-too distant future.

This year Sheffield City Hall will feature a line up of guitar-wielding rock star legends – including Joe Satriani, Richard Thompson and Steve Hackett performing on the same stage as the Beatles, T Rex and Led Zeppelin before them.

“This year there is a special buzz around the venue about all the great inspirational guitarists we have coming,” said Franck.

“It is a real privilege to work in such a venue and come into contact in one form or another with these performers.

“Not many people can say that about their job.”