PHEW! That was quite a year, wasn’t it? There were elections in the US, France and Egypt but not really in China. Syria descended into civil war and EU talks descended into the usual disagreements.
Pussy Riot were jailed, Rebekah Brooks was bailed, and a London zip-line failed. Which left Boris Johnson hanging half way up. That was during a little something called the Olympics.
But that was proper news for proper news pages, that was. If you’d been reading this here Diary, on the other hand, you may have learned the following facts (part two)...
THE record time for visiting every stop on Sheffield’s Supertram network is 1 hour 38 minutes 47 seconds. As set by Adham Fisher in July.
The Leicester lad is one of a global community of urban rail enthusiasts who attempt to travel between all stops on any given network in the quickest time possible.
He’d already got the record for systems in Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Chicago, Toronto and Nottingham before he took five minutes off a rival’s Sheffield best in July.
Just don’t call the hobby eccentric.
“I would much rather spend 17 hours on London Underground than go up Everest,” the 27-year-old said.
JESS isn’t our only Olympic champion. So too is Richard Ratcliffe. Who’s he? The Upperthorpe bus driver who, in August, took gold in the London Mind Sport Olympics after beating all-comers at the fiendishly complex French board game, Stratego.
The 39-year-old added the gong to four previous world titles won at venues across Europe since 2007.
He didn’t get a civic reception in Barker’s Pool, though.
YOU find the strangest things in old Sheffield grain mills. Such as the entire archive of early recordings by global rock legends Deep Purple. Worth an estimated £1 million.
The master tapes – 250 of them featuring original albums, live tracks and rarities – were secretly stored at renovated Aizlewood’s Mill, in Nursery Street, in 1985.
They were kept there 27 years after super-fan Simon Robinson simply asked band managers if he could look after them.
“Before they were in a leaking London warehouse where the door was left unlocked,” explained the 57-year-old of Stannington in August. “I said ‘Let me look after them properly’, and they agreed.”
The tapes have now been moved to Abbey Road Studios.
GOING to every pub in Sheffield takes a while.
Eight years to be exact. Or, at least, that’s how long it took Jamie Thompson and Dave Semmens.
The pair decided to have a sup in every city boozer back in 2004. In October this year, they finished the mammoth effort with a beer in The Crown, Totley. They’d visited 523 hostelries in all.
“Am I proud?” pondered Jamie, 33, of Intake. “I know it’s just a small thing but yeah I am.”
“We got some strange looks,” admitted David, also 33, of Wakefield. “Friends would ask if you wanted to go into town and you had to say ‘No thanks, I’m off to some horrible pub in Stocksbridge’.”
SWINGERS clubs are a bit like Cheers. Apparently. That is to say: everyone’s friendly, and everyone soon knows your name.
“We just happen to like getting intimate with each other too,” noted one woman when The Diary visited La Chambre, in Attercliffe, in November.
We were there to report as the venue – designed for open-minded couples who like to frolic with different partners – celebrated its 15th anniversary.
The club, the oldest of its kind in the UK, was opened by 62-year-old Barry Calvert and wife Marie, 60, in 1997.
“These days we have a bigger bar, a better disco and a torture rack,” noted Barry.
SHEFFIELD girls make great cheerleaders.
As proven when Hallam Cheer qualified for the World University Cheerleading Championship in Florida.
The 22-woman squad – made up of undergraduatres and postgrads from Hallam Uni – are the only UK side to make it to the 30-team competition in January 2013.
They’ve spent the last nine months practising and perfecting a routine which will last just two and a half minutes. And which they’ll perform just once.
“It’s not like playing football where you have 90 minutes to get it right,” said 23-year-old team member Jade March.