Grotto end to city's celeb slumber spot

THE days of Sheffield's Grosevnor House Hotel are numbered.

So with this set to be the scruffy landmark's final Christmas local musicians are planning a fitting Yule Tide send off for the city centre building which has provided a bed for numerous stars down the years.

While the exact future of the site is anyone's guess in the current fiscal climate the hotel on Charter Square is due to be demolished to make way for Sheffield's bold new retail quarter.

Before then Tinsel And Turkey on December 6 will feature live sets from Franglais band The Lovers - fresh back from a European tour - and The Cherokees, currently working on music for a film score.

"It's looking like the last ever Christmas at the Grosvenor so we're throwing a party before it's made into a car park," confirms organiser Nigel Renshaw.

"Surely the big building's walls have got a few tales to tell with the likes of Ronnie Wood, BB King, Def Leppard, Spice Girls and even the lovable Ant 'n' Dec to name but a few having stayed there."

DJ Adam Beard is also booked and there will be a Santa's Groping Grotto operating at 1 a grope with all monies collected going to charity.

Advance tickets cost 6 from the venue's second floor reception as well as The Pomona, The Cremorne and The Washington.

Tinsel And Turkey will be the first chance to hear many of the new songs on the new album from The Lovers, currently out on a rationed release but due a full-blown outing in January.

As if being French and living in Sheffield wasn't international enough Fred de Fred and Marion Benoist spread their wings even further for Pardon My French.

They secured the services of Joe Gracey - who has produced Steve Ray Vaughn and Willie Nelson among others - to man the dials. The resident of Austin, Texas was recently in town for a show staged by the Gallic tunesmiths at The Shakespeare with his wife Kimmie Rhodes.

The result is slightly more complex than their self-titled debut; both familiar and alternative - not in the sense the creative couple have gone way off piste this time - but they've certainly skipped some of the familiar traits their live antics have had us accustomed to.

Where their debut was maybe simpler musically it made up for the girth with seediness. That theme continues via the sequel with hefty dollops of humour and, one suspects, deliberate misunderstandings tossed in. See, there's one.

Pardon My French has the pair more playful than ever, from the mischievous but too true Friends – touching on how us blokes just cannot be trusted to be just friends with a tasty lady – to the rockabilly tendencies of the cannily-titled When 69 Becomes 96.

Marion's voice strays from childlike to titillating and the music struts from the tasteful Reverie De Lolita to the Benny Hill daftness of Chikkaboom.

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Striptease 4 Beginners continues the naughtiness, Marion’s implausibly sexy French accent making this curious track a late highlight ahead of a dinky cover of The Cure’s Lovecats and dainty closer La Vie.

At times The Lovers make songs that are the musical equivalent of mini Carry On films, raising a titter here and an eyebrow there. One thing is for sure - they remain one of a kind in Sheffield or anywhere else in this broken land of ours.

n The first 1000 copies are limited edition via Record Collector, Jack’s Records and their website www.voilathelovers.com

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