Sheffield show celebrates DIY music scene

Announcing the 2011 season at the Open Air Theatre, which will include Martin Fry with ABC.    picture submitted  19/04/11
Announcing the 2011 season at the Open Air Theatre, which will include Martin Fry with ABC. picture submitted 19/04/11
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IN THE days before talent shows and social media, bands in Sheffield were forced to be inventive to get the word out about their music, creating a DIY culture of homemade fanzines, local gigs and independent record labels.

Now this cottage music industry is being celebrated in a free exhibition created by Sheffield University, taking place at Montgomery Hall on Surrey Street from September 22.

The week-long show - called Do It Thissen - focuses on some of the city’s biggest bands from the post punk era of the late 1970s, including Cabaret Voltaire, Human League and ABC.

Artefacts such as record sleeves, fanzines and photographs from the period will all be on display.

Many of the images have never been seen before in public, including early photos of ABC’s singer Martin Fry dating from 1979.

Dozens of flyers, posters and ticket stubs for gigs at Sheffield venues are also going on show, and a series of events is being planned to coincide with the exhibition.

During the opening night, from 6pm to 8pm, former NMX fanzine editor and ex-DJ Martin Lacey will be giving a talk, while on September 26 there will be a special screening of Eve Wood’s film Made In Sheffield at 8.30pm.

Contemporary artists Tim Allcard, Couk, Lesley Guy and Syd & Mallory, are also showing work inspired by the exhibition throughout the week.

Meanwhile, on September 29, techno artist Alex McLean is putting on an evening performance, turning scans of record sleeves into digital coding to create music.

Event organiser Dr Matthew Cheeseman, a research fellow in the university’s school of English, said: “The material focuses on post-punk and demonstrates links between students and the city, emphasising DIY culture and local labels, set up by people from Sheffield, who created music, made fanzines and put on gigs.

“Everything will be accessible online, including all the photographs, if people can’t make the events.”

Do It Thissen is part of the Festival Of The Mind, billed as a collaboration between the university and other organisations in Sheffield, showcasing the city’s cultural strengths, its civic connections and roots.