No One Talks: Highs and lows of life on Sheffield's famous Park Hill estate inspire new album

Christopher Hawkins, of Sheffield band North Machine, whose debut album No One Talks was inspired by the city's famous Park Hill estate.Christopher Hawkins, of Sheffield band North Machine, whose debut album No One Talks was inspired by the city's famous Park Hill estate.
Christopher Hawkins, of Sheffield band North Machine, whose debut album No One Talks was inspired by the city's famous Park Hill estate. | Christopher Hawkins
No One Talks, by North Machine, is a soaring tribute to the Park Hill flats which have dominated the city's skyline for more than 60 years.

Sheffield’s famous 'streets in the sky' have inspired a new album celebrating the 'compassion and humanity' of those living there.

No One Talks, by North Machine, is a soaring tribute to the Park Hill flats which have dominated the city's skyline for more than 60 years.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
No One Talks, the debut album by Sheffield's North Machine, which was inspired by the city's famous Park Hill flats.No One Talks, the debut album by Sheffield's North Machine, which was inspired by the city's famous Park Hill flats.
No One Talks, the debut album by Sheffield's North Machine, which was inspired by the city's famous Park Hill flats. | North Machine

The band's debut album took flight from the poetry of a former resident who experienced some of Park Hill's toughest times as it descended into the mire of crime and anti-social behaviour, before its remarkable revival.

Album celebrates 'compassion and humanity' of people who lived at Park Hill

North Machine's founder Christopher Hawkins explained how he discovered Rowan Blair Colver's work and was struck by the 'sharp contrast between the sprawling brutalist concrete structure of Park Hill and his beautiful, heartfelt poetry'. "What stands out to me is that above all Rowan points to the compassion and humanity of the people who lived there," he added. "His words became the spark for North Machine’s first album.

"The album is really a reflection of humanity; something which shines out of the poetry and stirred some profoundly deep and personal reflections in me.

"It’s also about contrasts – which is one of the things I love about Sheffield. A city of steel, surrounded by green hills and trees. A place of down-to-earth grafters, but also of culture and amazing diversity."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Christopher teamed up with Sheffield producer James Bacon and singer-songwriter Jody Davies on the album, which also features the guitarist and singer Wayne Hussey, of The Mission, Sisters of Mercy, Dead or Alive.

Album features rumbling of trains at the station below

They attempted to embody Park Hill's 'brutalist vibe' through the use of 'big crunchy guitar sounds and synth electronics', set against delicate melodies symbolising the 'human warmth' of the flats' inhabitants, with the wailing of distant sirens and the rumbling of trains at the station below adding to the atmosphere.

Christopher Hawkins, of Sheffield band North Machine, whose debut album No One Talks was inspired by the city's famous Park Hill estate.Christopher Hawkins, of Sheffield band North Machine, whose debut album No One Talks was inspired by the city's famous Park Hill estate.
Christopher Hawkins, of Sheffield band North Machine, whose debut album No One Talks was inspired by the city's famous Park Hill estate. | Christopher Hawkins

The album also takes inspiration from the estate's iconic 'I Love You Will U Marry Me' graffiti, which Christopher calls an 'enduring message of love and hope in increasingly difficult times'. There is a tragic tale behind the grand romantic gesture, and Christopher said: "I wanted to write something that is sensitive and respectful to the people involved."

Park Hill has been a muse to many musicians and artists before, most notably as the setting for the acclaimed musical Standing At The Sky's Edge, featuring music by Richard Hawley.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.