... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Village shops

It is often said that Sheffield is a collection of villages (it's often said about London too, and quite possibly every other city in the country too, though London must surely be a collection of small to medium sized towns). Of Sheffield though, well, parts of it at any rate, it is certainly true. And I live in a very nice village called Broomhill. It is by all accounts one of the nicest bits of Sheffield, and I ended up here completely by chance, having searched Rightmove for places within a mile of the office when I first got the job here.

It is well provided with shops, and for what Broomhill can't provide (knitting wool, mung beans), there is Crookes a mile or so up the road (with a fine selection of charity shops) and of course the city centre a couple of miles down the hill.

I have been making a conscious effort to utilise the local shops, as I have mentioned before, in particular Fruit-A-Peel, who are now experimentally stocking tinned tomatoes and chickpeas too. And on Friday I plucked up the courage to enter the record shop, Record Collector. I don't know why it should take a lot of courage as much of my adolescence was spent haunting the second hand record shops of Brighton as my mother sought to feed a burgeoning Dylan habit. I still can't see a rack of LPs without flicking through in search of a mono Blonde on Blonde.

So in I went, as if I did that sort of thing every day (it helped that the doors were open in the sunshine), and quickly located the 'folk and world music' section. Navigating it was a little trickier; it was alphabetical after a fashion but utterly random other than that, new and second hand CDs, folk and world, all jumbled together. I found a couple that were of slight interest, and next time I want a new CD I shall go to Record Collector* rather than Amazon - but I didn't see anything where interest and price converged at the right point.... until I gradually became aware that right in my line of sight was a second hand copy of June Tabor and the Oysterband's 1990 collaboration Freedom and Rain - the very record I have been looking for and what's more, only £3.

They got together again last year (or was it the year before) and produced Ragged Kingdom - my absolute favourite record of the year, albeit with two excruciating tracks which did not make it onto the pod. If you're familiar with the album I'm sure you can guess which they are. We went with Baz and Izzi to see them in Bexhill last year and it was a stunning show (not least because of Ms Tabor's entrancingly fabulous coat). What presence that tiny, sixty five year old woman has, and what a voice. I already had a lot of her solo albums, but hadn't come across Freedom and Rain, and though it was on sale at the concert, I bought a T-shirt instead. After the concert, which included a lot of material from the earlier album, was over of course I wanted to buy it, but the sales table was now overwhelmed with crowds and we needed to get away, so I thought, I'll just get it off Amazon... Well, I see you can get it for six quid now, but when I last looked there was nothing under sixteen, so I didn't. Which has turned out for the best.

Next challenge: the butchers

*I was going to put a link to their website, but it's very aggressive with its cookies, so I shan't.


  1. My mother comes from Grenoside, which still calls itself a "village". Certainly in the 1960s it still felt like one, although in those days it was outside the Sheffield city boundary, as the locals were always quick to point out, whilst taking advantage of everything the city had to offer.

    By the way, I have a mono Blonde on Blonde. At least I assume it's mono as it doesn't say "stereo" on the label or the sleeve. In 1966 you had to wait a few weeks for the stereo version to be released and I never could.

    It's yours if you want it!


  2. Good choice of record!
    You calling June a tiny sixty five year old woman makes me feel really ancient! Years ago when we were very involved with helping run a folk festival we had June to stay for the duration. After her austere persona on stage we were a tad scared but she was lovely and a delight to have as a guest.
    Sitting here thinking about it makes me realise that was nearly 40 years ago! Ouch!
    Kath (nb Herbie)

  3. It's OK Jim, you hang onto it - I think it's pretty rare.

  4. Just looked on ebay and I see what you mean!
    I had no idea.

  5. Grenoside still has a village feel. We live just down the hill in Foxhill. Although the city boundary has now moved to include Grenoside!!