Jarvis Cocker in Marks and Spencer?

Sheffield. Load in day.

Checked out of the Hotel Very Fabulous Indeed this morning and so discovered the cost of my accidental laundry incident on Sunday. Laundering those few items cost the sum total of £80.17

Got on the train and took the two hour trip north to Sheffield. I grew up here and this is the first time U2 have played here in 17 years, so this is going to be a very special gig for me. I have at least 30 guests coming, so have come in early to try to make some semblance of a plan. I'm also staying the night after the show, rather than doing the runner with the rest of the band posse, so hopefully I'll have time to socialise just a little.

This is only the third time I've worked with U2 in Sheffield, the others being at the arena on Zoo TV in 1992 and at the City Hall on the War Tour in 1983. As a punter I did also see U2 play the Lyceum here on the October tour in 1981, but I never saw them at the legendary 'Limit' club here prior to that, as I had already headed to London to gatecrash my own punk rock fantasy.

This was my first visit to Don Valley Stadium, which was built for the World Student Games (apparently there is such a thing) and when the definitive catalogue of global architectural marvels is compiled it's a dead cert that this building won't be in it. However, it was a beautiful evening and I achieved what I needed to do (mostly consisting of planning guest strategy for tomorrow). Back at the crew hotel those who had finished their day's toil were gathering to socialise over adult beverages. The hotel is right in the city centre in an area which has been rebuilt a couple of times since I was a lad. Like most cities, Sheffield's planners made some terrible decision over the years, but they made at least an equal number of smart ones that have left the place in a pretty good state and seems to be riding out the recession. One of the most charming parts of the city is the 'Peace Gardens' - a space of stone, greenery, fountains and water features - dedicated to the memory of the victims of Hiroshima.

The crew hotel bar has a terrace that overlooks the Peace Gardens where I sat with my comrades in the balmy early evening sunshine. The sky was blue, birds sang, kids were running in and out of the fountains and I had to pinch myself to believe that this was really my home town, at once so very familiar and yet completely alien. I felt irrationally proud of comments from the assembled crew as to how beautiful it all was, as I confess I didn't have any personal input into the scheme. With a stranger's eyes though, you might quite take to the place, as long as you were sitting with your back to the preposterous giant ferris wheel which has appeared on the other side of the town hall.

Guitar tech Phil made me laugh. He said that as soon as he got to Sheffield he went round the corner to get something from W.H.Smiths (book store) and saw Phil Oakey from The Human League in there. '...and I thought, 'I wonder if Jarvis Cocker is hanging out in Marks & Spencer.'

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13 September, 2009
Great Bands from Sheffield
Loved the backing tape, while the stage was being set for U2 - all Sheffield/Rotherham bands (incl. Human League). Anything to do with you Willie?
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