It’s easy to overlook the importance of local media in an active regional music scene. Martin Lilleker at the Star/Telegraph and Jane Kitson (Radio Sheffield) are both sadly lost to us, but were pillars of support for local bands.
Another “old timer” is Rony Robinson, stepping down from his job as Radio Sheffield daytime presenter after an uninterrupted run since 1984. During that time he’s given exposure to a wide range of local artists and musicians. He attended King Edward VII School and won a scholarship to Keble College, Oxford, where he studied history. He published his first novel in 1971 and has many more to his name.
Twice resident playwright at The Crucible Theatre, he has had over a hundred plays produced all over the country. He also writes children’s poetry and plays and writes songs for the autoharp. In 1999 he received an honorary doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University. Most important of all, he’s a Bladesman! His parting words – “I’m closing my fader. I didn’t expect to get away with it for 40 years.”
SMA’s Nick featured many times on his show over the years and says “Rony is a charming and much-respected local hero – his shows were always engaging and light years away from some of the anodyne, self-congratulatory tosh that often crops up on local radio.”
We wish him well in his retirement.
While the world jived to post Punk and New Wave, the Sheffield Polytechnic crowd were getting down to the sounds of Flyte, and a happening disco fronted by DJ Tony Prince! Prince was actually an important character having been at Radio Luxembourg after the demise of the pirate radio stations, and he used to do a road show in his spare time. I confess I’m not sure who the band Flyte are, providing live entertainment. The web suggests there was a Belgium prog rock band of that name working at the time but there have been others. So if you know do get in touch. This must have been one of the first events at the newly built Phoenix Hall Union building.
courtesy of Simon Laffoley
Our A-Z of local record shops covers Wilson & Pecks, a music and record and ticket shop many Sheffielders will remember with much fondness. But sifting through a pile of old newspapers Simon borrowed off a neighbour these amazing adverts showed up, which confirm the history of the business.
In an issue of the local paper dated 1891, both Arthur Wilson and Pecks and advertising pianos and other keyboards from their separate businesses in the city centre. Then just six years in 1897 later we found the first advert for Wilson, Peck and Co’s celebrated Piano and Organ Showrooms.
We are fairly certain this was Sheffield’s oldest established music shop by the time is finally closed in the 1980s. If any members of the family are out there do get in touch as it would be great to learn more about the business (though Simon was once told that sadly all their papers were thrown into a skip when they left the city centre shop). If you worked there and especially if you have any photographs do get in touch.
pic by Sharon Lee
I’m trying to find some information about “Sound Recording Studios”, formerly at unit 19, Trades Hall, Charles Street. I’ve found an old tape recorded by a local musician there in 1966. Does anyone have any memories?
Deborah Egan (vocals) / Mick Wilson (viola) / Virginia Duff (percussion and vocals) / Vicky Aspinall (violin) / Mary Jenner (violin). A post-punk band originally from Sheffield. The group were an electric string quartet fronted by a lead vocalist with an instrumental line-up which consisted of violin, viola, cello, and assorted percussion. The group was dominantly female and included some of the seminal female names of the late UK punk period. Jenner became a bassist for Leeds art house group The Mekons whilst Duff went on to become a television producer alongside columnist and partner Victor Lewis-Smith. Egan formed twelve piece The Mysterons and politically charged cabaret duo The Diplomats.
The name was taken from the name of a chapter in an Angela Carter novel. Acrobats of Desire were a mainstay of Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They recorded and broadcast for the BBC2 Late Show, STV and Tyne Tees Television. Their last performance was at Futurama 1981 supporting Siouxsie and the Banshees and Echo and the Bunnymen while in turn were supported by a band from Dublin called U2. Their EP, Parking Boys (Desire Records DES001) was recorded and produced by Camel’s Andy Latimer at Foel Studio in Wales. It entered the independent charts in the UK and Italy it was featured by John Peel on his show.