September 2017


In a world filled with  negativity I recently found something to be positive about: The Peddler Night Market in Sheffield. Street food, craft beer, live music & art. I’ve been aware of its existence for some time but never visited. However, on the first Friday of this month, Deaf Crows were playing, a blues/rock duo from Sheffield featuring my son and my best mate’s son. They were playing at 9.45 so we got down there about half an hour earlier. I knew it got busy but nothing could have prepared me for the hundreds that were already inside and the huge queue still waiting to get in.

Mostly young people but we didn’t feel out of place as there was a wide representation of other ages (and besides, I still think I’m seventeen). DSC03025It was packed and there was an energy in the air which is almost impossible to describe: a positive, friendly, excited hum and absolutely no feeling of danger or underlying stress that you can get in some city establishments. No shouting or aggressive behaviour out on the pavement. No-one throwing up in the gutter or falling about drunk. It was as though someone had collected all the nice people in the city and dumped them into this magical space on Burton Road

As I said, we turned up a little late, just in time to throw a pint of cider down before the band came on but, after looking around at the food stalls (Vegan, Vegetarian, Pizza oven) DSC03027I wished we’d turned up earlier. There was an all pervading smell of cooked food and garlic in the air and, glancing at the occasional plate or tray as people walked by, I could tell I was missing out. It looked great. In addition to the food there was a bar with more beers than I’d seen at any other event, a cocktail bar, a spirit bar and a soda bar. No big queues, friendly efficient staff and great quality stuff. Fresh, clean and no sign of anyone trying to make a fast buck with inferior products.

I sound as though I have a vested interest; I wish I did. Most city centre venues would kill for a slice of this action. One of those joint endeavours that has just hit the right spot in every instance.

DSC03016The band were fabulous (I am slightly biased but the audience definitely agreed with me). They played for a good forty five minutes if not longer. Roughly a fifty fifty mix of their own material and covers from Bob Dylan to Fleetwood Mac and The Raconteurs. Packed with energy, loud as you like, they went down a storm. And the drummer had man flu! You can catch these boys at Edison’s Cafe on York Street in the city centre on Thursday 28th September. Get yourself down there, you won’t regret it. Along with Deaf Crows there will be sessions from Sky Moguls, To the Strongest & Kid Conventional.

Facing the stage (and getting pretty much the same amount of attention) was the cocktail bar that I mentioned. DSC03018Brilliantly lit and beautiful to look at. Such a shame that I got it almost completely out of focus (in fact, there’s no almost about it). But then again, perhaps that is entirely appropriate as on the few occasions that I’ve been involved with the world of cocktails, it has generally resulted in something of an out of focus experience. Nevertheless, it is an example of how well run this event really is. Although the market has a distinct festival feel to it, folks don’t have to manage with pints of lager or beer that they wouldn’t ordinarily cross the road for. Despite the pop-up nature of the event it is somewhere you can get dressed up in your best clobber. You don’t have to rough it or even wear wellies.

And so an update on the writing front:

On a whim, I loaded a crime novel I wrote about ten years ago up onto my laptop. I prepared myself for the shock of how bad it would be but was pleasantly surprised. It’s not so shabby. In fact, I was impressed enough to edit the first chapter. However, although the writing was okay, it was noticeably out of date. The odd idiom used that is now incongruous (I know, shouldn’t use them anyway) plus the streetlights were all shabby and not working, the pavements cracked and uneven and there was even a mention of pubic hair.

How time changes things. I had to alter the lighting to totally ineffective but blinding LEDs (but managed to keep the dark shadows that the crappy new lights still create), I had to change the footpaths to cheap and not so cheerful tarmac that looks like it’s been laid by a five year old where there used to be York-stone flags with plenty of character, and I had to draw attention to the fact that the existence of pubic hair was now something of a rarity. I know we should all learn to embrace change but we don’t have to like it.

All that said, I finished the chapter and then moved on and edited another four. This novel actually attracted an agent in its previous life so maybe it’s worth getting it out there again. I mean, all the work’s done. The hours have been put in and I know that the story works. Ninety six thousand words that just need a final polish (hopefully).

Wish me luck.

Oh, and I should definitely have done this before. A couple of Romantic Thrillers that I have on Amazon Kindle. Both worth a look.





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