Issue 9 February 13, 2010


The Fargate Wheel, a Fun Fair in the City December 16, 2009

The Fargate Wheel, something more people take photos of than actually ride  

I’ve noticed a trend lately in British city centres. Alien architectural forms have been appearing amongst the dirty sandstone Victorian halls and glass and steel redevelopments that make up the 21st century urban centres.

When you’re arriving in Sheffield by train from the North, as you skirt the old steelworks and mills in the basin of Attercliffe, you get a view of the central skyline that has something very out of place about it. Amongst the familiar shapes of the Arts Tower swathed in plastic, the top of the Town Hall, the bright white rectangles of Hallam University, the brick red smudge of the Moorfoot Building and the grey spires of churches, the smooth circular crest of the ferris wheel on Fargate emerges clearly above the mass of the city. This bizarre shape came by itself, but recently the whole centre has periodically found itself filled with fun fair rides, appearing apparently out of nowhere and disappearing just as suddenly.

City centres have always used their public spaces as places for recreation and leisure, but before recently the garish and noisy excitement of the fun fair was never allowed to enter the heart of the city. This trend probably began with the London Eye, but since then almost every city centre in the country has hosted it’s own ‘eye’ for a while, and brought a host of other carnival rides with it, presumably to keep it company. Read more ⇒


HUV Positive February 19, 2009


Leeds City Council is good at self aggrandisement. £4 million is being spent changing the name of Dark Neville Street to Light Neville Street. In lieu of a trite local symbol - think Liverpool’s docks or Henderson’s Relish in Sheffield - the council have come up with a slogan, plastering LEEDS: LIVE IT, LOVE IT over every hoarding and public notice. Currently, the hype machine is surging ahead, canons blazing with the council’s darling project, the creation of Holbeck Urban Village: A chance to create an entire self contained community from scratch. Before the plans for HUV were first mooted, the area was little more than an abandoned non place between the railway station and the marginalised suburbs of Holbeck and Beeston Hill. Consisting mostly of a disused car park and some empty warehouses, it had become a notorious red light district. Read more ⇒


What If? Why Here? February 12, 2009

Visiting Sheffield recently, two things struck me as I emerged from the station. Firstly, that after a long train journey without facilities, the sight of those fountains isn’t particularly helpful, and secondly the poem What if…? that adorns the side of Sheffield Hallam University, by the Poet Laureate, Andrew “perpetual” Motion. Read more ⇒