Leadmill Tour - Behind the music
When The Leadmill asked if we fancied a tour we'd already packed our rhinestone jumpsuit, separate dressing rooms and industrial size Deep Heat (scissor kicks do us in) before we realised our mistake.
But Exposed's dig around the four floors of Sheffield's award-winning music and club venue still boasted more surprises and out of tune yelps than a totally-not-tax-related Stone Roses reunion!
It's not necessarily something you'll muse on when pulling headspins at Sonic Boom on a Saturday night - but above your heads (or below, depending on which way you're up) are three floors of history from some of the city's greatest artists, printmakers and arty folk. Shown around by The Leadmill's brand spanking new Promoter Elyse, Exposed's Sales whizz Roxy and myself set out from the Leadmill's first floor office after reassuring my travelling companions there wouldn't be spiders cos arachnids hate indie (everyone knows they're goths). Join us for a musical trip through time and space!
The Leadmill Store
More Pop Tarts than you can shake a four slice toaster at. Next to the Leadmill Ops Centre on the first floor lurks this L-Shaped grotto of posters from the last few years. Not pictured on the shelf next door - a lifetime's worth of lollies, flying saucers and other sweet-toothed freebies shortly to be given away at a club night coming to your hangover soon...
Previously occupied by Hype Dance Co - now delivering dance classes, outreach and workshops from their HQ on Earl Street - the Leadmill's second floor plays host to this spectacular mirrored space. Wish we'd brought our sweatbands and 'tardies now...
Don't be scared. What appears at first to be the remains of an unfortunate three-handed Leadmill employee (imagine the amount of pints they'd have been able to pour) is actually part of an overspilt Halloween decoration set. We continued to the third floor undaunted...
Storeroom of Power
This is where, writing as an only partially lapsed indie kid, it starts to get interesting. Guarded by C-3PO, (who we made cry) and a stormtrooper (who turned out to be just made out of cardboard, phew!) this room, which leads to the AWESOME Leadmill attic (of which more shortly) contains a lot of boxes, some of which contain paperwork, but many of which contain RECORDS. Ker-ching! /Scrooge McDuck gif.
DJ Adam Morley has been resident Leadmill plate spinner for 21 years and this room contains part one of a stunning record collection pulling together what appears to be most of the best independent music made over this time. The Smiths' Big Mouth, The Fall's Nation's Saving Grace and Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures were literally the first three records in the first box I looked at. You are a man of taste sir.
Having moved to CD years ago, this amazing vinyl collection has laid unplayed for some time now. It feels a little strange having a music collection at your fingertips that was a wild fantasy 20 years ago. A little like pootling though a dusty part of my head from 1992...
Up the wooden stairs, we're now on the forth floor of The Leadmill and treated to a sight rarely glimpsed. This is the Mount Olympus of indie - the rarified air of a high top view across Sheffield that falls through the windows in bright shafts of light. The posters are from revered Leadmill artist Martin Bedford, who worked at the top of The Leadmill like some kind of mad monk creating thrilling posters for Leadmill gigs through the eighties...
There's more of Adam Morley's record collection here, as well as leaflets and fanzines like the one above.
We were a little confused by this phone, pin-badge hybrid. It was the eighties, people did this kind of thing...
A walk across the rooftops. Maybe it was having the fab four watch over us, maybe it was knowing we were looking out on a city-wide sight the likes of Mr Bedford and Mr Morley would have enjoyed before putting together a killer setlist or producing a poster for that weird band with the kid in the glasses, but we would have happily stayed up here all afternoon...
Thanks to The Leadmill for the tour. Adam Morley DJ's at Sonic Boom every Saturday - click here to find out more. Exposed will return for a photoshoot in the Leadmill attic with Mr Morley soon.
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