The Alternative Store.

Forum Shops.
127-129 Devonshire Street.

Having enjoyed 20 years as Fuse - the longest standing member of the Forum family - 2013 will see the 'coming of age' of this ever evolving repository of genuinely individual clothes, footwear and accessories.

The word 'alternative' gets banded around far too often in a world where personal identity is so highly valued that it perverts into a uniform individuality (see Nathan Barley - still years ahead of its time). The notion of 'alternative culture' has resulted in so many sub sets, all with their 'individual' traits which serve not to define them as unique, but rather to clump together people with the same look.

This is one of the reasons we think the new name for this place is so very apt for the ethos it carries. The Alternative store, whist stocking some fairly major international brands, seeks to encourage a style of one's own. Their lines are carefully selected based on quality and originality, with owner Stuart having honed his aesthetic eye throughout his now veteran incumbency and across countless trends and styles that have transcended the standard subculture norms.

Having seen trends change so often, Stu and his team have got the knack of setting trends rather than blithely following the next one. One way they're currently doing this is to recruit the next generation of independent designers at a grassroots level, with new brands such as XCVB, Who? and Hype, as well as the well established brands with a skate edge such as Dickies, Crooks & Castles and The Hundreds to name but a few.

The Alt team are set to take full advantage of their boutique store in the prime location of Division Street, just outside their Forum cave. It will play host to the more premium-end streetwear lines and will represent the next chapter in their illustrious history, as well as being one of the last bastions of independence in this individual part of town.

To get the full skinny on the grand unveiling, and to meet the people behind it, sidle in to the Forum and chat to them in the flesh. They're a truly lovely bunch who really know their onions.

Sheffield Jazz.

in 1974 by enthusiastic local musicians with a grant from Yorkshire Arts. Since incorporating as a registered charity, Sheffield Jazz has gone from strength to strength, hosting intimate events at the Millennium Hall on Ecclesall Road and other venues roughly every two weeks. Its aim is simple: to bring the best national and international jazz musicians to Sheffield, from well established behemoths to up-and-coming fledgling acts.

As noted elsewhere in this magazine, and in fact in previous issues of Now Then, jazz can sometimes be overlooked by audiences due to a perception that it is snooty, intellectual or somehow not for them, but Sheffield Jazz is proving them wrong left, right and centre, with bookings that cover a lot of ground, appealing to a wide range of age groups and catering to almost all tastes.

Last month, BBC Radio 3 recorded a performance by the Django Bates Trio hosted by Sheffield Jazz at The Crucible in collaboration with Music in the Round. They've got a jam packed schedule for 2013 which we can't reveal in its entirety here, but we would recommend you go along to see Empirical, 2010 MOBO award winners for Best Jazz Act; Get The Blessing, made up of the drummer and bassist from Portishead plus trumpet and sax; and award-winning trio Troyka, an inventive free jazz group incorporating rock and electronica. Virtuoso pianist Alex Hutton and his trio, whose latest album Legentis was reviewed in Now Then #54, will also play a homecoming gig on 10th May. Sheffield Jazz are also taking over the jazz nights at the Lescar from the beginning of 2013, so expect a programme that is complementary to their main bookings.

Sheffield Jazz also runs workshops for musicians of any level who want to work on their improv skills. The sessions are laid-back, friendly and run by experienced local players at King Edward's School on Saturday mornings during term time. Take a look at their website for more details, or to find out about their 2013 calendar as soon as it goes live.

Harley Live.

Kate Hewett, promoter for Harley Live events, was recently named runner-up Indie Promoter Of The Year at the Live Music Business Awards, but given the calibre of artists that have been passing through the doors of The Harley and Queens Social Club over the last year, we think she should've won hands down.

After a jam-packed November, with appearances from Ugly Duckling, DJ Vadim, Foals and The Raveonettes, this month sees headline shows from top local bands - Rolo Tomassi (10th / Harley / £5 adv / Support: Kappa Gamma, Blood Sport), Slow Club (16th / Queens Social Club / £10 adv / Support: Babe, Voluntary Butler Scheme) and Wet Nuns (18th / Harley / £3 adv / Support: Dry Heaves, And The Hangnails). Check their website or search 'Harley Live' on Facebook for more details.

Lynwood Gardens.


Lynwood Gardens is a community space located in Broomhall, behind The Francis Newton pub (formerly Aunt Sally's) on Clarkehouse Road, just round the corner from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital. Tucked away as it is behind the pub car park, it is easy to miss. It used to be the garden of the main building, owned by a wealthy master cutler called - you guessed it - Francis Newton.

The gardens have remained virtually untouched since the late 1800s, and these days are managed by the Friends of Lynwood Gardens, a charity set up by members of the community who wanted to protect this unique site. It occasionally hosts events, like the annual Beltane Fire Festival at the end of April, so keep your eyes peeled and get yourself down there.

Follow Your Dreams Tattoo.

Forum Shops.

Continuing the theme of revamping in this arcade of treasures, Tacho and his team have recently moved down the hall into premises far more befitting to such a mega stable of talent.

Joining Tacho in his new, much larger studio are Rich and Caroline, both well established artists with their own distinct styles of inking. All three of these guys are also incredible painters, with Tacho in particular capable of doing things with watercolours the likes of which we've never seen before.

As with all visual mediums, the best thing for you to do is see for yourself. You can check out their work on Instagram - lazerbeamuk, tachotattoo and carolinefyd - then choose your style and pop along for the late night opening on the 30th of this month for a sweet 20% off all flash pieces.

Sharrow Vale Road.

Regular readers will have to forgive us here. Ever since the amazing Seven Hills bakery arrived, Sharrow Vale Road really has the complete set of independent alternatives to the Tesco down the road and, more recently, the Sainsbury's around the corner.

So what's new? Well, other than the news that the delightful Thelma's cafe has had its first birthday and won an Eat Sheffield award (well done ladies!), the reason for this piece is to inform you lovely discerning shoppers that you can now shop after work until 7pm every Thursday throughout December. Oh, and the famous Roney's is back in black. Thank god.

thelmas & homemade.

345 Sharrow Vale Road &
4 Nether Edge Road.

We're obviously dead lucky with the range of cracking cafes we are spoilt with in and around Sheffield. We're here to tell you why we think two in particular are our favourites, hands down.

We reckon it's fair to say - consciously or otherwise - that we grade a cafe-come-bistro in three ways; quality of food and drink, quality of atmosphere and service, and value for money. In our fairly extensive joint experience of pretty much all of the places that fall into this category in Sheffield, we reckon it's reasonable to hope for two out of three of these criteria to be met in order to warrant a revisit. So when we stumbled upon Homemade for the first time what feels like ages ago, we had our socks knocked off to find all three boxes more than ticked, and have seen this wee place in Nether Edge gradually improve with each visit.

Enter Thelma's on the excellent Sharrowvale Road. Having just celebrated their first birthday and also run by two lovely ladies, Thelma's carries the same pride and passion in what they do as Justine and Trudy, with sisters May and Emily having decided to leave the grind and strike out alone with practically no experience of running a business, but with that most crucial ingredient of all; a genuine passion for good food and great hospitality.

So why the props to both places in one breath? Well, it is our pleasure to tell you that not only do these four ladies share the same work ethic, love of their trade and each pair run a top-notch eatery, but they're also mates. You couldn't make it up.

Pop in to either - or better still, both - for everything from gourmet coffee and cake to a full and hearty meal.