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William on the decks.

You will no doubt have noted that vinyl is in the ascendency. A pair of enthusiasts in Sheffield never doubted it, with a long-running Sevenby7 night that celebrates all that is good about the 7-inch single. Resident Lionel Vinyl, aka Tim Bowell, told us more.

How did Sevenby7 begin?

Sevenby7 was the brainchild of my co-promoter, James Halse. He was DJing at a house party and decided to travel light and only take seven 7-inch records with him for his set. I'd been DJing for years and James had got into DJing too and we both felt that the DJ scene was quite cliquey, so we decided to run a night where Joe Public could have a go at spinning some records without having to know the right people.

On reaching our seventh birthday we slowed down a bit until the last couple of years, when I got my mojo back and started running the afternoon and evening sessions more regularly.

What can people expect at a Sevenby7 event?

A really friendly and welcoming atmosphere, where everyone is open-minded, excited to hear each DJ's selections and be supportive of those who might be quite nervous. They can also expect to hear a fantastic range of music, often in the same seven-song set.

You've had many of Sheffield's renowned DJs and artists play. Has any particular set stood out for you?

We've had a number of Sheffield's great and good: members of Pulp, Longpigs and Human League, alongside Andrew Weatherall, Tom Ravenscroft, Vicky McClure, Shane Meadows and many Sheffield DJs from the last 20 years.

The set that most stands out though was when Philip Oakey [of The Human League] drove all the way to Manchester to play at one of our Night and Day shindigs. He had a drink and a listen to some of the other DJs and then drove all the way back. That's dedication. Great bloke too. I've tried to get him on the decks recently but I think he has hung up his headphones.

I think it's the immersive nature of playing a 7-inch

There has always been a romantic connection with the 7-inch format. Why do you think that is?

I think it's the immersive nature of playing a 7-inch. I love Northern Soul music and many of the records are not much more than two minutes long. You're not a passive listener, but are constantly changing the records to listen to the next one.

I often wonder what journey that record took from, say, 1968, when it was released, to my house in Sheffield. I love finding records that are still in their paper sleeve and have something like 'Sharon, Class 2c' written on them - reminders of when kids used to take their own 7-inches to school for the disco. A tiny snippet of history.

Have you got any Sevenby7 events lined up?

We run two different Sevenby7 sessions these days. They are very different but complement each other really well. The Sunday sessions are more family-orientated and we've had a few kids have a go, including my son William, which is brilliant. The Dorothy Pax sessions on Friday or Saturday nights are much more party sessions.

We have two parties in December: Sunday 8 December, 4pm-9pm at the Gin Bar on Abbeydale Road, and then our Seven Santas Spinning Christmas party at the Dorothy Pax on Friday 13 December from 8pm.

What was the first 7-inch single you bought?

Unlike many people who can say it was something by The Clash or Bowie or something equally decent, mine was the 1982 England World Cup single, 'This Time (We'll Get It Right)', on orange vinyl. I was always puzzled why they chose the colour of the Dutch football team. Still, at least it fired up my interest in sevens and coloured vinyl. Sadly I don't have it anymore - and it never did get a spin at a Sevenby7 party!

Andy Tattersall

facebook.com/sevenby7

Next article in issue 141

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