Let’s move to a grim Yorkshire city famous for cutlery and The Full Monty! This week: Sheffield

What’s it about?

Famous for its history of heavy industry – steel and spoons mostly – and for a film about desperate unemployed men, with no industry left to work in, stripping for money. Which was treated as a feelgood 90s comedy fun.

Right next to the Peak District and of such steep gradient the residents are perpetually breathless, which at least stops them calling each other ‘duck’, Sheffield is like Paris in the Belle Époque compared to neighbours Rotherham and Barnsley.

Any good points?

A thriving cultural scene built mostly around The Full Monty and Pulp – both over 25 years old – and bugger all else. The former’s being revisited in a Disney sequel to answer the key question of whether Robert Carlyle’s ballsack now reaches his knees.

Music remains important to the city, with Arctic Monkeys exploding onto the scene in 2006 and remaining relevant right until their lead singer started talking like an American. For cool points, pretend you saw them at the now-closed Boardwalk before they were signed, or indie club The Leadmill, a historic venue that’s about to be sold up for flats.

Sheffield also spawned Tony Christie, singer of (Is This the Way to) Amarillo, which you’ll now have stuck in your head all day. You’re welcome.

The local delicacy is Henderson’s Relish, which the locals put on everything from cheese on toast to fish and chips. Try not to say it’s a shit version of Worcestershire sauce. Just think it.

Wonderful landscape?

The hills, oh god, the hills. The pints might be cheap but the hills are steep. Looming over the city on one of its seven hills is the brutalist Park Hill estate, a hideous inner-city landmark used as slum clearance in the 60s and then unsurprisingly a no-go area by the 80s.

It’s been saved from demolition so that a new generation of Sheffield residents can try to ignore this massive fucking eyesore, and so arty students can take wanky black-and-white snaps for their poverty porn final-year projects.

From there, take a spin around Park Square, a colossal fucking roundabout, and into the city centre while trying not to get run over by one of its many trams, which it’s easy to forget exist because this isn’t the 1900s. Imagine having ‘run over by tram’ on your death certificate.

Hang out at…

The Crucible, a venue features everything from classical music to experimental theatre which is chiefly known for hosting the World Snooker Championships. Year after year, snooker nerds descend on the city to listen to their little radios, drink halves of bitter in the pubs and generally be boring as fuck.

Endless bars on Division and West streets are there to cater to pissed-up students, whether clever ones from the University of Sheffield or ones doing sports science at Sheffield Hallam.

Fans of rough families in tracksuits should head to the Meadowhall, the super-sized and dated shopping centre. If you like the cheaper end of the high street and a food hall that stinks of flatulence while being impossible to get a table in, you’ll love it.

Where to buy?

If you’ve got a few quid, you might be able to afford a flat in an old knife and fork factory near the city centre. If you do, the cone-stealing antics of hammered students will delight you seven days a week.

Hipsters buy in new creative area Kelham Island, which has a microbrewery and somewhere that does fancy pizzas. There’s plenty of good living out of the city, but remember if you get to Rotherham you’ve gone too far. Far too far.

From the streets:

Helen Archer, aged 30: “Nah then. When people slag off Sheffield it makes my reyt mardy. Do tha not think so, duck? Sorry, I’ve actually only lived here six weeks and I don’t know what came over me then.”

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Mash Blind Date: a lifelong Londoner meets a man from the distant land known as 'the North'

CAN Highgate resident Francesca, tired of dating men who open with what school they went to, connect with Nathan from the tiny, backward hamlet of Manchester?

Francesca on Nathan

First impression?

I was floored by how… normal he looked. He must have done some serious research into our culture and fashion because, despite his origins, he almost looked like he could be from Clapham.

How was the conversation?

The translator I requested apparently ‘isn’t a thing’ so I only got ten per cent of it. The accent of ‘Man-chest-ah’ is extremely thick and distorted. But he was fascinated by my gap year stories. He hung on my every word, even when I was just describing business class.

Memorable moments?

Watching his eyes light up when I taught him things about our world. It’s a special privilege to be there the first time someone hears about burrata.

Favourite thing about Nathan?

His bravery. He must have been so ashamed of his background but he didn’t let it show once.

A capsule description?

Deep, deep down, just like an actual person. Like two hounds of very different breed.

Was there a spark?

Nathan fell for me the moment he first set eyes on me, like Aladdin for Princess Jasmine, but there’s no foundation for a relationship. But he now has a dream to aspire to.

What happened afterwards?

I tried to explain the Underground to him, but the poor thing just wandered off grunting into the night to walk all the way home, like a horse.

What would you change about the evening?

I would have chosen somewhere he was more comfortable, like a heap of bones. A restaurant with cutlery and napkins? It was too much too fast.

Will you see him again?

He’s returning to the north so no, never. Though I suppose if I’m going through Manchester on the way to an August grouse shoot I could knock on one of the houses and find out which is his. I wonder if it has a roof?

Nathan on Francesca

First impressions?

From across the road I could hear her screeching ‘I know! Manchester! Such a bit of rough!’ into her phone. I’m not sure she’ll get that from me. My mum and dad are both surgeons.

How was the conversation?

She wouldn’t shut up about her bloody gap year, even though she only went to Thailand for three months. Spent 20 minutes describing the plane.

Memorable moments?

She tried to tell me that burrata is deep fried squid. It’s a type of cheese.

Favourite thing about Francesca?

Her absolute obliviousness to the real world. It must be so nice to live like that.

A capsule description?

She’s the reason why this country is the way it is.

Was there a spark? 

You could get off on a woman applauding you for knowing how to use a fork, I guess, but I didn’t. Her little claps when she’d understood what I’d said were annoying as fuck. And every time she spoke to me, she sounded it out at three times normal volume. People stared.

What happened afterwards?

No kiss, thanks. She gestured at the tube but I’m in Soho at the moment so I don’t need to get on rancid trains. I left quickly before she set me up a GoFundMe for my cab fare.

What would you change about the evening?

The company. And the restaurant. Franco Manca’s alright, but to be honest once you’ve been to Rudy’s nothing else compares.

Will you see her again?

Not willingly. But by 2032 I expect she’ll show up in the next decade as a member of the Cabinet.