Fortunately the fader on the presenter’s microphone was slid to zero before the exasperated expletive escapes his lips. In the Sheffield Live studio, Max has just finished this Wednesday’s Mouthpiece, his weekly radio show that delivers ‘Sheffield stories, politics and culture – with a soundtrack of our times,’ to, well, Sheffield, and beyond. I must say, I haven’t exactly helped the smooth running of quite a complex operation by offering fatherly advice – while he’s setting up the next track, cueing up the pre-recorded interview, adjusting sound-levels, trying to coax out CD carriers that skulk inside their housing… As I say, I’m just trying to be helpful.

In the evening, we’re in Club 60. It’s like a small version of Liverpool’s Cavern: underground, it’s all brick caves. In the 60’s, it was called the Esquire, and featured Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Memphis Slim, the Kinks, the Animals…  Today it’s a recording studio, and Max, Paul and I are here to record the basic tracks for a version of ‘The Nearness Of You’. After they’ve put down the bass & drums, I immerse my head in a foam-lined metal hood: an inch from my mouth is a mic that cost more than my car. Much more. I like recording vocals into a dark void: expensive headphones and a touch of reverb make you sound great. Till the playback.

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