Loving the Chris Difford autobiography. "Dad said if I joined a rock band I'd be an alcoholic, drug addict & skint. Turns out he was right."
This conversational memoir from Chris Difford - one of the principal songwriters of beloved U.K. pop act Squeeze - covers a lot of ground: his south London childhood; the band's career ups and downs; and his non-Squeeze detours, including managing Bryan Ferry. "Some Fantastic Place" is distinguished by its admirable candour: Unlike many artists, Difford is reflective about the obstacles he's had to overcome (e.g., flying anxiety, substance abuse, relationship breakdowns), and he is direct and forthcoming about how these things inform his life and music, even in the present. However, Difford's dry sense of humor also shines through - for instance, speaking of the band's first, ill-fated U.S. gig, at The Lighthouse in Bethlehem, New Jersey, he writes, "We literally played to one man and a dog. We were forced to play a second set by the owner. The dog left." Lovely and enriching, "Some Fantastic Place" is very much worth a read.
With hilarious honesty, Squeeze's frontman reveals how his pop career went well and truly Up The Junction!
A witty, charming, acutely observed and astonishingly honest account of what it's like to be a successful musician. I was gripped and fascinated.
Chris Difford's characteristically dry memoir deals with political conflicts closer to home. Opening with the early, boozy days of Squeeze, it ends in 2016 when the band appeared on The Andrew Marr Show. Spotting then prime minister David Cameron on the sofa, keen to justify his government's decision to knock down old council estates, singer Glenn Tilbrook improvised new lyrics: "I grew up in council housing," he sang, "Part of what made Britain great / There are some here who are hell bent / On the destruction of the welfare state." Difford reports that the PM clapped along, then "came over to us at the end of the show and said, ' You know I think that song is going to be a hit!'"
As anyone who has listened to "Cool for Cats" or "Up the Junction" will know, Difford's lyrics are superb at noticing the unconscious poetry of everyday life, and the early chapters of this book are tightly packed with the sights, the sounds and especially the smells of his childhood: the "sweetest smell of peat burning on the fire" in his Irish aunt's house, "the dry crusty odour of socks in football boots" at school, or the heady teenage scent of "Brut and spray-on deodorant".
Squeeze's music has been a part of my soundtrack since first hearing and seeing them back in the late 70's and Chris's book is just as lively and captivating. It's honest, poignant, laugh out loud funny and is a fascinating peep (warts and all) into the life of one of our most talented wordsmiths. Quite simply, i couldn't put it down.