Paul Heaton Q&A

Paul Heaton

Paul, you aren't from these parts, yet you've made Manchester your home for several years now ~ What do you like about the city?

I like it and my young daughters live here, I like the hoodies, I like the car crime, I like the Orion in Withington, the Eagle in Salford, the William Hill in West Didsbury and I like the weather.


It all started for you with the Housemartins. There were those fantastic Peel sessions & then after 'Happy Hour' ~ & THAT video ~ it all took off. What are your lasting memories from around that time in the mid-late eighties?

Just the excitement of being discovered by Peel and the subsequent Janice Long/Bruno Brookes/Steve Wright scramble after. I was too green to enjoy it.


There were lots of football references bandied about then, including the debut album. Around that time The Housemartins did a very unusual gig for footballer, Tony Curry's testimonial in Sheffield years ago. How did that come about?

Andy Daykin the Commercial Director at the Sheffield United spotted that I was wearing a Blades top on Old Grey Whistle Test and approached the band to play.


What football team (s) do you support ~ do you ever get to any matches in Manchester?

I support Sheffield Utd but occasionally take my two kids to Stockport County. I wouldn't support Man U or Man City, their supporters look like they've got deep rooted psychological problems dating back to working in the mills.


Are you still in regular contact with your ex-Housemartins pals?

By email/text and occasional messenger pigeon, us Yorkshire folk will always keep in touch somehow.


Did you ever consider living in the 'beautiful' South?

I lived in Surrey between the ages of 12 and 20 but I wouldn't move there for work.


Paul McCartney famously created 'Yesterday' from 'scrambled eggs' ~ as a songwriter, does it ever work like that with you? Do songs just 'pop' into your head in unusual situations?

That's what McCartney said? I get tunes in my head and ideas in my head, but I'm no McCartney. It takes a lot of hard work to be not quite as smug as him.


Have you ever had a period when you simply couldn't write anything, or weren't happy with what you've written?

I've never had a period when songwriting has failed me. I'm opinionated and a song is purely an opinion on a situation. Musicians with songwriters block should be sent down the mines and never let back up.


What situations inspire you to write music these days?

Sad stories between the headlines, sorry faces between the cracks in the pavement, a whole generation who never read the small print. And of course car crime.


You live in Withington now ~ do you stay local when you go out to eat/drink or do you go to the city centre?

In general I rarely venture into the town centre. If I do, my favoured route is bicycle or the 111 bus. Eating locally involves the obstacle of the clamour of the Cheshire classes clinging to their clever car key conscience of cool. A hurdle to high for Heaton.


What book are you currently reading?

Whoreson by Donald Goines


What musician (s) inspired you as a teenager to join a band & start writing music?

I would say Elvis Costello inspired me the most musically but a whole host of other non-musical people also inspired me, such as an English teacher called Dick Brewis, a German friend Alfred Wirth and also a series of depressing jobs.


If you hadn't become a successful songwriter/singer/musician, what would you be doing?

I left school at 16 and went straight into work, which I hated and then onto the dole, then music. So really I'd like to think that I'd have had the courage and the know -how to still be drawing dole, claiming disability allowance and being a general thorn in the side of the chattering classes.


Tell us about the recent pub tour you've just completed ~ who's idea?

It was my idea coming from cycling locally around sunny Macclesfield, Bury, Rochdale etc. It was a great laugh to do and the pub folk who watched, seemed to have benefited, even if in the knowledge to never buy one of my records again.


Do you manage to catch much live music yourself, these days? Any favourite venues in town?

I don't tend to attend gigs or concerts. Too likely I'll run into someone who I'd want to use me knife on.


The Housemartins came to our attention during the Thatcher years & there were political overtones in some of your music at the time. Do you think we're going to be heading for similar times.

I know we're heading for similar times. Private banking and finance has just come out of it's most profitable triple decades ever. Alas, the last two years it made a monumental **** up of things. They never shared the spoils with the public when they had the winning ticket. Now they have the losing ticket, the public must pay with cut backs, job losses, wage cuts etc. Only the most advanced form of Pyramid capitalism could get away with that one.


What are your future plans ~ and 'musical' goals not yet achieved?

All my musical ambitions were realised when I became a professional musician. As for plans? I intend to give people of the right and centre-left a tap-dripping, minor headache for the foreseeable future.


By Alison Bell for Gossip Star Q&A's

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