Published: 19:00, 03 May 2016
Grammy nominated lyricist and double Ivor Novello Award-winning enigma Chris Difford has been successfully turning the mundane into the beautiful for 40 years.
With fellow Squeeze founder Glenn Tilbrook, Chris wrote some of the nation’s best-loved songs.
The 61-year-old is highly respected across all genres of music and has co-written with a host of top names such as Elton John, Bryan Ferry and Jools Holland, who also started out in Squeeze. One of his recent compositions is even on Ollie Murs’ latest album.
This weekend, Chris will be live on stage in Kent. We caught up with him to find out more more...
You like to write about ordinary things, don’t you? It’s not just all about love.
I will write about all things, whatever inspires my mood and my ambition. I like to keep my vision wide, yet I end up writing about the things I know… its the best way.
You run a songwriters’ writing retreat – can you help anyone to write a song?
I think so, I try anyway. Most people have a book in them, but I say a song too. With a gentle prod I can get most people to write or ghost a verse or two…
Why do you describe you and Glenn (Tilbrook) as the odd couple?
It is an opposites attract thing and we are the oddest couple. We have spent a lifetime together and we are still only just getting to know one another.
Why do you think the partnership works so well?
We work separately and that helps us fuse our friendship, but Glenn is more concentrated than I. He is a great producer of songs and arrangements. It’s a talent I just don’t have.
Do you go about writing songs the same way together as you used to or has it changed over the years?
Glenn has contributed to the lyrics on the last album and we are working closer than ever, which I hope is a good thing.
As you’re often part of a band, how do you feel when you perform on your own, as you will be in Kent this weekend?
I really love the challenge of playing on my own. I have support from people around me and the courage comes from a place of hope – I hope people turn up! I love playing my songs and the songs I have written with Squeeze. I can’t sing like Glenn but that’s something I’m settled with.
How do you pick the music?
I go to the songs that I can sing and those are the ones that make me happy and proud, mostly from the my solo albums, but some Squeeze. Also more and more I’m talking about how I got to be Chris Difford from Squeeze and people seem to like that.
Do you ever see Jools (Holland, former band member)?
I see him and I tour with him from time to time. It’s a great thrill to get up with his band and strut around the stage surrounded by great musicians.
Have you ever thought about writing, other than music?
Ah! I have written a book, about my journey, it’s coming out next year I think. I’m still colouring it in! I love writing but it’s down to having the time and the space. I sadly lack both as I get older – I’m not sure why that is.
Chris Difford in a Nutshell features songs, conversation and a question and answer session with the audience and will be at the Astor Theatre in Deal on Saturday, May 7.
The show starts at 8pm. Tickets from £14. Visit theastor/org or call 01304 370220.