The first of the four-day song-writers festival inside Hull Central library has been a hit with music fans across the city. Jason Williamson from Sleaford Mods was first up under the disco lights.
What makes these In Conversation events work so well, asides from the calibre of the artists, is the deadpan delivery and interrogation by Russ Litten. Getting his guests to open up and talk about their lives and work, seems to come easy to him: no pretentious waffle, no smoke, no elitism… even if you don’t know the artist’s back catalogue you can still enjoy the easy back and forth.
The Mods singer spoke candidly about his early years, flipping breakfasts in a Little Chef to pay the bills and about the bands that he listened to growing up and the ones that he didn’t… how years later he found himself on stage at Glastonbury, with Iggy Pop looking on.
It was the Nottingham noize scene that provided the ground from which the Sleaford Mods grew. Jason made it sound very much like our own Adelphi, with a mix of local and international acts sharing a stage, vying for an audience. Incidentally the Sleaford Mods have not played Adelphi yet, but there was plenty of support from the audience, when the subject was raised during the Q & A.
I was particularly aware of how mundane and unglamorous he made it all sound. Latterly there were tales of drunkenness… but without any sense of bravado. The tough-looking exterior appeared to house a rather straight-forward guy who years ago, had hit upon a song writing idea, believed in it and then just kept working at it. The guide to remembering lyrics will be useful for those of us who are not yet off book: three times a day, for three weeks. Think I can manage that. I’ll let you know if it works. We left Jason signing copies of his lyrics book ‘Grammar Wanker’ for dozens of happy Hull fans.
Tonight it’s Shaun Ryder’s turn to sit down with Russ. He’s cleaned up his act now [Shaun] a reformed character you might say, but hopefully he’s retained a little of that rebel-rouser spirit that made broadcasters everywhere, reach for the Aspirin bottle.