Put simply, The Outlaws Yacht Club is a fantastic bar, trying and succeeding in doing things differently. During the day you can mooch about, get a haircut, enjoy a coffee, and by night they've all sorts of events going on. There's racks of vintage 12 inch classics you can look through and select for the DJ to play, and they have a great pedigree for spoken word events.
Tim Burgess is a natural fit for such an event: someone who's the real deal, having endured massive success and tragic downs with The Charlatans and written about it in his book 'Telling Stories'.
We caught a few words with the singer ahead of the event...
How does it feel doing a reading as opposed to a gig with a full band behind you?
It's definitely more exposed. With the band you know you're in charge - it's five people making a load of noise so the audience can get stuck right in. Sometimes it's a case of just losing yourself and everyone being part of a greater good - the performance of the band. With the book readings there's nowhere to hide. The words are less oblique too - you can get quite abstract with lyrics but the words in a book have to tell a story quite efficiently. There's definitely a feeling of being quite exposed - people generally know to go a bit nuts when you finish a song but I wasn't sure if people would laugh at the same extracts that I thought were funny. Having said all that, at my solo gigs I've been reading the first song as a poem rather than singing it - maybe that's what it'll develop into. In a few years I might just be reading songs out
What are your favourite music books?
45 by Bill Drummond, Wonderland Avenue by Danny Sugerman, Hammer of The Gods but I can't remember who that's by, it's about Peter Grant though and at times it outdoes Spinal Tap in the overblown ridiculousness stakes. Not exactly a music book but Cosey Complex by Cosey Fanni Tutti is an insight into a brilliant artist and musician. The last really good music book I read was Yeah Yeah Yeah by Bob Stanley. I'd definitely recommend that - it's about the size of the hand luggage you can take on a flight though so best to download it if you're going on holiday
Whilst you were writing Telling Stories did you listening to old Charlatans material or different music, if so what?
Lots of different music. Plenty of Bill Callahan, Devendra Banhart. I think the Cat Power album had just come out too. Factory Floor were recording their album in the warehouse where I wrote quite a lot of the book so I got to hear that grow from ideas to the finished songs. I'd started doing Twitter listening parties for all The Charlatans' albums - we'd go through them song by song with people listening around the world. So it meant I listened to almost every song we'd ever recorded. It definitely helped with the writing process. I'd not heard some of them for a few years and I really enjoyed them.
How the hell did you remember it all, were you keeping notes, do you have a great memory or did you have to ask people?
Nope, no notes and no diaries. Some things really stuck - I could still remember the route of our first US tour which was 15 gigs over 20 years ago. There was such a sense of excitement and i remember looking at a map before we went. I'd forgotten some details but I was talking to the rest of the band and people who had worked with us over the years. I felt like a one of those film noir private detectives sometimes. I'd go for coffee with someone and hit them with loads of questions. I have to admit I did hear a couple of stories where I really had no recollection of being there. Fortunately I'm here to tell the tale.