It’s all about the charisma…
Terry Hall has always been a bit of a mainstay in the life of us at Didsbury Life. “Gangsters”, by The Specials, on TOTP. “Windmills of Your Mind” by The Colourfield. “Our Lips Are Sealed” by Fun Boy Three. “Forever J” by just Terry. He’s sort of always been there, but we never thought we ‘d ever get up very close and personal.
However, tonight, at The Green Room we did. Our friend, Dave Haslam, was “up close” with Terry Hall and along we went, thinking that we’d be stuck at the back of a theatre room, possibly viewing the action on a screen from quite a long way away. We were so wrong.
Taking our seats, we were greeted with a compilation of tracks from the heady days of The Specials to solo Terry Hall. The Blondie “Rapture” cover – fairly genius. A prompt 8.00pm start had been cited – again, fairly genius that we were still waiting 15 minutes later but no-one was bothered because of the music.
Then, on came Dave Haslam. Understated. Notes in hand. Housekeeping rules. Introduction to Terry. Then – wham! Straight in with a question about Jerry Dammers and the reformed Specials. Let’s just say that a reunion between Terry & Jerry is probably not on the cards any time soon. Dave Haslam allowed Terry Hall to open up. The former front man of The Specials, once perceived to be so confident, cocky & almost aggressive, came across as humble and, at times, alarmingly open. I hadn’t expected that Terry would speak with honesty about a trip to France as a young boy, his depression – and he was at pains to emphasise it was depression, the kind of depression where you could “drill into your brain” – the rejection of a gold disc for “Ghost Town”, his relationship with Jerry Dammers. This was Terry Hall stripped bare.
I think we’re all used to seeing sanitised “celebrity” interviews. You’ve only got to watch Piers Morgan interviewing his celebrity guests to realise how we’re so potentially manipulated. But tonight was a real mix of sheer brilliance and discomfort in equal measure.
Dave Haslam is a VERY good interviewer. Although a “celebrity” in his own right (although we suspect he’d rail against this label), he has the ability to put you at ease immediately. He has an ability to – well, just “chat”. And that’s why his “Close Up” events are so good. He makes you think he’s just chatting. But – he knows his stuff. And that’s why he can get quality guests such as Kevin Rowland, Joanthan Franzen and Terry Hall to open up.
It was a privilege to be in the audience tonight. We saw someone who can tease out the most intimate and personal moments from someone who you feel to be a bit of a demi-god, and we heard someone who, despite their “pop star” status (who else can boast working with Bob Dylan in a Tokyo club?), was incredibly grounded. At times the interview was uncomfortable. At times, very funny. At times, stunning.
The outcome? Once we loved Terry Hall. Now, we adore him. And thanks to Dave Haslam for allowing to him to talk in a way that Piers Morgan et al would never condone…
Apologies for quality of some of photographs – we went for ambience, but then thankfully, Jason Brogan who also attended, contacted us with much better photographs. Thankyou, Jason 🙂