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Wednesday, 28 October 2020

In Conversation with Mick Talbot...

Mick Talbot is a name I know the majority of you will know. His work with The Style Council, Merton Parkas and The Bureau to name a few is work that has stood the test of time and holds up today with some of the best emerging and established artists. I was luckily enough to meet Mick back in 2015 at the Somerset House private viewing of 'The Jam: About The Young Idea', he was a gent and we chatted music and clothes. Fast forward to 2020, with the imminent realese of Mono Media's 'Long Hot Summers: The Story of The Style Council' I thought it would be a good time to catch up with Mick, here's what we chatted about... 

MOU: What are your earliest memories of music? 

MT: My Nan playing the piano and being amazed by it. 

MOU: Who/what was it that got you into music? 

MT: This relates to the previous question because my Nan lived with us and I was fascinated as a small kid by her playing the piano. When I got a little older and asked how she did it I found out she played by ear and purely instinct with no music in front of her, so it took on an even more magical nature for me and I was intrigued. My Dad played a bit too, as well as guitar so they both inspired and encouraged me. 

MOU: What are your memories of being in the Merton Parkas? 

MT: It was a time when when we packed a lot in. At times, the gigs could be quite violent. Having 3 or 4 years experience playing working men's clubs held us in good stead for a lot of that. It was also a time when I met a lot of people who were in it for the long haul such as Madness, The Jam and Dexy's Midnight Runners. In the fullness of time, I was fortunate to work with some of those people too. 

MOU: How did you end up being in The Style Council? 

MT: I had recorded one track with The Jam in 1979. Following that I played live with them at a few London dates. Towards the end of 1982 Paul got in touch and said he was ending The Jam. He asked me to get involved with his next project and that became The Style Council. 

MOU: What was the song writing process in TSC like? Very collaborative I would assume? 

MT: Paul wrote most things on his own but he was very open to arrangement or production ideas once we were recording.  

MOU: One of my favourite Style Council tunes is, "Mick's Up" what is yours and why? 

MT: This can change from day to day but I really like the version of "The Paris Match" that we did on the 'Cafe Bleu' album that featured Tracey Thorn on vocals. It captured a totally different mood to the great original version and showed what a versatile song it was. 

MOU: You've always been a sharp dresser, what labels/looks are you digging at the moment? 

MT: Labels which have pretty much been on my radar for donkey's years really like Bass, Fred Perry, Smedley and John Simons. Classics that have endured. 

MOU: What would you say you enjoyed the most about being in the Style Council? 

MT: The freedom to explore anything and everything musically, that we wanted to. 

MOU: Is there anything you're currently working on? 

MT: just before lockdown we did rough recordings of an albums worth of tunes for Mother Earth. I'm hoping we can get a few of those finished and out soonish. Also there are a few albums in the pipeline that are part of Richard Clarke's Monks Road label. They would have been recorded by now in normal circumstances but we're hoping they can still happen in the near future. 

MOU: Can you sum up the Style Council in one sentence? 

MT: We achieved a lot with songs that still stand up today and had a great laugh!

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In loving memory of Denise Pottinger