Back­stage...

Q (UK) - - Contents - Ted Kessler, Ed­i­tor

One of the great priv­i­leges of edit­ing a mu­sic mag­a­zine is that you can pay Sylvia Pat­ter­son money to write for you. And if she’s not there when you ar­rive, in­sist on her join­ing too. The rea­son for this is sim­ple: she’s the best in­ter­viewer of mu­si­cians, and she’ll make your job eas­ier. With that last sen­tence I have made many of the other bril­liant mu­sic writ­ers who con­trib­ute to Q feel fu­ri­ously slighted. They shouldn’t. Her skills are so dis­tinct, and so finely honed over time, that she is in a field of her own. For ex­am­ple, you prob­a­bly wouldn’t send her to tackle any of the muck and net­tles mu­sic writ­ing work that all of us other hacks have to get on with just to sur­vive. Any­body who has read her mag­nif­i­cent mem­oir, I’m Not With The Band, and re­mem­bers the pas­sage where ex­as­per­ated NME staff are hunched over her in a Por­tak­abin at 3am in Glas­ton­bury, des­per­ately im­plor­ing her to com­plete her 200- word re­view of the day, will know that dead­line-in­tense live re­view work may not be for her. If, how­ever, you need some­one to get in­side the head and un­der the skin of a pop star, young or old, then there is no bet­ter en­voy than Sylvia Pat­ter­son. We are blessed to have her let loose on two sub­jects this month: Neneh Cherry and our cover star, Matty Healy, of The 1975. Both are the chil­dren of bo­hemian, fa­mous stars, but be­yond that the dif­fer­ences end. Cherry shone brightly as a pop-hop star in the late ’ 80s, but sub­se­quently dimmed the wattage to pur­sue dif­fer­ent paths for lengthy pe­ri­ods. Healy’s light is on full-beam, full-time: the most en­gag­ing, in­tense male pop singer of our age, his mind like a tub of corn in a mi­crowave, pop­ping away with ideas, the­o­ries and mot­tos. Sylvia puts us right next to both. She charms their per­son­al­i­ties to the sur­face in in­ter­view, and then at home knocks out the out­lines of their per­son­al­i­ties with her prose, al­low­ing each sub­ject to fill the rest of the can­vas with their own words. Af­ter­wards, you feel that you are close to both of them, and to Sylvia, too. As an ed­i­tor, all you have to do is add a few full-stops and re­move some of the ital­ics. Easy money. And there’s plenty more where that came from, as we’ll read in com­ing months too. In the mean­time, I hope you en­joy the is­sue as much as we did putting it to­gether.

In a field of her own: Q’s star in­ter­viewer Sylvia Pat­ter­son cops it at T In The Park, 2001.

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