Posted on YouTube by Leeds Metropolitan University
Chris Difford plays an exclusive version of ‘Up the Junction’ to a packed lecture theatre of Innovation North students at Leeds Met.
On Thursday 19 November, double Ivor Novello Award winner Chris Difford delivered on song writing to a full lecture theatre. It was a moment to remember for all in attendance, with one member of staff commenting, “I’ve worked here for sixteen years and that was the best hour yet”. Chris’ anecdotes and advice were especially appreciated by the song writers and music production students in the audience. With over 25 years of experience, and a single-minded attitude, Chris has become one of the most successful lyricists of recent times. He first found success as a member of Squeeze with their hit singles including, Cool for Cats, Black Coffee In Bed, Up the Junction and Hourglass.
As a young boy, Chris wrote poetry, inventing stories that would allow him to exercise his vivid imagination and this would later bring him to song writing. When asked about his style of song writing, Chris commented, “Songs are like having kids. If you look after them, some will grow up and become successful. Keep a sharp pencil and a sense of humour. It’s like a muscle that needs exercising to keep fit. Writing two or three lyrics a week, my inspiration comes from many places, like when I was down the gym the other day.”
During the lecture, Chris played Fat as a Fiddle, a humorous, witty lyrical song, that later brought questions about whether he writes other types of songs. Chris talked about Battersea Boys, a sadder song inspired by a family who put their son into a care home because they thought he was gay.
Chris’ anecdotes included stories about being on tour, appearing on Top of the Pops and never being very fashionable, “Squeeze got back together recently, it looked like a bunch of cab drivers having their photo taken”. He also talked about some of his collaborations , which have included working with Elton John. He described that particular experience as an amazing process that saw a song idea turn into a melody and lyrics in 3 minutes and was then, recorded and then produced by 5pm on the same day.
Questions from the audience followed remarks Chris had made during the talk, including who he thought were the top song writers of today (Lilly Allen and Jay-Z). The engaging interview style lecture, ended with news on Chris’ next project called “Saturday Morning Music Club”. The project will be launched next year on Valentine’s day, more details will follow.
Finally, a real treat was in store as Chris played an acoustic live performance of ‘Up The Junction’ to end the session.