Some Fantastic Place
My Life In and Out of Squeeze
By Chris Difford
A captivating memoir of Chris Difford's upbringing in South London and his rise to fame in Squeeze, one of the biggest bands of the 1970s and 1980s
Chris Difford is a rare breed. As a member of one of London's best-loved bands, the Squeeze co-founder has made a lasting contribution to English music with hits such as 'Cool For Cats', 'Up The Junction', 'Labelled With Love', 'Hourglass' and 'Tempted'. Even before his first release in 1977, his love of writing lyrics has never wavered.
Over the course of a thirteen-album career with Squeeze, it was clear from the very beginning that Difford has few peers when it comes to smart, pithy lyricism. His 'kitchen-sink drama' style has drawn plaudits from fans on both sides of the Atlantic, and his influence is keenly felt today. The likes of Lily Allen. Mark Ronson, Kasabian, Razorlight and many more have recognized the debt they owe to Squeeze's music and to Difford's way with words, while journalists were moved by his winning combination with Glenn Tilbrook to dub the pair 'The New Lennon and McCartney'.
In Some Fantastic Place, Chris Difford charts his life from his early days as a dreaming boy in south London with a talent for poetry to becoming a member of one of Britain's greatest bands and beyond. Along the way he reveals the inspiration and stories behind Squeeze's best-known songs, and his greatest highs and lows from over four decades of making music.
Born in Greenwich, London, Difford has written lyrics for over thirty years, most notably in partnership with Glenn Tilbrook. The two were primary members in Squeeze and Difford & Tilbrook. Some of their best-known songs are 'Tempted', 'Pulling Mussels (From the Shell)', 'Black Coffee in Bed', 'Cool for Cats', 'Up the Junction' and 'Annie Get Your Gun'.
After the breakup of Squeeze in 1983 Difford continued writing songs with Glenn Tilbrook for artists such as Helen Shapiro, Billy Bremner and Elvis Costello. He has also written lyrics for music by Jools Holland, Elton John, Wet Wet Wet, Marti Pellow and others. In 1985 Squeeze reunited, having hits in the U.S. with Babylon and On, 'Hourglass' and '853-5937'. Difford left the group in 1999 launching a solo career in 2003 with his album I Didn't Get Where I Am. Difford was also manager of Bryan Ferry and The Strypes. In March 2010, Difford curated Songs in the Key of London, an evening of music dedicated to the capital at the Barbican Centre, London.
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- Publication date:
31 Aug 2017
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With hilarious honesty, Squeeze's frontman reveals how his pop career went well and truly Up The Junction! — MAIL ON SUNDAY
Chris Difford's characteristically dry memoir deals with political conflicts closer to home. Opening with the early, boozy days of Squeeze, it ends in 2016 when the band appeared on The Andrew Marr Show. Spotting then prime minister David Cameron on the sofa, keen to justify his government's decision to knock down old council estates, singer Glenn Tilbrook improvised new lyrics: "I grew up in council housing," he sang, "Part of what made Britain great / There are some here who are hell bent / On the destruction of the welfare state." Difford reports that the PM clapped along, then "came over to us at the end of the show and said, ' You know I think that song is going to be a hit!'" — Helen Brown, DAILY TELEGRAPH
Loving the Chris Difford autobiography. "Dad said if I joined a rock band I'd be an alcoholic, drug addict & skint. Turns out he was right." — David Hepworth
A witty, charming, acutely observed and astonishingly honest account of what it's like to be a successful musician. I was gripped and fascinated. — Mark Ellen
Squeeze's music has been a part of my soundtrack since first hearing and seeing them back in the late 70's and Chris's book is just as lively and captivating. It's honest, poignant, laugh out loud funny and is a fascinating peep (warts and all) into the life of one of our most talented wordsmiths. Quite simply, i couldn't put it down. — Gary Crowley
As anyone who has listened to "Cool for Cats" or "Up the Junction" will know, Difford's lyrics are superb at noticing the unconscious poetry of everyday life, and the early chapters of this book are tightly packed with the sights, the sounds and especially the smells of his childhood: the "sweetest smell of peat burning on the fire" in his Irish aunt's house, "the dry crusty odour of socks in football boots" at school, or the heady teenage scent of "Brut and spray-on deodorant". — Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, THE GUARDIAN
This conversational memoir from Chris Difford - one of the principal songwriters of beloved U.K. pop act Squeeze - covers a lot of ground: his south London childhood; the band's career ups and downs; and his non-Squeeze detours, including managing Bryan Ferry.
"Some Fantastic Place" is distinguished by its admirable candour: Unlike many artists, Difford is reflective about the obstacles he's had to overcome (e.g., flying anxiety, substance abuse, relationship breakdowns), and he is direct and forthcoming about how these things inform his life and music, even in the present. However, Difford's dry sense of humor also shines through - for instance, speaking of the band's first, ill-fated U.S. gig, at The Lighthouse in Bethlehem, New Jersey, he writes, "We literally played to one man and a dog. We were forced to play a second set by the owner. The dog left." Lovely and enriching, "Some Fantastic Place" is very much worth a read.