« Desert Island Discs

Tracey Thorn, musican and writer

2018-11-18 | 🔗
Tracey Thorn, musician and writer, is best known as one half of the duo Everything but the Girl. Brought up in Brookmans Park, Hertfordshire, she bought her first guitar, a black Les Paul copy, when she was 16 and her first band was called the Stern Bobs. Shortly after, she formed her own all-female band, Marine Girls, before moving to Hull University to study English. On her first night there, she met her future husband, Ben Watt, and they went on to form Everything But the Girl. Between 1982 and 2000, they sold more than nine million records and toured Europe and America. Despite their success, Tracey did not always enjoy performing live. At 35 she left the pop world to look after her twin girls, who were followed by her son Blake. She took about seven years out to be a full time parent, but since then she has come back to song-writing, recording music and writing: her first memoir Bedsit Disco Queen was a best seller, and she has a fortnightly column in the New Statesman. This year Tracey was presented with the outstanding contribution to music prize, at the AIM independent music awards. Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Cathy Drysdale
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Pvc sounds music, radio broadcasts, I'm unlearned event, and this is the desert island discs. Podcast. Every week I ask my guest to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they want to take with them if they were cast away to a desert island. This is an extended vision of the original radio full broadcast and for rights reasons. The music is shorter than the original broadcast. I hope you enjoy listening, The mike the way this week is singer and writer tracy thorn as one half of the band everything but the girl, a solo artist
and now as a columnist and offer she's known for her subtle scrutiny of bitter sweet subjects which don't often make it into pop song. So, under the pages of a boy Teenage life in the suburbs, mother daughter relationships, the menopause and babies who refuse to go to sleep her forty year career the musician has been both successful and unconventional as a frustrated teenager growing up in the summer. She read germane, greer's assertion in the female eunuch that nobody wrote songs for board housewives and thought. Why not? She said it off. I wanna be punk singer, so shy. She delivered her first vocal performance from inside a wardrobe. She would become a pop star who studied english literature at night school and just after scoring her biggest ever hit set her career aside
bring up three children. Now she combines a musical career with her writing still fascinated by the power afforded to those who choose what deserves to be in either sense of the word recorded. Writing she says is always about knowing who's in charge. Tracy thorn welcome to desert island disk. Thank you so that cushion of knowing who's in charge. I want to know a bit more about that. If you wouldn't mind, why is it important? Well, you know, I think, when you're writing, especially if you write the kind of songs that I've often written over the years, which are sometimes too bribed is being in a confessional all of emotionally open. There's that sense that your remaining yourself that you're giving something in way, but I am always at pains to distress If you are the one doing giving away all the revealing you are the one and control. So I suppose you know one of the things I'm writing about and talking about, and that is how powerful sometimes being able to be around
it is a new and established writer. Now a columnist for the new statesman and you've written one memoir, there's another in the pipeline. What's the attraction of that format, I think you were always a diarist. I was I wrote lots of diaries when I was young and then they sort of mutated into the song. Writing one means a teenager. My songs were almost direct lifts from what was in my diary, but then for years I really just wrote, songs and that's a very: in a minimalist out form if you like, you really do have to encapsulate what you're trying to say in two short verses and ideally hooky corps as well so demanding, but also in a pop summarizing, has its own rules. So once I came to write prose when I wrote the first memoir, I realized one of the luxuries? I had a lot more space to play with and you don't know what else to make it while I am and you're not necessarily trying to come up with a hook
and tell me about your son writing wearing. When do ideas come to you? I know that you like to walk quite loads, am: does that help get even the right heads base year I do get. I do sometimes run and walking, and nowadays, because, like it or not, we want my phone with me. That's quite useful certain grabbing it and making a note of some. Do you type or are you alan partridge style of dictating, or are you singing and recording on climbing on the stopping and trying not to walk into the traffic and typing things trying to get my phone nicked
dimension shyness in my introduction- and I hope that you at home with us here on the radio, because this is the natural habitats of people who like to show off, but in private yeah. I think there is some truth in that. You see, I find the recording studio, a place where I'm not shy at all and that similar, I think you know you ve got a microphone in front of you, but no one really looking. I often feel when I'm working the studio, especially late at night. There is something of a secret about it. You know you go off into the vocal booth, especially you, your literally on your own, with the microphone and a closed, sound proof door. So there is that amazing feeling that you can actually be very expressive and sort of pretend that no one's listen. Because in that moment no one is listening to essentially back
if the wardrobe that I mentioned in my introduction, that's very good point: the first ever vocal performance, yeah scarred for life by so it's time to turn to your track choices. What place does music have in your life today? It has a huge price and model, and you know I've. I've done what I imagined. Most people do, which is come up with tracks that, have a significance to me and mostly that remind me of you know the key people in my life aki times in my life silver tat, he might tell us about your first his fast track. Basically reminds me of my parents: it's frank sinatra: singing he made me feel so young, which was on the songs. The swinging lovers album. My parents have the album
You know there wasn't music on a lot in the house, but when it did go, and it was slightly ritualistic often before sunday, lunch mom would be in the kitchen cooking dad would be in charge of the record player and this would be water went on, and so it just kind of seeped into my bones. You make me feel so young you make me feel so spring is wrong, and every time I see you bring I'm such a view of the moment that you speak. I wanna go play. You see I want to go just like frank Sinatra you make me feel so young tracy thorn, you were born
Adrian Dennis in nineteen sixty to tell me about them. How did they meet? They met during the war? Both my parents grew up in london and were teenagers at the beginning of the wars. Are both have the experience of them? through the blitz. Then my dad joined the array. F, nineteen forty four think he joined up and was posted for awhile. Out in the middle EAST. I think he was that in Jordan and my mom Some holiday summer with a girlfriend and met his uncle hotel I have this very lonely nephew whose in the forces and posted embassies and he'd le pen pow, so they both wrote to him enclosing a photo and he chose my mom. It's right back to so they write letters for a while and then he came home on leave and they met up. I thought
go home and to enhance and meant, as she always described it. He came up the escalated to harass, standing at the top of the escalating, looking very handsome in his area of uniform, and he cast a photograph he did keep up. graph. It was in his wallet when he died last year. By the time you were born, they just moved to Brooklands park, as you put it just off the coast of london. It doesn't. Much more suburban. What was it like going up there? Well, basically, it was great when I was a child. It was just countryside e enough. to be like living. In a village, we lived in a little semi detached house right by the shops right by the primary school, and then there were fields on around. So you know I spent my childhood walking to school, walking to the shops going for bike rides. That was great. I think when I hit my teens,
since I started to want a bit more excitement. Ass teenagers do for your punk wrought was happening. I go into that wanted to go to gigs and then living in a very conservative, suburban small town was not ideal. what would you like, as as a young kids, what we like when you were little swatch e at school bookish not sporty? I had piano lessons I did a little bit of acting and drama, but I wasn't one of those kind of you, show of kids is on the table at weddings. Getting let me sing a number. I don't think anyone, sorry coming the agenda going into music, as I hadn't been unnatural, some show of performer and your parents had sinner John, before the sunday lunch, but what about the rest of the time I mean you, you are interested in books and music from a young age, but was there a lot of that in the house? Know, though there really wasn't, you know both my parents had had to leave school
fifteen they hadn't gone on into further education. They were both clever, but it was one of those houses where you know there were shelves full of books. That's because I found a lot of that out for myself as I go through my teens, and you were the youngest. If three, so how could a sibling dynamics? It sounds like you, Borgia brothers records and assist his clothes yeah. So I've got a brother Keith, whose ten years older than me and they when my sister came along and then me very close after her and Keith just seemed to me almost a grown up when I was a child. He was a teenager and incredibly glamorous with all the big teenage friends or light pranks football in the. and then coming in playing cards and putting on the faces albums and my memories. You have a child with my nose pressed against the glass just watching all thinking. This is incredible, he's so grown up and by the time you got to.
the teenager. As you say, you were quite frustrated by the conventional, suburban wealth that you are surrounded by. What's your perspective on not now I wonder and on your parents' experience, you know having having moved up from london having gone through what they went through in the wall when I'm much more sympathetic. Now now I'm appearance- I can Please understand why they might have been worried about me. You know dressing up and going off to gigs up in london, but at the time I was outraged about them being strict at me has only teenagers can be outraged, couldn't believe that were drawing to curtail my freedom, like this tell me about your next piece of music wisely chosen it. The next track of chosen is I'm sorry waiting, bandanna ross, which reminds me very much of being a child. It made a real impression on ethnic tony blackburn used play along and it opens with this C mon. I remember when I was five and you returned boy and
Remember thinking this song is about children, but taking them seriously, you no kind of implying that children's feelings collapsed and can be important, and when you are young pop fan feeling the events of reference in a pop song is an amazing, fanning. The a I took some very much harm. It was one of those new it absolutely off my ass a child and have never stopped loving so The I
when the Diana was and I'm still waiting, Tracy thorn punk peaked in nineteen. Seventy six. You discovered it in seventy seven. By what means, I wonder, probably reading some outraged piece in the papers you catch. The eye of a headline saying, must reflect this filth, our pockets and obviously your instinct to respond. Was yes, please you wanted to find out more. You know I was about fourteen fifteen when it all started happening and becoming dissatisfied with conventions, and so I often think punk was just there at the right time. it's just something that allows you to express all manner of dissatisfaction, and it was a suburban movement in in a lot of ways- I mean the bromley contingent were a very big part of it did. Do you think you were instinctively drawn to that because you know in that there was a symmetry with with your expert
Well, I don't think I knew that you see. I thought all of this was happening in the heart of so her and if only I could get there, the I'd be part of something better. If I know a lot of these, people were actually sly outside and the inner people in suburban and small towns across the country were having a similar response. I might have felt. I belong to something more, but I just felt a sense of urgency. The actually it was a very urban kind of music and it made my desire to get to the city even stronger. By late seventy seven, my parents were reeling in shock that what had happened to me. How would you changed? Well outwardly invisibly, not that much. I wasn't a great one for ring confrontational rounds with my parents, so I did of the dressing up in secret. There is lots of leaving my house looking relative
ok and then arriving someone else's in getting into an outlandish out. What did you have a well? You know plastic, trousers and big back here. You would have let me out in its preliminary, though very d. I why you know we didn't have phronsie vivian westward clothes from sedition raise. I think we had one pair of leopard skin trousers between this, that we just do it used to share of all round and ass though she had a men seek jacket and some badges. You know you could make start. You put your first guitar at sixteen and you have described it as an urban guitar dragging london into my bedroom. Tell me about that. Yeah I decided I once it an electric guitar and I'm could very easily have bought one locally, I'm sure, but instead I found an ad in the back policy maker and went up to london fields to someone in a tower block and paid sixty quid for this black less poor copy, about which I knew nothing. I mean honestly, it could have been
broken. I think I wrote my diary really good bargain. You know like a great each It's out there and thorough examination of it. I just looked today, went very nice bought it. How long did it take to master it, and while it wasn't much mastering to be done, that was the beauty of it the classic three codes and reform abandoned. That is literally. Why mastered? I didn't sit down starting to try and learn Jimmy page it outside those costs fleet enough to we might have one coming of london by sea. hunting. You are when you first band, so you was shy, but you obviously wanted to be heard. What was going on anything while classic ambivalence? I can look back in I was clearly very motivated and very driven by something, but it was about being heard and I wanted to be part of it. I wanted to join in. I think that was one of the brilliant things about punk and post punk and the whole set of india
de. I Y see it was a moment when means it wasn't just presented you something that you passively consumed or entertained by a send out. This message to the unique should come and join in, and I found that really exciting. I haven't found another self hobby that I was mad about, so that for that feel that gap tell me about singing in the wardrobe. I have to know better so singing in the water happened because the first man I was in I was just the rhythm guitar player, so I want to be part of it, but not the front of the stage by inner rehearsal one day in someone's bedroom the thing it didn't turn up and the boy said to me: can you saying tat? I see I didn't, know inkling that I might be able to sing because that sung along with records at home, but I said to them: well, you know I'll try, but not if you're looking at me so I'll get in the wardrobe into from inside there. If that's
with you, and I can imagine them now- making eye contact with each other and going huh yeah okay. So I did. I took the microphone inside the wardrobe and sang rebel rebel by David Bowie was the earliest thing to do. Huh yeah see I was looking for the vocal booth. Basically, I was just looking for a small enclosed space with my microphone. Quiet right. Tell me about your third disc today. Why have you chosen this one? So this third one is gloria by patti smith. When I first at this, the opening lines, if it blew my socks off and then when I had a few times, I started joining singing with her and just such a through acts than I do very similar kind of oak arrange to patchy psmith? I did I wish so. I wasted practicing at home singing along with her, and that was pretty exciting cheese is tat. The sun Bernie Sanders banana
men, while cod amass lee higher still missing, They belong to The beware. Party smith. Tracey, thorn, patti smith as such a role model for many young women at the time. Was she one of yours yeah. I mean as much as how she founded, and it was how she looked on the cover the album as well. I sat and gazed that for a long time, you know she's standing there in that white shirt jackets on fresh do you know she looks very masking just very androgynous, and that was right, citing you know I always felt I didn't quite fit. You know there was sort of conventions of how
to be a pretty girl in the early seventies and then punk came along and sort of blew all that out of the water and offered all sorts of different ways to experiment with your appearance which were again, which was great fun, and it was even more fun because the end result wasn't necessarily you know. How can you sort of make yourself look as pretty as possible. It was just. How can you look interesting in ninety day, one you formed marine girls, an all female band. How unusual was that at the time? Ah, it was unusual. Certainly there were lots of local bands, but the was mostly boys or bands that had one girl in, and that was the situation I'd been in and I got a bit fed up with it. It went a bit wrong and I just had the idea. Look. Maybe the next thing I do I'll just do something with a group of girls, and so it started with two other guys I was at school with and we did stand out immediately. We were aware of the inner the boy slightly instead of looking rank white. What you ve done, what
you found your own ban without any of us, and I think we lights- we really didn't at here too. Of the rules of Rock'N'Roll at all. I honestly don't think we knew what the rules of rock and roll were. We didn't have a drummer, for instance, just because we didn't know a girl who had a drum kit so instead of thinking well, I suppose we better ask one of the boys to play drums. We just thought. Well, then we won't have a trauma, so we were bass and guitar and then various little bits of percussion that we all used to hit madly half time time and and vocals- and you know the sound we came up with- was quite hard to categorize and it was quite unique. We didn't make a great deal of noise, but we used to turn up at gigs where you know the other bands It will be making a noise and then we'd have to get up on stage, often in front of a crowd. There was largely blokes you'd, be looking at a survey arms folded anyway, and then we stop playing it wouldn't be very noisy and we wouldn't have a drama.
You see them narrow their eyes out. So you know there was a degree of gots involve just to do that, ran in and be quite uncompromising about, You impressed the noisy boys in the end, though, because I think you're in the list of cocoa beans. Fifty favour albums yeah, I didn't oversee, find out, a long time later, but Kurt Cobain was a massive fan and I think what he recognised. As you know, a natural outsider was that rock n roll sometimes produces people who are actually right conventionally someways, you know boys who follow the rules of rock and roll and what he saw. Nothing were fellow outsiders, so this was very much the post from D I y era and as befits that time, you are really stick ascent beach party, and that was then played by john peel, and I think that was what led to a deal with indelible cherry red whatso of home.
Was that I mean the indycar had been invented. Lots of people were setting up small labels, largely because you know that former existed cassettes were easy to record is that a cassette quite cheap to release music yeah? Initially we did it entirely ourselves. We took the cassette we'd recorded into a tight copying service and we got fifty copies, made and sold them to some friends and two local record shop, and then I put a small ad in the back of the anime with my home address saying. If you want a copy of this, and people sent me postal orders to my home address and I would post them a copy of the cassette and we sold the fifty copies we had made and then made some more and yet gradually grassy. We came to a few people's attempts
chicken and ended up with the beach posse out and then being released by cherry red, which fell to us like a big step up. In retrospect, we look back and say where, with cherry red, you are part of this very day. I why indices, but that felt to us at the moment. You know we'd gone professional yet because they had not fair, slightly worried that we told they were. They were the profound conversations about whether we were sounding out. So you know we were properly. Can de. I why at first I did you have any ambitions beyond the vote. Will you just amazed that it was happening in India? We would just amazed that it was happening. We wouldn t there. We wouldn t been thinking about what we were doing and ironically, we did the stupid thing of signing very long contracts, precisely because I wasn't paying any attention to the sort of professional side of her. Tell me about your fourth disc, my fourth, risk basically marks the moment when I met ben, which is late. Nineteen, eighty one,
I was still in the marine goes. I went off to university in how and coincidentally cited and even though he was that she signed to the same level, we should say, your creative partner, Angela merkel partner, then walked by what we'd never met and met each other on the first night, quite deliberately, because Ben paged me in the union by saying, if Tracy, if the marine girls is in the building where she comes reception, that was how he found me. So I thought is probably that ban war and went off to meet him and Yet we got on while so later that night back in his student room, he played me this record. I think you're the first recorded and I haven't heard it before solid but your martin and eight was. Quiet. Big moment in my life live.
Well, you know- No nah nah man joan martin and sunny day so Tracy thorn. And would become your band made and your partner and you ve described the two of you as being united in feeling isolated in those first few weeks at whole. Uni did working together, bring you together quickly. I think we we felt course together quickly. Anyway, he was one of those people who are felt within a very short time of me to him. I've known this person forever.
We started work one when I say working together. We didn't even know it was that particularly you know, MIKE the label, cherry red suggested that we do a record together because we were there together. So we did a one off single, and it was very casual. You know we weren't thinking reforming forming a band. It was. It is the cold corsica We a cover of night and very romantic choice, yet it was- and we were part of that whole thing that came along in the wake of palm when people were kind of rediscovering, all sorts of other forms of music and jobs was one of them. We felt there was something equivalent me radical about doing a jazz standard and so that relations, It was coming together, but you ve, also described the sense of being separated from your parents, had not been quite a difficult time on that front. What was going on Yang, going away to university, did mark a sort of point when I became a bit more distant, from my parents. I started living with ban as well and they would disapproving of that and we felt
very badly over that issue. I look back now think there was. parity, invest you when I was quite traumatized by that breach with my parents, but just kind of lived. Wait, because you know when you're young, that's what you do you you sort of get on with things you did graduate with a first, though, what we have plans for the future. Again, I was quite muddled. that stage vienna. We started recording together ban and I- and there was a plan that this album we recorded was about to be released I sat my final exams and the first single that we'd made each and every one came out and went into the chance, the proper chats, not the indie charts. You know it went in at number twenty eight and the week, I was sitting my fond exam. I sat and examine the morning left university on a train down to london and we were in the recording studio, recording a follow up, so I had been working really hard up to that point on my exams wanting to get first thinking.
that will lead somewhere, maybe outgoing journalism, or something like that. But then this career in music was inventing itself for me and it just sort of found folded and I fell. I think I just followed that path, because it was a path opened up. So pop success was thrust upon you. how did it suits you when it arrived slightly awkwardly, I think, about sounds very ungrateful when oversee it. Cigarette choice that many people would dream of an I did enjoy low debates, but as soon as we said of reach that level I began to realize that you know wasn't question anymore of hunting in the wardrobe or pretending this wasn't happening. It really was happening and I just have to get on with it. So I did, and sometimes it was great- and sometimes I did suffer lots of anxiety about it all and feel that you know quite cut out to be doing this
How well did you understand yourself because it one of the interesting things is that you do have this constant kind of mix of ambivalence. As you've described, and also these kind of complex contrasts within what you do. You want to be heard, but you're singing from inside a wardrobe, and that has really actually characterized your your work. Did you understand? Then what did you just think? I should love this and I dont what's wrong with me now I think when I was younger, I found those the turf contrasts with the twin things quite difficult and probably wished. The eye could fit more easily into an opinion how or other now I'm altering. I looked back. I think. That's probably the whole reason you ve been successful at all, because what you ve done it's an articulated one. Lots of people feel, which is that we are one incredibly complicated and it's all well, seeing people on stage who seem to have a set of gilded life and be
natural born performers and loving every minute of it. That can be wonderful, unready entertaining and take you out of yourself, but there's equally, something you know very connecting about seeing people who are performing who are struggling with it in some way and whose Writing seems to articulate some of the mixed feelings you have about things you have to do so now. I can see that it it's a kind of strength, or at least it's a a points of connection with an audience. I think time for some music. What's your fifth disc today. So this is my slight surprise choice. This will definitely surprise my brother Keith, who the strikers Joseph already. This is lead zepplin, whom he loved growing up. So again, this is another trap is pretty much the sound of my childhood. This was the families to come out of keats better and I really wasn't sure I liked this at all by fascinated me, because I just thought I don't understand this music at all.
And I was sermon my mum going out to buy his christmas present on his instructions and asking for the needs that lebanon which went the family, for goodness, always left me with a soft spot for blacktop. By said lebanon, the the. Lead led zeppelin, black dog tracy,
Don't tell me about your m a I like to imagine. You were doing coursework while backstage at top of the pops. Please summits like that it more or less was. I started doing it in a bow one nine hundred ninety, I think- and actually that was the time we then went out to la to record all big american album. Did it at bookbyte college away, you studying these visits for people who, by seeking work, so I thought what that's may that counts and eleven interview and described them. What might your was, and they were very suspicious of me and said we want. When are you gonna do three I worked on the toolbar he'll be fine, I didn't you, I don't think they believed that I would buy. Did can you come back of a world too and write a thesis about Samuel Becker or did you with a bound copy of it somewhere in the birth rate? Library? but I really enjoyed it, had been operating among extreme level. You know you do an album, you go on to you, do the promo, rinse and repeat it again, and I was starting to feel a little bit trapped by that
by nineteen eighty. Eighty written that you'd lost your place in the music. Seeing what happened in it we started out it's obvious, indie darlings, because we were doing everything ourselves and operating a very small level, and then we achieved a bit excess and then, natural against that of creating cycle, which is the european could be out of ideas, and both of us would be honest and look back our career at the end of the eighties. The return of the nineties and admit that we, once almost you know creatively prolific and we weren't any didn't any longer, have that sort of newness thing in his the new band. So that's a tricky I'm in the career of any band. That's often the point when it comes to a natural convent, but then in ninety ninety to ban became gravely ill very suddenly tom. What happened yeah he I mean he started just getting sick over a period of months, all sorts of different symptoms which you know
go to gdp and it was a bit mysterious ended up. one day being very ill indeed and just ass, he was having a heart attack and he was rushed into hospital and Therefore, I think at least two weeks before they find he found out tat. He had a very nasty auto mean disease, so he was in hospital weeks, he had lost his surgery, or some very They medication was an intense if care and unconscious, for some of that time and then, when he finally came out of hospital quite along convalescence, he lost a lot of weight. I mean he was really skinny and poorly lacking when he came out what was the impact of experience on you as a couple. I think it brought us closer together and pushed us apart at set of very deep level it gave us.
feeling of why we ve shared something, really extraordinary, extraordinarily horrible, but nonetheless something extraordinary but on the other hand, band especially had a lot of recovering to do a lot of mental recovering to do, which meant he disappeared inside himself for a while, but for that sort of first year or so after he was recovering. I think we were both sets of recovering, but in slightly separate spaces, and then what that lead to was actually a resurgence of that creative. impulse. We were both, I think, a bit shell shocked and in a slightly nerve, jangling state, which, ironically, was quite conducive to making more exciting music. It was light rediscovering, that's it
Phebe rough teenage state when you're living on your nerve ends, and you can't wait to get your ideas out there chase it. One time for some music: what's your sixth desk, my sixth, this is for my sister, sister Debbie, shame by evening, champagne can't she'll be leaping to her feet and yes, this is a song we both used to like going to a disco together, even through the years of getting into punk and joining bands. I never lost my love of going out for adults and through that whole period. Sometimes you have to look for the records that you could still dance to at parties, and this was one of those records that people used to play, even if you were a party without that kind of rock fans, you'd still on the phone and have it done and yeah. If this came on
still, I think you will be the case the the champagne king, shame Tracy, don't talk
aries nineteen. Ninety five remix of your track missing was a huge hit. Did it success? Take you by surprise. Yes, he did. That mix was done really just for american clubs. No one was necessarily thinking that song still had a chance of being hit and it bumbles around just when you're a cop here for quite a while, it was one of those real slow burner, hits and ended up just being a hit everywhere. But you know that point in our career and our lives, when we long stopped thinking, we were gonna have hits at that level. So it was at this point, as you say, unexpectedly, you find yourself a semi vip. You tell me about that phrase. Yeah we went through strong one eye and we'd made reservation, and did that thing when you are I think you ve got table booked eight and their little bits of looking down their list trying to find she said we leaned over to see in the list they had just behind the counter with our names here and there.
Well streets? Don't burma and the words beside in brackets, semi ray. I feel I felt riddles sum this up in a much better, an x, the ip I like the accuracy and specificity of it. You know, there's none of your analysts endless stuff here, it's very specific! No, your place. Yes. So what was your attitude to success and failure? At this point, I think we probably enjoyed the success of missing even more because we hadn't suggests locked away fora and We didn't have any expectations and it was really good phone. there is an expectation that musicians will play lie from in the audience wanted labels. Definitely one tat can be very lucrative, but is something that you don't do why? I don't do anymore, I did to it for lots of years. You know we turn through the eighties and for not of the nineties and
I stopped when the kids were very small, so to say if the people well, I can't concert at the moment- and I've got three very small kids. But honestly I I think I I was very happy to use the kids as an excuse to stop and time went by and then a bit more time, and I came back to make you records again, which has been the bay I always have loved. You know back to the security of the vocal booth believed. debate stage fright. But obviously there is a bigger conversation about anxiety. The experience of anxiety out there now certain He then would have been happening when you were younger and when, when you were performing live yes, so then, presumably you thought it was stage fright and wonder how you assess your experiences. and the way with feeling now, I think I stage fright is- is a form of anxiety and I've, being aware, as I got older, the I suffer from a month
more generalised anxiety than just stage fright my, which has been part of my life for a long time and I've dealt with it a lot better in recent years, having gone for a bit of therapy and in the lights of, as he say, people talking about it a bit more, been much more open about it and that's been great, but again the thing about the singing live. Is you know I did do it for all those years, even with the variety, and if I wanted to enough, I would but really what I don't have any more or at the moment is the desire, and I don't want to do anything any more unless I'm absolutely desperate to do it time some music tell me about your seventh disk today. So this song reminds me of the appeared manifesto had twins and they were born a few weeks early. So I was bad
the situation again of sitting in the hospital this time beside too little babies in incubators, which was a tricky time and said, swell in its own way, and I do remember with each of them that there were a couple of moments when You know I wasn't allow to be sitting cuddling them all. The time when begs are naked is not the right thing to be doing so. There was a bit of sitting looking at. If the plastic, but there were moments when I was allowed to go out and sit and have a little cuddle and sit in a rocking chair, and I thoughts immediately and I must sing to my babies. That's what people do they sing lullabies but hang on don't know any lullabies what you sing to a baby, and this song was the first one that popped into my head, that I thought sounds lullaby ish and I sat and sang it to my babies. While they were still in the intensive care unit and yeah, I think he does work as a loner by
this dire shining bride at night, reason seem to whisper. I love you, birds sang in the sycamore tray dream little dream of me. I say that and kiss me just hold me tight and tell me you'll miss me, while I'm alone and blue the mamas and papas dream a little dream of me, tracy he had your twin girls in nineteen, ninety eight and then his son in two thousand and one and stepped away from work, for a while. What was it like becoming a normal,
I swear you anonymous. I was more or less anonymous. I had the city have a weird experience, sometimes where I made lots of friends through the kids. The way you do going to play groups and schools and never quite being sure whether people had recognized me and ina being british, no one ever mentioned either there is that weird thing where people go into that sorts of polite thing of thinking? Well, I just won't mention it, so you're you're not quite sure whether anyone knows and then there are moments when the kids first noticed you normally. I remember one of the kids coming home from school saying when he was reading smoke break. I think ST my teacher says she's got all your records like what does that me? What records and what did you say I mean I just gave them a sort of potted version of it, but wiener kids aren't interested honestly to them and I was just mom. That was all they were. You know quite rowdy or they were interested in what I'd done before was of no
and what about for you and ben- how is it being negotiating the transitions between different ways of working together and working apart alongside your relationship in a first being in a band together than him? Releasing some of your soul? A word now, I think, sometimes writing an adjacent desks right next to each other yeah. We I mean we don't work together anymore and haven't done really, since we had the kids, and that seems the right decision. You know. Sometimes I say to people it was: enough being a couple and being in a band together and try to make that work for all those years, but now this another lesson of rna shit, we're parents together as well now- and I think you know-
four someone's casually say: oh what a new reform effort into the girl you know be so great, but to us that looks like quite strange life decision in a we be going back to agreeing to spend every bit of our lives together and make every decision together all working decisions as well, and that seems to me like an awful lot of put on a relationship and relationship, and obviously here the two of you are still together. Very happily, having got my rates italy, relatively recently after several decades together. What's what's the secret of your relationship, if there is one now there isn't one. If the honest answer, I think it's very largely luck. There is something about us that suits each other and through all the other ups and downs in the stuff you have to work on. I just think that that was a sort of lucky meeting and what about the future
good for you. You've said I do things that are important to me. Moreover, at the moment you know I'm lucky enough that I can juggle the two things of music and writing and I do find music very uncontrollable. I can't make songs, come often there's a gap of a couple of years or a few years in between records, and it just to wait for the next bit of inspiration to strike going out. Dancing has to be on the list as well, because there was a tweets by half five in the morning. The color would certainly go right. That's fine! I can't read the actual tweet itself out on radio for this time the day, but the radio edit version is everything except go. Not done things get stuffed. Yes may have been a little tired and emotional when I wrote that- and that was one of those classic accidental evenings where it started very sedately in a restaurant and ended up with some cocktails before we knew it.
We were in a gay bar dancing as you are. I don't do it all the time, but I We love it when, when I'm in the middle of it, it's the most euphoric thing- and you know perhaps as you get older, thus the the moments, the harder to find those moments of real euphoria and when they do come along and you just seize them by both hands. We were still there in the dj. She finished played the last record and then it went quiet. We were the ones in the fucking know. With that in mind, let's have some more music tracey thorn, your eighth disc. Yet- and this is one more time by daft punk, which reminds me of that period. I was just talking about when the kids were. Small Ben was working a lot as a dj and running his label. So you know I lived this very domestic life, but one in which happened to nonstop soundtrack of dance music,
and you know- the kids grew up with us that soundtracks that they all knew lots of these amazing records, and that was the year we went on holiday when the plate was very small. He was about three or something, and he was at that age where all he wanted to do was jump in the swimming pool over and over again climb out. Jumping again he would just stand on the edge, is going one more time and then jump in again. So this reminds me of that period. the
daft punk and one more time, Tracy. Don't I'm about to cast your way to our island? How do you feel about the prospect a bit nervous, asthma, most things I would very much enjoyed lying on the does unbeatable day now. I'd like to have me I'll, give you, the bible and complete works if shakespeare to read, while you that you can also take a book of your choosing, what would you like it to be so? I'm gonna be really corny tight, warm peace, because I have never eta and bates very long. I wanna see people, that's really good, so I think it would keep me going for ages. You can also have a luxury item. What would you like most- Rising, lipstick, please come and I want to say let bomb because I think being on a desert island without any let bomb would be a nightmare. But if I'm gonna I have some lip balm and I might as well have a bit of color in it. Is it
It's for the way it looks or is lipstick more important than that to anyone who knows me will be sitting there and I'll go. Oh, I am not surprised because my lipstick is quite a big part of my life allah, dusty springfield, always reapply lipstick before lead vocal, take the advice to live by Is it just? And finally, if I had to ask you to save just one of the eight tracks you ve chosen today, which would it be, it's gonna, be diagnosed monster waiting just because a car imagine being on and on not being able to listen to it Tracy it one very much for sharing you does Anna discs with us. Thank you, I'm very much with trees.
It's one on the importance of lipstick? I do hope you enjoyed that interview. Other singer, songwriting castaways include, Annie, lennox, Lily, Allen, Paul weller, ian jury, guy garvey, Elton John, so many to choose from in our back catalogue and all are available to download via BBC sounds you'll, also find Allison Moyes desert island discs. She spoke to kirsty into anti fourteen let's talk for a moment about you and vince Clarke? Then it was ninety ninety one and, as I understand it, you put an advert in melody maker. What what did it read? This advert? I can't remember the exact words, but I was always looking for an a blues band as a contributor means you should start a blues bands now what was interesting about, as I actually knew vince when I was eleven. We both went to the same community Saturday morning, music school, so I I knew of him. Although out of the whole of the depeche mode group, he was the one that was least friendly with fletcher and martin go. They were both in my class at school, as was paragon, monte, ended up being in the queue unit. So it's quiet, there's caught lots
stuff that was was going on with that, but anyway, he knew of me because I'd been playing in bands before him and he'd see me play out, live and when he'd left depeche mode. He had this. Only you. He was looking for a voice and it was just an indicative. He was looking for me the week, my numbers in the paper and there within months on top the pop singing. Only you didn't get to number one. It got to number two years later. I can you remember what you were wearing when you performed. I can remember it was exactly remember as well, because a girlfriend of mine made it may, because I didn't have a but then I hadn't been given advance. It hadn't occurred to me to ask for any money, so I borrowed a few quid of my. and we got down market in boats material, my so latina. How it up against me her on a machine Can you imagine in those days me now you get you get a mid week. She get told where your records gotten in those days used to. I see myself sitting on the my mom dad's house, listening to the chart countdown and having no idea if you dropped out- going up and it was only by listening with everybody else. Did you find out? We record was said that was thrilling, thrilling, thrilling. Somebody ones
If you don't know who you are when fame hits, you then fame will define you, you are only. I think twenty will you twenty. When I was twenty yeah, I don't know how did it affect you? It affects me hence that I I hadn't realise quite how much I'd enjoyed my black sheep status at my head shaved and was wearing the ends and an army greens. I can understand why anyone would think that always a threatening individual and there was like this of a space around me that people would leave me to my own devices. But I I I found it really difficult. You know to suddenly be amongst the beautiful people. You know where I had. You know no being you gotta socializing. Suddenly, I'm amongst these urbane types, the well read and are well travelled and our cultured and I, Stu. This rather dark discoloured groaning creature in the back, and I run it
from his quick ass I could and in many ways that's the absolute save me save me, because I never became a pot. Instead did much opener went home, alison mooing as trees. He explained she and ban went to whole university back in nineteen. Seventy six roy ploy I only spoke to the man who was the university librarian there for thirty years, the poet philip larkin, do you write for yourself or to communicate a feeling to others? I certainly write to be read. That would be their little point in writing, something that nobody was going to read, but it's not quite communicating in the sense of writing those are the times. For instance, you try to create something in words that will reproduce in somebody else: who's never met you and perhaps isn't even living in the same cultural societies yourself that cemetery
will read and so who get the experience, the true Helen and forced to write the poem it's a kind of preservation by recreation. If I can put it there when you are not in any way a quote here, difficult or abstruse, put your poems are very simple a night. This strikes me as being deal to a great deal of effort to make them sir. I think that a poem should be understood at first reading line by line, but I don't think it should be exhausted at first reading. I hope what I write gives the reader something when they read it fast enough, in fact, to make the readers, the game and so on. I didn't fit item philip larkin.
next week I'll be interviewing the award winning also kate atkinson. I do hope, you'll join us. Why is it that some people pretend to support a football team? It's important questions like that I'll be looking to unravel, with the help of top experts, psychologists and some big sporting names. In my new podcast, don't tell me, the school will be dissecting sporting things like tribalism, the power of belief and the art of resilience to uncover important answers about life and the world around us forget the results tactics in cliches about two halves. This is a sports pockets, the likes of which you ve never heard before subscribe. To, don't send me the score with me. Sonny monday on BBC sounds
Transcript generated on 2022-06-12.