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Reluctant celebrities are at Cliffs – with a pop-up shop
DESPITE being listed as an influence by artists from Lily Allen to Mark Ronson, via Supergrass and Kasabian, Squeeze have always managed to keep a remarkably understated presence.
They are, as Chris Difford puts it, reluctant celebrities, but they’re back on stage tonight at the Cliffs Pavilion – along with their pop-up shop, which will see CDs for sale recorded on the night.
“I guess in some ways I would say looking back we were reluctant celebrities,” admits Chris ahead of the gig.
“I don’t think we were in that kind of place where we strove for fame. Squeeze are a bit like the family cat, we go out the flap and we’re gone for ages then we come back and everyone’s quite happy to see us.”
Squeeze’s fans are certainly pleased to see them out on the road again – not least after they enjoyed a surge in popularity following a documentary screened on BBC4 in October.
Chris lists the documentary as a top accolade and says: “It was almost like getting an award. It was touching. I was moved by it.”
In a career as varied and lengthy as Squeeze’s, it’s hard to narrow down highlights, but Chris says really, it’s always been about the music.
He says: “I can’t pick out many moments individually. The whole journey has been fantastic. It doesn’t have to be Madison Square Gardens or the Royal Albert Hall, it’s wherever you pick up the experience of playing music.”
However, he does relent and say: “I suppose going on Top of the Pops for the first time was a big deal when I was at school, so it was one of those things I wanted to do. That was amazing.”
At the heart of Squeeze’s success is the musical partnership between Chris and Glenn Tilbrook, once hailed as the heirs to Lennon and McCartney.
But despite the magical musical spark that created songs including Pulling Mussels (From the Shell), Cool for Cats and Up the Junction, Chris says they are not particularly close outside of the studio.
“We met in London, and we’ve been writing together for 40 years,” he says. “We’re very different people. We don’t go to the football or to the pub together, we just share the same writing material.”
Squeeze Cliffs Pavilion, Station Road, Westcliff. Tonight, 8pm. Seated tickets are sold out. There are a handful of standing tickets left at £32.50. Call 01702 351135 or 01702 467305