Review: Chris Difford, Off The Shelf, Sheffield University

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You know him... the one out of Squeeze, who didn’t sing the lead lines and wasn’t Jools Holland.

But he wrote the words. Good ‘uns and lots of ‘em. Lyrical craft, with heaps of English observation.

Chris Difford always seems to have been in that left-of-centre position.

He’s here to talk words of a different kind, about his autobiography, where Squeeze - the main element in his life - obviously hasn’t always been the main element in his life.

“It’s not that interesting to go on about the band you’re in,” he says.

More appealing is the desire to tell a tale about being hired and fired as Bryan Ferry’s lyric editor, before being rehired as the Roxy Music frontman’s manager.

Difford talks with the irony that has often characterised his lyrics. He’s slightly uneasy, self-deprecating, almost as though he would rather be somewhere else. A fascinating view of someone who wrote some of his generation’s best pop words.

Difford is candid about addictions to drugs and alcohol: “I’ve spent so much money on therapy I could have had my own band.”

Better the band he was in, formed when Glenn Tilbrook answered a 50p advert Difford placed in a shop.

They became a pair, a team, had success, grew estranged and then got back together.

“That 50p was well worth the journey,” Difford says, before picking up a guitar to busk Take Me I’m Yours and Cool For Cats.

Andrew Foley