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Terry Hall

Terry Hall’s singing and song-writing — a potent mix of laconic humour,
cynicism and sharply observed social comment — have made him one
of the most unique frontmen in British music. In the late 1970s and
early ‘80s he helped to spearhead the hugely popular ska revival as
lead vocalist with The Specials, whose hard-hitting mix of ska, roots
reggae, punk and rock scored a run of seven straight Top Ten singles,
including such classics as Gangsters, Too Much, Too Young and
Ghost Town. Hall left The Specials at the height of their fame to form
Fun Boy Three, ushering in a musical eclecticism seldom heard in
the pop charts and on mainstream radio. Dubbed ‘a man who has
had more bands than a short-wave radio’, he has spent the past two
decades hopping from project to project: his bands the Colourfield,
Terry, Blair & Anouchka and Vegas (with Dave Stewart), appearances
with Tricky, Gorillaz and the Lightning Seeds, and two solo albums.
What has remained constant throughout Hall’s long and varied career
is his distinctive persona and cynical lyrics mixing political and social
commentary with everyday ennui.

Who are you? And what do you do for a living?
My name is Terry Hall and I am an all-round entertainer

Do you trust yourself?
I could never do that

What have you done since you woke up
this morning?

Smoked four cigarettes and opened my mail

What is your earliest memory?
Trying to throw myself off a wall to avoid school

Do you believe in life after death?
No way

Which historical figure would you like to take out,
and what would you like to show them?

Alexander Graham Bell. I would like to show him
a mobile phone and then give him a good slap

Were you a popular child?
I was a lonely child

What is the meaning of life?
There is no meaning, that’s why it’s cool…

Do you scare easy?
Say boo! and I jump

When and where were you most happy?
Barcelona, European cup final: United: 2,
Bayern Munich: 1

If you could make any one thing free for all
what would it be?


If you could have put a stop to any one thing in
the last 50 years what would it have been?

Bono forming a band

Which public space do you like best?
Old Trafford

Which private space do you like best?
My mind

Do you subscribe to a particular belief?
Drink water… eat food… breathe a lot…

What do you like most about fame and success?
Champagne, birds, and Peter Stringfellow

What do you do for fun?

What one thing would improve the quality
of your existence?

An alternative to lithium… that works!

Who was the first cultural figure to influence you?
George Best

What was the first thing you produced/participated
in that you are particularly proud of?

Gangsters: The Specials

What is your number one priority?
To sort my teenagers out

Why do you do what you do?
There’s no choice

Who do you most like to talk shop with?
David Cassidy… It’s an imaginary conversation

What is your principal defect?
There isn’t one

What is your most marked characteristic?
My charm

What would you like to be better at?
Ice hockey

What quality do you most like in man?

What is the quality you most like in woman?

What is sexy?
A two a.m. picnic

What is your favourite sound?
The tannoy at football

What is your favourite word?

What do you regard as the lowest depth
of misery?

Manic depression

Do you collect anything? If so what?
American outsider art

Which work of art do you most covet for
your home?


Which book do you keep returning too?
The Yellow Pages

What do you predict for America?
Greed and growth

What is humanity’s biggest failing?

Please describe the space you are in?
A dark green room, a rusty day-bed, rugs, big window,
books, an ice hockey game

What is the best bit of advice you can give to
someone who wants to succeed?

If at first you don’t succeed, forget it

What piece of music would you like played at
your funeral?

If You Go Away by Scott Walker

Is life serious?
No way!

Tell us a joke?
Waiter walks over to a table of Jewish mothers having
dinner and asks ‘is anything ok?’

What is love?
Love is blind

If you were to ask any two questions of any two
living people, whose work/life you admire, what
would they be and whom would you ask?

Patti Smith and Audrey Tatou: Do you fancy a drink?
Will you marry me?


Q&A index