Squeeze legend Chris Difford will live-stream for Shoreham’s Ropetackle

Squeeze legend Chris Difford is offering Shoreham’s Ropetackle a Saturday Night at Home concert live from his Writers Garden (October 31).

Chris Difford
Chris Difford

The venue is boasting a unique opportunity to join the multi-award-winning songwriter/lyricist and co-founder of Squeeze from the comfort of your sofa, with all proceeds going to Ropetackle.

Chris said: “Each day I hear about venues on the verge of closing down; dark stages haunt all actors and musicians. The clock is ticking.

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“Live music venues have been my home for over 40 years so it makes sense for me to reach out from my Writers Garden and see what can be done.

“We will be playing for the Ropetackle Theatre in Shoreham on October 31 with full support and all the usual banter. We look forward to seeing you. Please note that this performance is being streamed online only through Zoom. We will send you the Zoom log in details on the day of the concert.”

Book via https://ropetacklecentre.co.ukThe concert comes hot on the heels of a special album Chris has curated, inspired by frontline photos taken by London nurse Hannah Grace Deller.

Earlier this autumn Working on the Frontline was the first single from the album Song Club, a collection of songs by award-winning songwriters – including Nick Heyward, Graham Gouldman, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Mark Nevin and Kathryn Williams – that celebrate frontline workers and document a poignant moment in time

Chris was delighted with the result, an important chronicle of the difficult months we are still going through.

“I was watching Grayson’s Art Club on Channel 4,” Chris recalls, “which was a wonderful place to rest your head during lockdown, and Hannah’s photos appeared and really moved me. It was just so personal. I went to her Instagram and found that she was a really great photographer who really had something to say for herself.”

And so a conference call of song-writers was convened, with the various writers inspired by various of the pictures.

“Together we have created a body of work to raise funds for the frontline workers. It has been so inspiring to hear the results.

“Hannah was beside herself really. I didn’t meet her until (recently) for the first time over the three-month period of time that it took to compile the album. It was lovely to meet her.

“To start with, we had a Zoom call and I put them in groups of two and everybody went off and wrote songs from as far afield as Nashville and New Orleans. I wanted to document what we are going through in the world, and I think we have done that successfully. Hopefully we don’t have to go through this again, and people will be able to get an idea of what it was like.”

Chris is particularly keen to reflect these times on the next album by Squeeze – whenever that will be: “It is difficult thinking about an album and finding yourself in the right head space. It is quite easy to sit still and do nothing. We were supposed to be on tour with Squeeze from February right through until Christmas in America and here, but that has all gone. That has all been moved to next year, starting in August.”

In the meantime, he has done a couple of drive-in shows which while being far from the full experience, at least “oiled the engine”, as Chris says.

But it’s hard: “We are redundant at the moment. We are all out of work, like all the theatre people. I feel so sorry for a lot of people who have had to shelve their lives and move on to different things.

“Some very talented people that I know who work for bands like Radiohead and Coldplay are now driving delivery vans and doing Uber, trying to make a living.

“I would hate to be in a young band trying to make ends meet right now.

“But you have got to be optimistic that we can get back. I am pretty sure that it won’t happen for the next six to nine months, but it may happen after that. It just depends how other countries deal with the virus or whether a vaccine comes along.

“But I don’t really like the idea of playing theatres with social distancing. That wouldn’t be a proper gig. I just don’t think the atmosphere would be there for the audience, and that’s the most important part of the show, how the atmosphere is for the audience.”

The first single from the album, Working on the Frontline comes from Jessie and The Leonards, performed by the BAFTA nominated actor/singer Jessie Buckley and her band.

• Talk is increasing of further lockdowns in the UK. What do you think of the situation? Join the Big Conversation and have your say on everything from healthcare to how the pandemic has affected you personally and how we make our communities stronger: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/bc-worthing