Bill Brewster

The Djing, book-writing, chefing, grimsby town supporting Bill Brewster faces up to the quick fire question machine

Hello Bill. Where to start in such a brief chat with you… what would be your opening gambit to yourself?

If you could only have Grimsby Town OR music, which would you choose? Unfortunately, I have no answer for this.

Can you describe what ‘Tribal Rites’ is in a sentence?

An alternative story of my life told through the medium of music.

For a man so immersed in music, we’re surprised you managed to limit it to just three CDs! How tough was that?

The difficult thing is starting off with your dream tracklist, then gradually having it eroded because you can’t find the license holders or the label has gone out of business or the artist doesn’t want to license to you. .

Your musical adventure got off to quite a start didn’t it? The first record you bought was…

Ha ha. Well, it was Benny Hill’s ‘Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)’. My taste did improve, though, at least a little bit.

What was the last record you bought?

Shintaro Sakamoto’s ‘Love If Possible’ LP.

Says here that you’re a Michelin-starred chef….

As a chef, you never personally have stars, you are only part of a team or “equipe”. I was lucky enough to work in some really good places, including doing my training at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, where Marcus Wareing is now head chef, and also in Switzerland, at Le Richemond in Geneva, both of which have Michelin stars.

We love your 1970s Saturday record shopping ritual that took in London’s finest emporiums – Virgin, Rock On Records, Small Wonder, Rough Trade, and Beggars Banquet. Can you pick a favourite from that lot?

I have the most affection for Small Wonder, I think, because it was in a very unfashionable area, Walthamstow is still fairly unfashionable 40 years down the line. Small Wonder was also unusually friendly for a record store, unlike, say, Rock On, which was manned by a terrifying Shane MacGowan.

If you had to pick a shop today that has the spirit of the old places…

Although it’s on a bigger scale, Rough Trade East carries the same attitude as those old record stores did, with enthusiasm and knowledgeable staff (but a namecheck for Love Vinyl and Phonica, too, both ace stores).

Strikes us there’s a big difference between a record collector and a music fan. Which one are you? Can you be both?

I’m a music fan. I’m not interested in buying every release on Strictly Rhythm or everything by The Beatles. I’m interested in finding music that is new to me, which often means buying stuff by artists I’ve never heard of, like the Shintaro Sakamoto I mentioned earlier. I’d never heard of him before last week, but it was playing in the store when I walked in. I also own thousands of CDs, which I love. I prefer albums on CDs, although the shitty jewel case designs need sorting out.

Best of luck with the record. It’s a proper voyage of discovery.

Thanks for having me. Up the Mariners!

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