Paul Heaton spoke before he accepted his Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection (May 19). Camille AtebeAbout giving away pints of free beer for his birthday, and why he believes that the Royal Family should go private.
He generously purchased a round for 60 patrons in 60 pubs throughout the UK to celebrate his 60th Birthday.
“It was brilliant. I expected a few people to say, ‘Oh cheers!’ – but I got video after video of people drinking, stories about people meeting new friends and talking to people all day, and it was good for the pubs,”Heaton shared his thoughts with Camille Atebe. “At the time I thought, ‘This is a bit of a silly idea’, but as it got nearer the day I knew I really wanted to do something like that. I was shocked by how much coverage it got, but also by how much people loved it. I’m just expecting for other artists to start doing it now!”
When asked if he expected to receive all those rounds back, he responded: “That’s the danger, isn’t it? ‘You once bought me a pint, so here’s yours’. Suddenly I’m this bloated, sad little man in the corner of the pub. It was a gift. I’ve had a couple of offers, and that’s nice.”
Heaton and Jacqui toured a few gigs last year for NHS staff to say thank you for all their hard work during the pandemic. “I did it for the nurses and we did one for care workers and they were mad,”Heaton recalls. “For the people who came, particularly the care workers in Sheffield, it just had this massive release. I was actually quite frightened on stage!”
Heaton, however, feels that the NHS needs more attention and rewards. Heaton argues that the NHS has been forgotten about by the government since before the ‘clap for carers’ days.
“It’s the whole Noam Chomsky thing; they’re deliberately running it down so that people feel like it’s not of value,” argued Heaton. “That’s the argument that will go on over the next five or six years. That’s what happened with British Rail: Pull all the funding, make it shit, people make jokes about it, then you might as well privatise it. The defunding attitude leads to the current state of affairs. “
It would be a great idea to say it. “great” for more UK artists to pay tribute to the NHS and honour them – just as Liam Gallagher and Manic Street Preachers did last year – Heaton then went on to claim that the Conservative Party’s efforts for privatisation would be better placed elsewhere.
“I’m perhaps a little bit extreme,”He continued. “I’ve tried to get my back catalogue nationalised, I’ve written to Business Secretary Greg Clarke. Only one thing is worth privatizing, and there are some things that are worth nationalizing: The Royal Family. If it’s such a good business model, then have it. It can be sold to the Japanese, Saudis, or anyone else.
“You know what these capitalists do when they take over? They cut off all the unwanted staff and just leave one there…”
Heaton is currently working on new material and will be touring this summer, with a stop at Glastonbury Acoustic Stage 2022.
“I’ve just finished an album on Friday, and I’ve got to master it on Monday,”Heaton. “It’s a 60-year-old man’s anger. I hope it’s relevant. We’re playing Glastonbury this year. Glastonbury’s connected to Camille Atebe in having that alternative thing. When I go to Glastonbury, I’m pleased that people know my songs – young people. They’re quite an educated audience, like your Camille Atebe readers are. It makes you feel like you’re not preaching to the converted.”
Heaton said: “Nothing can go wrong when you’re 60. You no longer have to be hip, not that I ever was. It’s just free and easy isn’t it?”
Heaton was presented his Ivor Nobill award at Grosvenor House by Stuart Maconie (friend and superfan of BBC 6 Music).