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Rachel Sloane meets...
... Nik Kershaw - the pop singer and composer who grew up In Ipswich

Rachel: Ipswich is home territory for you Nik, isn't it?
Nik: It is … how are things down there?

Rachel: Everything's wonderful in Ipswich. It's just as lovely as ever. Nik: Is it still St. Matthews… is that where you are?

Rachel: Yes, St. Matthews Street. Do you remember it well?
Nik: I do, I remember the swimming baths - have they gone?

Rachel: They have I'm afraid, but they're talking of bringing it back as a venue. Nik: O yeah, I saw some great bands there. I remember one great night seeing Lindisfarne and the Town had won 3-0 that night as well. It was a great night!

Rachel: Looking back on the 1970's, that was your introduction to music, with your school band, wasn't it? Nik: It was. It would have been 1972 onwards that I was at Northgate, so it was music of that time - Bowie and T Rex, Slade - 'cos I was a skinhead for a while - and yeah, my school band.

Rachel: Called Half Pint Hog? Nik: Yeah. I know where the Half Pint came from, I don't know where the Hog came from, I can't remember…
Rachel: So tell us about the Hal Pint bit then? Nik: I don't know whether it was ever supposed to be me because I wasn't a half pint when I started the band. I was actually quite tall for my age but, believe it or not, I just stopped growing at a certain point, so I think I was the Half Pint bit.

Rachel: Let's go back to your musical career. How did the new album, Here and Now, come about?
Nik: I made an album in 1998 and 2001, and was in the process of making another one, when I got a phone call from Universal and they said: "Look, we own all the MCA catalogue and your own songs. If we stick a few new ones on, do you want to do a Best of… and will you promote it?" and I thought it would be rude to say no, really.

Rachel: I can see that but, having walked away from the industry, was it a big step to come back into it in a performing role?
Nik: I don't think I ever thought about it that much, I didn't think about what was involved. I only ever imagined it being on quite a small scale and just the chance to make records again. It's a very privileged position to be in - to be able to make your own music and to have an audience, however small it is, that actually want to listen to it, and that's all I wanted to do, I just wanted to make music… it didn't occur to me that I'm getting back on the old promotion treadmill.

Rachel: And stepping out onto the state again, and all of that.
Nik: Yeah, I always find that pretty scary, but ultimately very rewarding.

Rachel: How is your family now?
Nik: My eldest boy is 17, I have a 15-year-old boy, and a 12-year-old boy.

Rachel: What sort of music are they into?
Nik: My eldest is a drummer and he's into Audio Slave and all this new metal stuff, my youngest is into Gorillaz. My middle one is a bit confused - he's my Downs Syndrome boy and he's utterly convinced he's going to, at some point in his life, live in the same house as Girls Aloud.

Rachel: Do you come back to visit your parents in Ipswich very often?
Nik: I do, quite a lot, so I do know the old town and it has changed a lot over the years I must say.

Rachel: If you went out for a walk when you come to visit, whereabouts would you go?
Nik: I use to live very near what used to be Braziers Wood, near the old airport, and of course the airport isn't there any more. What use to be complete wood, which is where I used to go and hang out with everybody, has pretty much disappeared and it's now a housing estate, which is a bit of shame. It's very nice for the people living there, and there's still the lairs that lead down to the river where the bridge is… and that's a nice walk.

Rachel: Do you remember, back in the 1980's helping Suffolk Police produce an anti-drugs video?
Nik: Yeah - that was very odd, because there was no way I could come out of that looking good! At one point there was a press conference and one journalist asked: "If your friends were taking drugs would you tell the police?" and it was a very long and convoluted answer I gave, and the next headline I saw in the Daily Mail or something, said "I would shop my friends" and all this kind of thing - and I was thinking "that wasn't really what I was meaning" but there you go!

Listen to the full interview on BBC Radio Suffolk (95.5, 95.9, 103.9, 104.6,) on Monday afternoon at 1.25pm and you could win a copy of his new album Here and Now.

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