HIDDEN tracks

Music was Pete Paphides' first love. And at this rate, it will be his last.

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Sandi Thom

For the first time ever, I found that I actually wanted to hear the new record by Sandi Thom”




I have an admission to make. Even though I (mostly) make a living out of having opinions about music, I’ve somehow managed to get to this point without having heard more than a handful of songs by Sandi Thom. In fact, to be honest, I know for sure that I’ve heard her 2006 single, I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair) – and I dimly recall playing a few well-crafted, rootsy,…


You’re just a product, and no-one thinks about you when they go home.”




Estelle isn’t due to appear on stage for another hour. But in the basement of Zavvi on Oxford St – formerly the Virgin Megastore – a hundred-odd Estelle fans have already installed themselves. If you have a mental image of what Estelle fans might look like, it’s probably not dissimilar to the scene here. Upwardly mobile B-boys and young commuters affect a modicum of detachment – as, indeed…

The Beatles

The first artists to tread the pop-cultural snowfall that they had helped cause.”




At the beginning of 1962, anyone who wanted to hear Beatles music had no option but to go and see them live. There were no Beatles records played on the radio because there were no Beatles records. Now, just five years later, the opposite was true. The futility of making themselves heard over the screams of their fans left The Beatles with little choice but to quit touring. As John Lennon…

Jamie T

Nothing bad could happen in the London described by John Betjeman.”




Jamie T’s girlfriend Lola is in the hotel room, nursing a day-long hangover. “She hasn’t eaten anything today,” he says tenderly, “so I just sent her up a green Thai curry.” While she convalesces upstairs, the 20 year-old former public schoolboy – real name, Treays – steadies his nerves with a pre-show lager. Living, as he does, in Wimbledon, he is delighted about the timing of his first…

Remembering Live Aid

I may have failed at history, but soon I was going to be part of it.”




Actually, there was snow in Africa that Christmastime – but it was on the snowy peaks of Kilimanjaro and Tanzania – inaccessible to all but the hardiest of explorers. And, of course, the only bells that ring there are not the clanging chimes of doom. You’ve also got the Ghanaian Kangogi and the Grello – a castanet-like finger bell. But as Do They Know It’s Christmas swiftly became the…

The first thing I see is a drunk Willem Dafoe careering down the pavement with a big grin on his face.

The first thing I see is a drunk Willem Dafoe careering down the pavement with a big grin on his face.”




“YOUR FORTUNE is mine for the telling and yours for the hearing.” Outside the East Village’s Gem Spa – favoured corner store of Allen Ginsberg, immortalised on the back cover of the New York Dolls’ 1973 debut and, briefly, in the video of Elbow’s New York Morning – animatronic fortune teller Zoltar implores the Mancunians being photographed in front of him to feed two $1 bills into his…

Victoria Wood

I used to watch other comedians and wonder why they had a series”




As dressing rooms go, the one at the Oxford Apollo speaks of a life lived virtuously. A dozen bottles of Evian and a huge wooden bowl, filled with apples, oranges, bananas and precisely two figs. There's a book about Maria Callas's relationship with Aristotle Onassis lying face down on the carpet, and beside it, a sofa with Victoria Wood on it – sipping tea. Friendly, but also a little edgy…

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