Chris T-T

In the same week that the Manic Street Preachers release 2 singles in the same week. Chris T-T has decided to do the same with "Injured Popstars" and "English Man". A man on a mission who gets most of his inspiration for songs from supermarkets and is set to make a whole host of enemies over the next year. Read on in this strange interview which covers everything from Egg Mayonnaise wraps and his favourite bus route to less pressing subjects like Bob Dylan and the aforementioned Manics.

Q: Tell us about this whole Manics rivalry then?
A: I made a mistake last night at a gig in Cambridge and obviously I have to say something about the Manics. So I said whatever I said, it wasn't particularly vitriolic, but there was a whole line of people who fo R*E*P*E*A*T fanzine right down the front going "Ahhhhhh!!!!". I thought we were going to get beaten up but they actually offered us a gig.

I think what I said was my standard comment that they forgot to write any chorus'. Its all very well putting out 2 singles on the same day but one of them has actually got to have a chorus. They've just chucked together a load of arrangement and production instead of writing any songs at all really. Say what you like about "Injured Popstars" but at least it's got a chorus.

Q: Have you ever been a fan of the Manics?
A: I have in my time been a fan of the Manic Street Preachers but now they're a bit rubbish, they were once a fine band. I really like "The Holy Bible" and its the only one that actually sounds like a proper album rather than a set of choices that the producers made while the band were someone else.

Didn't they say they were going to split up after one album and they got this deal where they did this double debut album which was fantastic and then they stuck around... well most of them stuck around anyway!!!

Q: But isn't it true you want Nicky Wire to read a story on your next album?
A: I don't know whether you've heard his speaking voice but its absolutely gorgeous. The first album has got a friend of my Tim doing a story on and the last record has got another friend of mine Jen doing a story unaccompanied that sounds like Radio 4. Obviously we wanted another accent because she's from East Anglia and Tim's from Essex and sounded like Ian Dury.

The record label have sent him a demo tape with me reading out the story. Maybe if he offered to do it I could let him hit me or something.

Q: On "Injured Popstars" how did you go about choosing the people involved?
A: Well, it started with Lisa from Steps to be honest. Because she's the closest to a normal human being in Steps she had to be there and the song almost built out of feeling really sorry for her. When the story came out about their relative payments and what happened behind the scenes in Steps it made me feel very sorry for this girl because it is a very hard job.

I hate Gloria Estefan, she's the worst person in the world - its between her and Pol Pot anyway. She had to be in it and I thought the best thing to do would be to injure lots of other people and have her not really injured and making a big thing out of nothing. After that Kelly Jones came naturally cos of the line about fire.

Originally Eddie Van Halen was in there but he got replaced. So many of them are crap musicians...John Michelle Jarre..crap...Steps...crap...Gloria Estevan..crap..Celine Dion...very crap etc. It almost was becoming half way through writing the song too inoffensive and too sort of picking on soft targets so I put in Lou Reed and Bob Dylan to annoy the hippies. Bob Dylan probably gets away the lightest with just a fork up his nose.

Q: Is there going to be a 2001 version with ITV's Popstars?
A: That's superb isn't it, they're just crying out for some abuse aren't they. Did you see them on CD:UK with that dreadful song and at the end whoever it was, Ant or Dec, really hastily said that's its not the single. But even funnier, because they can sing quite well, afterwards Atomic Kitten did an acoustic set. It was just the whole incongruity of two of Atomic Kitten with an acoustic guitar and bongos.

Its a pity that we were quite rushed to put this single out but we went back in the studio to do a few edits and I suddenly found myself with new ideas for people like Atomic Kitten, The Popstars, Madonna and people like that.

I might have to do a sex one. If I can work out a way of doing a song about shagging popstars that doesn't come across as really sexist. That would be quite good!!!

Q: Is it true that a lot of your inspiration comes from supermarkets?
A: Don't you find that your life revolves far too much around them? I think that once I get the technology together I think I'll definitely become an internet supermarket shop so I never have to go in again.

I have big issues with supermarkets. Basically the whole design is not to sell you food but to sell you something else. Like you don't just go an buy some bread. You can and choose whether you'll buy chapatti or french loaf or fresh grain - its bollocks!!! They're selling you a whole bunch of crap that isn't what you want to buy.  In the old days you'd buy sugar. You'd go in a little shop and say "I want 1/2 a pound of sugar, please" and someone would scoop 1/2 a pound of sugar into a paperbag. That's how you should buy sugar!!!!

You know wraps are really trendy, everyone has wraps instead of Sandwiches. Especially in here where I'm sat in a really shitty Media office full of Media Whores - all the sort of "we know what's going on" bollocks In Sainsburys you can get an Egg Mayonnaise wrap for about 60p more than an Egg Mayonnaise sandwich - What on earth is that then? We didn't put any yeast in the bread so its stays flat and then we charge you 40 / 60 p for the same product because its trendy and people like to have wraps. Also a wrap is like a vaguely foreign exotic thing and then they put Egg Mayonnaise in it.

Q: What sort of cultural reference points are sticking out on the new album?
A: I'm talking a lot about Manhood as opposed to person hood. There's a song in there called "F Sharp" which is painting a picture of domestic violence from the point of view of the violator being the male. In the vast majority of the cases the male ends up the winner and every sort of portrayal of domestic violence the woman sort of escapes.

There's some new stuff that is about the City Girl Novel where all these writers have got together and written the same novel over and over again for city girls to read. The city girl looking for the perfect man whilst still maintaining her high powered media career. They should all just be shot. You know even Louise Wener has written one.

I'm going to be dealing a lot with hedgehogs alot because there is two songs on the album about hedgehogs as a metaphor for modern life obviously.

Q And the working title is "253" from the bus route?
A: There's two songs on the album with that name because obviously we have the night-time buses and daytime buses. Its this amazing bus route that passes through Stamford Hill and Manor House in North East London which are very very culturally diverse areas. I spent about 2 months boasting to my mum about how great it was cos you'd get on the bus and see all these ethnic groups getting on really well. I was really proud of this bus route and thought it was really great, really exciting to see all these different kinds of people together. Then about a week after I got home there was this huge stabbing on it and loads of people got stabbed because of the Arab / Israeli conflict.

Its quite a political album really dealing with the current situation with the similarity of the two main supposed choices of who is going to lead us into this new exciting millennium. Whether they are going to be right wing or right wing? It is a bit cheesy taking on politicians and they can always shout louder and have fat policemen by their side.

The musical Spitting Image??? As long as I'm not the musical Alistair MacGowan I don't mind.

Q: I hear you're rehearsing for a tour in the same rooms as Toploader?
A: What's going on in the country where everybody wants to sound like Toploader. I tell you what if you hear them without production its quite a revelation. Putting your ear to the rehearsal room door is always a good laugh - they're fucking shit.

Can I kill Toploader? Set fire to his hair. It would burn for a long time and you could keep a load of hippies going with that. Setting fire to the bloke from Toploaders hair would be great. What I would do is put superglue on the keys of his keyboard and then set fire to his hair. Superb!!!

Q: And finally tell us about the Chris Moyles / NME Awards experience?
A: I look quite like him which is a very unfortunate situation to be in and I went to the NME awards a couple of weeks back. They had a really nice free food spread going on so me & my friend had a meal and after it they actually had a pudding table. So I went up to and I got this huge plate of chocolate pudding and I turn round and 3 feet away there is Chris Moyles stood with a huge plate of chocolate pudding. We sort of did a double take and then walked really quickly the other way. My friends all pissed themselves so I might have to kill him in a song.

Chris T-T Website