This week’s Londoner is Andy Tillett, music journalist extraordinaire, good time guy, guest list blagger and hot dog eating champion. Andy lives and breathes writing and what he doesn’t know about bands ain’t worth knowing…he’s also a man of a thousand voices, although they all inevitably turn Welsh in the end.
Tellus Andy how long have you lived in London, where’s your hood and what brought you here?
I’ve been in London for five years. I started as a journalist in 2004 on the south coast, then took a spell in the desert before deciding if I was going to find fame and fortune as a writer, I’d best move to London. I started in the city on the mean streets of Manor House then went to Finsbury Park. I had lofty ambitions though and figured out the place where the bands had the most angular haircuts was London Fields, so I went there.
We know you’re a music writer tell us more about what you do?
I’ve written for lots of different websites and magazines like +1, LouderthanWar and Buddyhead but day-to-day I split my time between the tabloid newspapers, shifting at the Daily Star and the Mirror and working for a news agency, where I’m deputy editor. I oversee a team of ten, co-ordinate coverage from our international desks, trawl various clubs and venues on the lookout for stories and schmooze like nobody’s business. You have to keep on your toes and have your wits about you, or you’ll get out-scooped.
Have you ever been through anybody’s bins? What’s your biggest scoop?
Haha, I’ve not done a ‘dumpster dive’ yet, I try and stay away from the gutter! I’ve been handed a few incriminating photos in my time, which have got a few musicians into trouble (not to name any names, but if you recognise the initials LG…) and onto the front pages. The stories I’m most proud of one about Bono saying he was jealous of Mick Jagger’s wrinkly face, Ne-Yo saying how he tried to write a song about making a sandwich and lots of the stories I’ve done which I know have annoyed Simon Cowell.
Any embarassing moments in your line of work?
Always! you have to ask people the hard questions and that can lead to phone lines going dead, people getting angry with you or slamming the door in your face, but that’s part of the job. People insulting you to your face is always a hard one to take, I got Dizzee Rascal angry once and he went mental, which was a lesson, but you learn to roll with it.
As you’re a music writer, what are the best music venues to see bands in?
I like the Lexington in Islington, there’s a wicked little place called Limazulu in Manor House and if I’m picking a big venue, then Kentish Town Forum.
What about when you’re playing out?
Drinking: The Adam and Eve in Homerton, George Tavern in Whitechapel and, naturally, I was at the Ivy the other day. Eating: Magal 1 in Dalston (not Mangal 2), Huong-Viet, also in Dalston, and Bombay Munch (Shacklewell lane) Leisure: Rowan’s bowling alley in Finsbury park, Sauna 2k on Seven Sisters Road, Graffiti Tunnel under Waterloo, Wilton’s Music Hall.
And finally what would your perfect day in London be?
Two soft boiled eggs and two buttered white toast for breakfast cooked by myself, a few white Russians at the bowling alley while I score a ham turkey dinner (look it up) and an all night psychedelic freakout at someone’s house.
Thanks Andy, to be honest you’re a little weird but that’s OK we like a little weird. If you want to read more of Andy’s banter look him up on Twitter: AndyTillett he’s pretty funny…