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Baker's Dozen

Things I Hold Dear: Nadine Shah's Favourite Albums
Jeremy Allen , June 3rd, 2020 08:46

In this week's Baker's Dozen, Nadine Shah guides Jeremy Allen through favourite albums from Mariah Carey to Fat White Family, along the way discussing her friendship with Amy Winehouse and why Richard Dawson is the only man who should be allowed acoustic guitars at parties


Richard Dawson - Nothing's Important
He's an old friend of mine. You know when you go to house parties and someone pulls out a guitar and you're like, "ah right, it's time to go home"? When a boy pulls out an acoustic guitar, it's like, 'Fuck off, he's gonna play 'Wonderwall', see ya later. Time to go to bed, party over'. And when I first knew Richard Dawson years ago, I was at a house party in Newcastle and he gets the guitar and starts playing, and I couldn't even finish saying "party's over" because he started to play. Honestly, I've never known anything like it. I was spellbound by his voice, his presence, his playing, the way he detuned his guitar strings so they were slack, and I've not heard tuning like that ever. 

He's completely phenomenal and he was a cult icon in Newcastle for years. He had a big drinking problem, which he's talked about, and he'd turn up at parties wasted and play, and then he really got his act together and he honed his craft. He's been such an inspiration of mine. For me and my friends he was this huge inspiration. 

I try not to listen to any Richard Dawson when I'm writing because it makes me want to put the pen down and stop what I'm doing and not bother. I'm in love with his voice too. The lyrics for 'The Vile Stuff' are just sensational. And some of the names in the song - I know who those people are! And then I spoke to a music journalist who said, "It's really clever how he mentions all the Apostles in that song" and I was like, what? Fucking hell, Richard Dawson, you clever bastard. It has all the makings of the perfect song for me, 'The Vile Stuff': I love a drunken sea shanty or a song that sounds like you need a tankard to bash against a wooden table. It's one of the most glorious pieces of music that I've ever heard and so different from the music that I do hear or I imagine that I ever will hear. I put it on when I'm mischievous and whisky drunk. Bloody Richard Dawson, he's the best.