|It's summertime and the view from the living
room of Clifford T. Ward's home across the valley is breathtaking. Cliff
sits in his favourite chair, ever thoughtful, considering each question
and even inventing some himself. He never did like interviews but here
in this lovely room with a view, mixed with some good-natured banter and
sidetracking, it's hopefully not like the press inquisitions of old. No
angles, just a nice chat, some fond reminiscences and more than the odd
roguish aside, unsuitable for printing in a family fanzine! Cliff's been
through it all before but he answers patiently. It occurs to me that today
we have a great artist looking at his work from a perspective he could
never have imagined. Talking between equinoxes as the sun appears to stop
and rest upon the blue.
What is the worst thing anyone has ever said
about your music?
And the nicest?
You've been married for thirty six years to
the same girl. What keeps the marriage a success?
You have four children, two girls and two boys.
Did your fame affect them?
Are any of your children musical?
Would you have liked them to pursue a music
When did you first realise you had an interest
At the time who were your influences?
Did your parents encourage your music?
When you were young did your parents complain
about your hair?
Apart from music, do you have any other interests?
Do you read on any subject?
Do you like gardening?
What is your favourite TV programme?
If there was to be a Hollywood film of your
life who would you like to play you?
And if it wasn't you?
In a 1973 interview you described some of The
Secrets songs as "abysmal" . . .
You did, in ZigZag Magazine. Do you still feel
the same about them?
Were you overawed when you first appeared on
Top Of The Pops?
Did you ever appear on the Old Grey Whistle
Did you get fed up with all that "Singing
Schoolmaster" stuff in the press?
You once said that you wouldn't have chosen
Gaye as the first single from Home Thoughts. What would you have chosen?
Go back to 1974 when you seemed to have the
pop world at your feet. With the benefit of hindsight, would you have done
Talking of touring - when you toured, which
country did you like best?
If someone had predicted at the time that Scullery
would be your last chart hit single, what would your reaction have been:
You surely wouldn't have believed it?
Where you surprised at Jayne From Andromeda
Spiral's failure to chart, hot on the heels of Scullery's success?
Why do you think that your own versions of
songs like Up In The World, No More Rock 'n' Roll and The Best Is Yet To
Come, which are absolute classics, failed to chart in Britain?
When Both Of Us was completed, you must have
thought you were on a winner.
What do you remember most about the time you
spent in America recording New England Days?
Which is your favourite sleeve design of all
the albums you've released?
Home Thoughts is your most well-known album,
but which is your favourite?
When you were first diagnosed with MS, what
were your feelings?
Whose idea was Laugh It Off?
Who chose the songs?
How did you feel about putting out songs which
presumably you weren't originally completely satisfied with?
What did you think about being John Dunn's
Mystery Voice on Radio 2 recently?
Do you enjoy getting out to the conventions
and CTW Band concerts?
Doesn't James Davey sound remarkably like you
Do any of your ex-pupils still come and see
Do you still get fan mail?
Any plans for further releases either of old
material for CD, or anything new?
When you're composing, what comes first, the
words or the music?
What sort of things are you writing about in
your songs now?
Finally, if you could select your own "Best
Of" compilation, which twelve tracks would you choose?
And if you could record a bonus track which
was a cover of someone else's song, what would you choose?
Later Note: There have been a number of comments about Cliff's
brief answers in this interview: one has to remember that because of his
illness, Cliff now has great difficulty with his speech, and, as a consequence,
has to carve his words very slowly so that he can be understood - for this
reason, he needs to make his answers as concise as possible.
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