Ups & downs of the week
So nice to see Natasha (Bat For Lashes) Khan doing so well. Last time I saw her she was wowing the crowd on a BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury in a native american headdress. And the time before that she was a shy young woman playing breathtaking music with one other musican on my Friday suppertime show right there in the 6 Music studio. If those walls could talk...
And now we have video of her in an expensive-looking ball gown in front of an equally expensive-looking band on stage at the Sydney Opera House, being blogged around the world. And simply because she performed one song that people hadn't heard before… Genuine talent so often goes unrewarded that it's really heartwarming to see one of the good guys doing so well.
By the same token I was sorry to hear of Martin Rushent's death. He was only a couple of years older than me and I went to visit him in 1981 just after he'd produced The Human League's Dare. He'd set up his own studio at home and kitted it out with all kinds of state of the art gear, and I was an artist who'd seen better days in need of a collaborative partner.
Martin was very matter of fact and upfront about the financial terms he was prepared to work under - and the degree of artistic control that he would expect to excercise - and we amicably agreed it probably wasn't a good idea for us to work together. It would probably have been the way Andy Partridge of XTC memorably described working with Todd Rudngren: "like having two Hitlers in the same bunker."
I managed to write and produce a comeback hit on my own in any case with War Baby a couple of years later. But Martin himself had real staying power. His production career had included The Stranglers from 1977-79 even before his massive breakthrough with The Human League. After taking a well deserved career break to raise his family, he returned to the fray in the mid 90s and enjoyed recent success with The Pipettes, Killa Kela and Does It Offend You, Yeah? - who feature his son James on lead vocals. We're all the poorer for his passing.