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From the archives: Robert Palmer

From the archives: Robert Palmer

In December 2002 I was working for the BBC’s Top of The Pops website. Mostly I wrote silly pieces of content, like Top 5 Most Depressing Depeche Mode Lyrics, or the three news stories that the site used to publish every day. But then I was asked if I’d like to do some interviews, and I jumped at the chance. My first interviewee was Robert Palmer.  I knew who he was, of course, but I wasn’t a particular fan or an expert, so I was not only worried about stuffing up the interview technique, but also about being revealed as a know-nothing charlatan. So I did my research. I spent a whole day tracking down and reading every single profile, article and interview I could find online and making lots of notes. I noticed one thing – the interviewers rarely asked him about music. Fashion, videos, the industry, his career, his private life – but rarely ever music. And the one or two times a musical question slipped through the net I thought I sensed flickers of interest from Palmer that the rest of the interviews lacked. So I decided I would make music the focus of my interview. It felt like a gamble, but it seemed logical to me. I presented myself at the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone – a very upmarket hotel that was kind of intimidating to me. Mr Palmer arrived with a spin of PR folks. I was his first interview in a day set aside solely for him to talk to the press. It was clearly going to be long day for him – he was professional...

Make / Let

I’m beginning to see a theme emerging in the various discussions taking place about the future – specifically, the changing nature of the interaction between individuals and organisations, be they commercial or social. Two TED talks I have watched in the last week both articulate the same thought, and bring the theme into sharp relief. Both are very worth your time. Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud A brilliant, funny, inspiring mashup of history, science and pedagogy. “It’s not about making learning happen, it’s about letting it happen” Amanda Palmer: The art of asking I backed her Kickstarter, and although I remain agnostic in some respects, her contribution to the conversation is invaluable. Plus, crucially, her album kicks ass. “I think people have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is how do we make people pay for music. What if we started asking, how do we let people pay for...