How Tim Burgess and his Twitter Listening Party kept the music alive during the lockdown

A year later, ah, covidend has found brilliant form in more ways than one. Burgess made TTLP badges with its stylized likeness drawn by an artist fanatic. Proceeds went to the Music Venue Trust campaign to protect independent venues, another of his passions. He’s also partnered with Flare Audio to create headphones that, in turn, share his resemblance.

“People want to join in and bring in their own creativity,” he says, adding that this includes “people with tattoos on my face.” What are we talking about Arms, breasts, bums? “Sure these places,” he squirms. Tim Burgess, he nods slightly ashamed, “created a monster”.

A fan in Japan created a very early computer game style pixelated version of him and expanded it by creating sequences of the pixelated adventures of Burgess and other listening party artists such as Blossoms and Badly Drawn Boy. They are set to music from eight-bit recording versions of the Charlatans classics “The Only One I Know”, “One To Another” and “North Country Boy”.

“The latest one is a nightmare where the Twitter bird is trying to steal my records,” he says, adding that all eight of these clips will be released today on the occasion of the first birthday. He’s now working on making them playable and selling them “for a few pounds”. And meanwhile, his aging blonde bob keeps the brand updated to better bolster the charity fundraiser and keep it together. “I went jet black for the album to be released and that definitely didn’t look right,” he muses ruefully. “It didn’t match my complexion.”

A book is also announced today. The Listening Party, which will be released by DK in September, features the tweet stories of 100 albums from the past year. As with the badges, headphones, and computer games, royalties are used to support the competitive live music sector. As he puts it, “People want to buy something that will help them go back to concerts in the future.”

And that is the party’s power. In those 12 months that destroyed the arts as a living, collaborative, collective, participatory experience, Tim’s Twitter Listening Party has become a cultural phenomenon led by a humble folk master and folk musical hero who won’t thank you for You called him one of those things.

“I just want to go on. Someone asked me the other day if I’m proud. I’m not proud – I’m just very happy with how it went. And I want to keep thinking about what it is. I don’t want to monetize it. I don’t want to sell it down the river. I want to leave it as it is: really simple. “

The simplicity of the idea is the source of the magic, agrees Alex Kapranos. “But also a lot has to do with Tim’s personality,” adds Franz Ferdinand’s singer. “There’s nothing about him that is in any way sneaky or judgmental, or to say that one artist is worth more than another, or promote his own sense of coolness. He just has a universal sense of positivity that drives the whole thing Bring to work. “

So, if it comes down to it, which ones caught your eye and which ones didn’t work? Burgess is a gentle soul who wants to keep his large tent as inviting as possible. She won’t say any names. When pressured, he mentions a British band who didn’t come with the right attitude and an American musician who was completely unprepared. But in general he found magic in everyone.

“I’m such a big fan of The Cure, Siouxsie and The Banshess and New Order, they were great and Lol [Tolhurst], Budgie and Stephen [Morris] were fantastic contributors. It’s amazing that you get so much more information from the drummers! You sit in the back and watch and remember everything.

“Simon Le Bon was another trailblazer,” he continues, “because when I was growing up he was the greatest pop star in the world.” Gary Kemp from Ditto Spandau Ballet. “He put so much into True that it blew me away. We phoned about 10 times before he did because he wanted to be clear and we got along very well. The stories of him writing True in a meetinghouse in London with only his mother and brother as an audience – mind-boggling. “

At the other end were the Libertines, who debuted Up The Bracket in 2002 and made its 2004 follow-up of the same name.

“The great thing about their listening parties is that they are exactly what the band is on stage. They all had to be involved, and Pete [Doherty] and Carl [Barât] argue and clash. And Pete wrote his comments on a typewriter and then tweeted them. “