A 2003 interview with Tony Iveson, Lancaster pilot with 617 Squadron

By Lee Gale

A long time ago, I used to work for Jack magazine which, at the time, was by far the finest men’s title money could buy. Sadly, not many people agreed with that statement and Jack closed in 2004. Nevertheless, each issue would have articles that were lovingly crafted by writers with massive interests in male culture – namely football, World War II, decent comedy, obscure music and old-men’s pubs. You’d come in with an idea and it would be given the green light without question. It was an incredible environment to work in. I loved the Avro Lancaster and set about writing a long-form magazine article about its history as soon as I’d got my feet under the desk. This inevitably led to interviews with wartime RAF bomber crews.

I visited squadron leader Tony Iveson of 617 Squadron at his home in Tunbridge Wells in summer 2003. On the walls of his spotless home were paintings of Lancasters on various missions, and I seem to recall one was of 617 Squadron’s successful raid sinking the Tirpitz in 1944. Iveson was involved in three missions to sink the bothersome German battleship. I’ll put a few of my other interviews on British Ideas Corporation over the next few weeks. I’ve just read that Iveson died in November 2013 at the age of 94, so he would have been 83 when I interviewed him. He was perfectly lucid and a riveting storyteller.

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Jamming: a 1979 fanzine interview with The Fall

By Tony Fletcher

As surely befits The Fall’s longevity, my 1979 interview with Mark E Smith and Marc Riley seems more relevant – and certainly more prescient – than it did when first published back in Jamming! issue 9. In fact, it seems more relevant and prescient than almost any other interview I’ve ever conducted.

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Birds of Snowdonia

Illustrations Edwyn Collins  Words Lee Gale

In 2005, Edwyn Collins suffered two strokes, the result of brain haemorrhages caused by high blood pressure. To begin his rebuilding process, Edwyn picked up a pencil and pad and began drawing birds.

As a child, Edwyn was a keen twitcher and even reared an abandoned fledgling greenfinch in his Dundee bedroom, feeding it a watery mix of wild-bird food Swoop. The female greenfinch, named Tweety Pie, would start its sweet song at 5am, waking the household up in the process. Tweety Pie later made a nest in the garden and, if Edwyn left his bedroom window open, would call in.

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Is there a Mr Hodges in the house? [2000 interview with Mike Hodges, film director]

The man who made Get Carter in 1971 is not in the best of moods. Mike Hodges’ journey from Dorset to London has been dogged by train-company failures. Spur-of-the-moment timetable changes mean that Hodges’ nerves are rattled and as it’s 10.30am, it’s too early to go to the pub. If the man who brought Jack Carter to life is hacked off, we’d better be careful. We don’t want to be thrown out of the window of this Leicester Square hotel like Alf Roberts was at that Gateshead car park.

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The Bunnymonster! [2002 interview with Ian McCulloch]

It’s 5pm and Ian McCulloch, the Echo & The Bunnymen singer, is sitting in the bar of a hotel in Kensington, wearing shades. He’s been on Bloody Marys since 12 noon to counteract the previous evening’s punishment. To say he’s had one hour’s sleep, Mac is amazingly lucid. He’s switched to Guinness for the interview. [2002 interview] Continue reading “The Bunnymonster! [2002 interview with Ian McCulloch]”