Richard Hawley – Pieces Of Me

Ancient maps, cartoons on steroids, his uncle and Long John Silver: all the things that keep the Sheffield singer-songwriter ticking

My first album
‘The Sun Sessions’ by Elvis Presley
“My dad had all the 78s, and I think he was tired of me wearing them out, so he got me my own version. That Christmas, I also got a spoken-word album by Stanley Unwin – the guy who muddled up his words in an Edward Lear fashion and did the intros on the Small Faces’ ‘Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake’.”

My first gig
My uncle. At a pub
“My uncle is Frank White – who, in the ’60s, was one of the best blues guitarists Sheffield had ever seen. I must’ve been about eight or nine. He was playing swampy, psychedelic, Hendrix-tinged blues. All that raw, ragged psychedelia being played at extreme noise levels pretty much pinned me to the wall.”

My favourite lyric
‘Pale Blue Eyes’ by The Velvet Underground
“The fact that you are married only proves you’re my best friend”. It’s about adultery, and it’s always struck a chord; not because I’m an adulterer but because it’s such a clever expression of a complicated emotion.”

Favourite artist
Thomas Allen
“He’s from Minnesota and he takes two-dimensional cut-outs from the covers of old pulp fiction then photographs them in 3D, by skilfully placing these bits of paper to fool the eye, so that the characters come to life.”

The book that changed me
‘Visions Of The World’ by Jeremy Black
“It’s a collection of old maps and a history of cartography. I’m a bit of a fan of maps. I like those ancient maps most of all – the idea that you’d map the terrain you knew, then at the edges just pencil in ‘here be dragons’.”

Favourite TV show
Family Guy
Sometimes I’ll come down to the living room late at night and sit there with a guitar on my lap, writing songs, and put the TV on, as a kind of distraction. Family Guy is a great thing to watch in that context. It’s got a very high joke rate. I particularly enjoyed the episode where Stewie takes steroids.”

Favourite film
“The power of it was firstly what happens when empire goes wrong and secondly that, if they stick together, a bunch of guys with spears can go head to head with the world’s strongest army.”

Favourite fictional character
Long John Silver
“He’s bad to the bone, obviously, but he’s also more subtly shaded in Robert Louis Stevenson’s book than in the Hollywood version. In the book, he helps out Jim then rows away with his African mistress and just a small amount of treasure, so you retain
a certain sympathy for him.”

My hero
Paul Weller
“He’s always stuck to his guns. Whether it’s his refusal to reform The Jam, or pissing off to do The Style Council at the height of his fame, he’s never had any desires beyond doing what he wants, when he wants.”