Clash brings together two party pundits
Personality Clash: Norman Cook vs. Howard Marks

The two party pundits met up on the luscious banks of Loch Ness to discuss the David Byrne-produced Imelda Marcos biopic (of which Cook wrote the soundtrack for) and Philippine folk - Marks was once absorbed into the Marcos family with honorary status.

Norman Cook
Norman Cook has been cutting beats since the Eighties in many different shapes and forms. Previously of The Housemartins fame, he also performed as part of Beats International but has used the Fat Boy Slim moniker for the majority of his career. Cook is still making music to this day, with his multi-instrumentalist project Brighton Port Authority.

Howard Marks
Ambassador for hard living and the ‘nicest’ ex-drug smuggler around, international man of mystery Howard Marks has got a few stories up his sleeve, and a few disguises under his belt. As you can imagine, this well-travelled, Oxford educated, literary Welsh rarebit has some friends in high places, in every sense of the word.


The story unfolds...

Howard: So, shall we talk about the Imelda film?

Norman: Well it’s not a film yet. It was supposed to be a stage production. But with David Byrne being way off Broadway it was never going to be Evita. And the money isn’t there to do exactly the kind of production he wants to do, so we thought if we put the music out first and if people like it then we may get the money. But it’s more of a film than a musical. It’s a fantastic story to be told.

Howard: She was an amazing lady. I never met Imelda but I met Elizabeth Marcos, who was her sister. I actually went to her funeral. But I did see Imelda’s collection of shoes once.

Norman: If anyone else had asked me to do a musical about Imeda Marcos I would have been unsure. I asked David if it was going to be about shoes and he said no. Twenty-two songs he wrote and not one mention of shoes. He had the idea that he was going to re-tell the story because she had the greatest spin doctor ever. When you think of Imelda Marcos you think, ‘Oh, that funny old lady from the Philippines who had lots of shoes. But there’s a lot more to it than that.

Howard: She’s an extraordinary lady.

Norman: The whole time we were doing it we were terrified that she was watching us. She found out quite early on what we were doing and David went out to the Philippines to do some research and her people got in touch and asked if we wanted to meet her. At one point we thought she was going to ask us if she could sing as she reckons she’s a bit of a singer.

Howard: Where does she live now then?

Norman: She’s back in the Philippines. She was in exile for a while but she’s back now. She’s living out our Latin years.

Howard: Have you been to the Philippines?

Norman: No.

Howard: You should get out there, it’s a great place. It was the only American colony, which was slightly odd; it had like eight thousand islands.

Norman: No decent music there though.

Howard: Other than copies, no. They’re the best imitators in the world but there’s very little original stuff.

Norman: The first thing I did was try to get some sort of Philippine slant on it and we researched some indigenous music and basically the Americans got in there and subverted it.

Howard: There’s Freddie Aguilar, although I’m not sure if he’s still going. He’s the main Philippine folk legend. He’s half a revolutionary, half a singer.

Norman: Sounds a bit like Billy Bragg...

Norman and Howard met at the RockNess Festival in June 2010.

Howard will be taking 'An Audience With Howard Marks' on tour throughout the UK during October and November.


Clash Magazine Issue 52

This article appears in the 52nd issue of Clash Magazine. Pick it up in stores from July 1st.

Find out more about the issue HERE. Subscribe to Clash Magazine HERE.



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