During the 90’s Jim Bob could be found – alongside bandmate Fruitbat – gracing the stages of live music venues across the planet, touring the world as popular UK band Carter USM (a brilliant indie/pop/punk band in case you didn’t know). Carter USM headlined Glastonbury, had four top ten albums including a number 1 with 1992: The Love Album and were famously sued by The Rolling Stones. In recent years though there isn’t so much of the stage diving as Jim has embarked on another successful career; this time penning novels instead of songs. His recent book The Extraordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 received rave reviews and is well worth a read. So as Carter USM prepare to play their last ever live shows in November (2014), Thing were lucky enough to catch up with Jim to find out what exactly ‘things’ he enjoys when not writing.
Thing: Are you a lover of buying gadgets and quirky things?
Jim Bob: I used to buy a lot of action figures. I always took them out of the boxes, so they were more toys rather than collectable items for me to have valued on a future Antiques Roadshow. I was particularly excited by pop star dolls. I’ve got Michael Jackson, MC Hammer and Beatles figures. The MC Hammer came with an anti drugs cassette. Actually, I still get excited by them. Whether it’s One Direction or the Sex Pistols I always get the urge to buy them when I see them. They’re like little real people.
Thing: How relevant are tangible products in the digital age; do you still get excited buying a book or record for example?
Jim Bob: To me, they’re important. I buy albums on CD, even though I end up then loading them onto my computer to listen to them. I buy a lot of hardback books because I can’t wait for the paperbacks. I haven’t got a Kindle. When I talk to people about reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch I feel that they’ve missed out on the full experience by not reading the big fat hardback edition. The wrist pain I had from reading it in bed, especially as I got to the last hundred or so pages was all part of the fun.
Thing: Could you chose 5 ‘things’ that you love or that mean something to you, like a ‘desert island discs’ of your five favourite things. And give us an insight into what that thing means to you.
1. My 1963 Fender Stratocaster. I can’t remember when and where I bought it. I’m guessing around 1992. It’s reliable and stays in tune even after all the times I’ve thrown it around, kicked it and dragged it across the stage. I don’t play guitar that often these days but this particular guitar feels so familiar when I do. I think Jimi Hendrix had one the same colour. I’m not saying the guitar makes me as good a guitarist as Jimi Hendrix. That’s for others to decide.
3. Center Parcs. This is influenced slightly by the fact that I’ve just returned from a trip there. I’ve been a number of times. I love the swimming and the adventure golf and trying out new things I wouldn’t ordinarily dare attempt. I won a certificate for laser clay shooting at Center Parcs last week and I haven’t been so pleased about anything for years. I like living in a cabin in a forest with no cars. I’d live there if I could.
Thing: What’s your favourite record cover?
Jim Bob: Elvis Costello. This Years Model. The front and back cover, the inner sleeve and the message that Elvis had scratched into the vinyl about claiming a free prize. I’ve got the photo I was sent as result of that somewhere.
Thing: Any books or new music in the pipeline?
I’ve just finished a new novel which fingers crossed should be out next year. I’ve started thinking about the one after that. Music wise Carter play their final ever two shows in November.
Jim’s latest book is available to buy at Amazon and other book stores. You can also keep up to date with his goings on at his website. Big thank-you to Jim for taking the time out to have a chat to us.