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Interview: Tim Burgess - Coffee And Cathedrals

Ben Robinson talks to the Charlatans frontman about his upcoming charity gig and love of coffee

Written by . Published on November 1st 2012.

Interview: Tim Burgess - Coffee And Cathedrals

SINGER, songwriter, Charlatan, author, transcendentalist, coffee maestro – Tim Burgess has a lot of strings to his bow.

This month he will also be doing his bit for Manchester inner-city charities with a special one-off gig at Manchester Cathedral.

November 15 will see Tim performing with fellow Charlatan Mark Collins on guitar and Martin Duffy from Primal Scream on keyboards along with young musicians from Cheetham’s School of Music. All proceeds from the event will go to projects organised by the Reclaim and United Estates of Wythenshawe charities to help young people in need.

"We heard about the plans at Manchester Cathedral and it was too good to miss. Such an iconic venue and a brilliant idea for a gig." said Tim.  

"I love gigs in churches but the Cathedral is another notch up.  Normally the atmosphere is helped along by the audience enjoying a drink beforehand. I take it there'll be some altar wine for everyone.

"I love the fact that playing a gig can result in helping anyone out. When I was younger, going to gigs definitely gave me a sense of direction, an idea of what you could achieve outside of what you're told at school."

When I first asked if anyone on Twitter fancied a coffee we never thought it would lead to anything. Once we got started people asked what the name of the coffee shop was. I had a few minutes to think and Tim Peaks seemed perfect. Damn fine coffee and all that.

The event will also feature a one off performance from Peter Hook as well as cult band Puressence making it a truly Manchester affair for a good Mancunian cause. Tickets are priced £18.50 and are available from Ticketmaster and Ticketline.

PhotoTim Peaks is bornAnother of Tim’s many guises is as the proprietor of the ‘fictional’ café Tim Peaks’ Diner which began life with a simple tweet – “Morning tweets x coffee? ” – which led to his Twitter followers giving their orders and requesting songs for the jukebox.

Tim recently made the jump from the metaphysical diner into the real world and sourced his own coffee to sell at selected outlets including Chorlton’s On The Corner record store, plus today only (1 Nov) at the Night and Day Café. Proceeds from sales of Tim Peaks coffee go directly to the David Lynch Foundation which encourages children who are interested to learn transcendental meditation techniques.

I caught up with Tim to ask him about his caffeine induced metaphysical journey:

What type of coffee beans are used for Tim Peaks Coffee and how did you decide on that blend? 
The beans are from Uganda, Costa Rica, Brazil and Ethiopia. I worked with a Glasgow based blender and we worked together on the blend. They asked me asked me what kind of coffee I normally drank and they came up with four blends. I tried them and the best one is the one now called Tim Peaks.

Why did you choose Chorlton's On The Corner to stock Tim Peaks?
One of my friends told me about it. Vinyl and coffee the perfect mix for me - I was in Manchester and we went down there, took some coffee, tried a smoothie, looked at the records and we asked if they like to be the first place that sold it. It was fate.

Why did you choose the David Lynch Foundation to donate proceeds to?
Again it's kind of fate really. I'm a huge fan of his films. When I first asked if anyone on Twitter fancied a coffee we never thought it would lead to anything. Once we got started people asked what the name of the coffee shop was. I had a few minutes to think and Tim Peaks seemed perfect. Damn fine coffee and all that. I'd done work for The David Lynch Foundation anyway. I practice transcendental meditation which is what they are concerned with. The Charlatans had done a track for an album they had put out so the links were all there.

Are you planning for any other Tim Peaks wares? Tim Peaks Tea perhaps.
We'll not be doing tea - Yorkshire Tea have already done us a limited edition tea though. We've got mugs. We already sold 500 of those for charity so we're old hands at it now.

Would you consider opening a permanent Tim Peaks Diner? 
We never say never. The whole thing started with a tweet so it's fairly surreal. Tim Peaks will be at The Isle of Wight Festival and Kendal Calling next year. But, yeah, something permanent would be cool. It would be in Manchester if we did. Would keep me out of trouble when there's no gigs.

Have you had any thoughts about opening a metaphysical Twitter based greasy spoon or bar? 
Metaphysical work is pretty tiring stuff. Also more than one would bring one's mental stability into question I think.

Tim-Peaks-CroppedTim PeaksDo you think the Twitter success of Tim Peaks has created a ‘community’ of like-minded people?
Very much so. It kind of meant anything could happen. We started doing listening parties. Everyone around the world - over 30 countries, hundreds maybe thousands of people would press 'play' on an album and we would all listen. It would be a Charlatans album or my solo album so I had some insider info. People could ask questions. Records we might not have heard for a bit or that your boyfriend/girlfriend might not know. One guy was tweeting via satellite listening while sailing round the world, someone else proposed (to his girlfriend not me) and another guy was sitting in his car in the garage as he only had the album on cassette. Good things happened.

Tickets for Tim’s Manchester Cathederal charity gig are priced at £18.50 + booking fee and are available here

You can follow Ben Robinson on Twitter @BenPRobinson

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