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Sylvia Patterson

Sylvia Patterson

Sylvia Patterson was born in the "Fair City" of Perth, Scotland. She became a music journalist aged 20, working for Smash Hits magazine in its million-selling, late 80s heyday and went on to freelance for NME, Q, Glamour, the Face, the Word, the Guardian Guide, the Sunday Herald and the Sunday Times

Her 2016 memoir I’m Not With The Band (Sphere), a 30-year adventure through music journalism, was shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award, the NME Awards Book of the Year and the Penderyn Music Prize, winning BBC Radio 1 Annie Nightingale's Book Of The Year. She’s appeared on Woman's Hour, Scotland Tonight, Radio 5 Live, BBC6Music, Channel 4, ITV and across the nation’s festivals from Edinburgh to Wigtown, Port Eliot, Laugharne, Hull, Sea Change and Latitude.

In April 2023 she published her second memoir, Same Old Girl (Fleet), an odyssey through the mid-life misadventures: about facing death (with cancer) and surviving, about best mates, growing old, the miracle of normality and why staying alive is even better than the Bee Gees make it sound.

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60 articles

List of articles in the library

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Sex Pistols, Sid Vicious: Sid And Nancy (Dir. Alex Cox; Palace Pictures, 18, 92 minutes)

Film/DVD/TV Review by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 30 July 1986

ALEX COX, film director: "In 1980 I tried to write a screenplay called 'Too Kool To Die'. It was about an English rock 'n' roll ...

Five Star: A Day In The Life

Report and Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 30 July 1986

Tinkering with model cars, booting footballs through giant weeds, musing about alien beings from beyond the galaxy and trying to catch a carp... It's all ...

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince: These men are Sensitive, Romantic Souls!!

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 5 November 1986

("Oh no they're not," says Sylvia Patterson) ...

The Mission

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 5 November 1986

The Mission might have a big hit with 'Stay With Me', but they still can't afford their own make-up bags — so they have to ...

Nick Kamen: "Yeeeeeuch!"

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 19 November 1986

That's what Nick Kamen says when he looks in the mirror. "How can this possibly be?" asks Sylvia Patterson. ...

Frankie Goes to Hollywood: Is this the end of Frankie Goes To Hollywood?

Report and Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 25 March 1987

Just two years ago they were one of the biggest pop groups ever. Now, it all seems to be going horribly, horribly wrong. V. sad ...

Curiosity Killed The Cat: "This Is A Brilliant Album!"

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 6 May 1987

Ju: "We've put our hearts and lives into this." Ben: "I could paint a picture of it." Nick: "Star Wars was a very profound film." ...

Depeche Mode: Fzss!... Zwiing! Aaargh!... Hahahahah!!

Report by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 6 May 1987

Hark! Depeche Mode are having a party — i.e. they're having "a" drink, scoffing streamers, pretending to be space-men, cavorting under tables, stealing "a" drink ...

Wet Wet Wet: Stupid Sports of the World Part 112: Ten "Pin" Bowling featuring Wet Wet Wet

Report and Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 20 May 1987

They used to be "punk" "rockers" with horrible hair but now they're four "nice" "lads" who love their parents and take their washing home with ...

Terence Trent D'Arby: Madman or Genius?

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 17 June 1987

"Em, both probably," pipes Sylvia Patterson ...

The Beastie Boys Go To Brighton, Don't Blow Up A Single Deck-Chair And Decide, "Hey! Yo! This Is My God Damn Kinda Place Man!!"

Report and Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 17 June 1987

(except for Ad-Rock, that is, who's a weed...) ...

Diana Ross: A Living Legend Speaks!

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 1 July 1987

She's been dazzlingly famous for over twenty years, she natters to Michael Jackson on the phone all the time, she's unbelievably rich and at 43 ...

George Michael: The Glummest Man in Pop?

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 18 November 1987

Why does George Michael always look so glum? Is it because he's missing his old chum Andrew Ridgeley? Or maybe he's miffed that his last ...

Wet Wet Wet: Christmas is...

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 15 December 1987

...Love? Peace on earth? Goodwill to all "man" kind? Not ruddy well likely, say Wet Wet Wet (except for Tommy because he's a weed). It's ...

T'Pau: "I was always a bit of a Tragedy-Drawers"

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 13 January 1988

How can this possibly be? Carol Decker from T'Pau is renowned for her "feistiness", being sick in her cowboy boots etc., and yet she's "terrified ...

Eighth Wonder: Lookin' The Way You Like And Likin' The Way You Look

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 23 March 1988

... the Patsy Kensit way (i.e. wrestling with bits of steel "piping", scoffing plenty of bubble-gum (?) and being booted out of the school netball ...

A-ha Express

Report and Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, April 1988

 Why are lots of "journalists" and "jugglers" waiting to get on a train to go and see A-ha playing live? Sylvia Patterson "investigates"... ...

Tiffany: Pizzas! "Fairy" Lights! Cosy Jerseys! Grammar "Lessons"!

Report and Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 6 April 1988

What does Tiffany get up to while she's knocking 'em dead on the rock'n'roll highway with her "fairy" light extravaganza? "Erm... ahoorgh, well...""reports" Sylvia Patterson." ...

The Housemartins: Now That's What I Call Quite Good (Go! Discs)

Review by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 18 May 1988

THEY CAME, they saw, they thought "Pthrthrthr! I'm off..."and they left. (Snirfle.) But not before they left us this — a double LP of the ...

Rick Astley: "You Shouldn't Take Rick Astley Too Seriously!!"

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 30 November 1988

And not many people do!! (Ho ho, just a wee jest there, Rick.) Come with us, if you will, as Sir Dick Spatsley takes us ...

Yazz: Hello Trees, Hello Sun, Hello Flowers, Hello Yazz!!

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 25 January 1989

There's lentils in the air, readers, as Yazz delves into her "cosmic" psyche and tells us we should love ourselves and that our voices are ...

Bobby Brown: He's... Bobby Brown

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 14 June 1989

• He wibbles and wobbles because he's the new Michael Jackson! • He's got a bullet-hole in his knee because he's a "kid" from ...

Happy Mondays: Madchester vibes in the area... it's the Happy Mondays

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 4 April 1990

Shaun! Bez! Gaz! The other blokes! It's the Happy Mondays! And they're such rock 'n' roll degenerates they make Guns N' Roses look like Yell! ...

Dannii Minogue: Don't wait up!

Report by Sylvia Patterson, Smash Hits, 22 July 1992

Party on! The X- rated story of a wild night out in New York with Dannii. ...

Tony Bennett: This Smarming Man

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 20 August 1994

He left his heart in San Francisco in 1962 and it won him two Grammies, confirming his status as the cool crooner. Three decades later, ...

Dinosaur Jr.: Mad Slackers Tee Party

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 17 September 1994

Like... um... fore!, man. There's no better way of relieving the stress of being America's official guitar god than a good 18 holes. Just ask ...

Dodgy, Menswear, The Prodigy: Glastonbury: "Like Croatia with a bit of music"

Report by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 1 July 1995

So, apart from ace music, what was it actually like "out there" on the fringes of Glasto's thrilling fields? SYLVIA PATTERSON ventured far to bring ...

Pulp: The Dandy Man Can

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 23 September 1995

Wow! Grab your shades, pull on that glitter top and slip into your favourite brown nylon flared trousers 'cos PULP'S JARVIS COCKER is in the ...

Eternal: Inc. God We Trust

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 14 October 1995

They're gorgeous, they're currently Britain's most successful girl group and they're very bloody nice. So how come nobody's ever asked ETERNAL what they think before? ...

McAlmont & Butler, David McAlmont: McAlmont & Butler: Nil communication

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 21 October 1995

Acrimonious split alert! McALMONT AND BUTLER have come to a sticky end and all that's left is an embarrassing silence. David, meanwhile, can't get laid ...

Blur: You Can Call Me Alex

Report by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 23 December 1995

Ding dong, let's get merry and high! Ever imagined what it'd be like being a pop star? Going craaazy party bonkers every night, nobbing with ...

Björk: Lunatic Ginge

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 20 July 1996

Of course, us pop kids have always known BJÖRK was a nutter, but when she battered a journalist in Bangkok she became tabloid property and, ...

Peter Andre, Pato Banton, Belinda Carlisle, Cathy Dennis, East 17, Gabrielle, Mark Morrison, Shed Seven, Spice Girls, Robbie Williams: Broadcast Snooze — Robbie Williams, Spice Girls, Belinda Carlisle, East 17 et al: Capital FM Summer Jam '96, Clapham Common, London

Live Review by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, August 1996

IF YOU came all the way from Arbroath, which you probably didn't, you'd be calling it Bairns' Glasto. Only without the sex and drugs, but ...

Evan Dando, The Lemonheads, Oasis: The Lemonheads: "I guess I got a little lost there for a while..."

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 14 September 1996

It was all going so well for EVAN DANDO and THE LEMONHEADS. Following their 1992 breakthrough album It's A Shame About Ray, Evan was hailed ...

Kula Shaker: So Here It Is, Merry Krishna!

Report and Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 9 November 1996

...Everybody's having fun, look to the future... OK, enough of the poor-quality pun already, and on to KULA SHAKER, those lads who've turned their backs ...

Johnny Cash: From Rags to Ostriches!

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 16 November 1996

Speed, booze, burning mountains, then, of course, the killer ostrich. Country legend JOHNNY CASH has had them all (plus a heap more) and still lived ...

Prince: "I feel like this is my last time on earth..."

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 14 December 1996

He's The Artist Formerly Known As Bonkers. That's right, PRINCE is back, free of that pesky Warners (hence the title of his new album 'Emancipation'), ...

Nick Cave, Michael Hutchence, Kylie Minogue: Kylie Minogue: "I'm a drag queen trapped in a woman's body"

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 6 September 1997

Crikey! Has KYLIE gone mad? Has working with Nick Cave, the Manics and associating with Shaun Ryder finally pushed her over the edge? And has ...

Ash: Three wise men and a little lady

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 18 October 1997

  Those hard-drinking heart-throbs are back, but now they've got "the luckiest girl in the world" playing guitar for them! Meet the all-new, grown-up ASH... In ...

Spice Girls: Spiceworld (Virgin/ALL formats)

Review by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 1 November 1997

GIRL SOUR! ...

All Saints: Well, haloooo...

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 22 November 1997

What's got more sauce than Spice, better tats than Eternal, and are gonna save R&B swingbeat from death by blandness? Why, crown princesses of sex-soul, ...

Madonna, William Orbit: Madonna: Living In A Material World

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 7 March 1998

Heck! Who's that girl? It can't possibly be MADONNA! 'Cos the most fabulous famous female superstar in the history of pop wouldn't be seen dead ...

Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page/Robert Plant: Page & Plant: Help! The Aged!

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 28 March 1998

Hey! Come back! Haven't you heard? Old blokes are cool, the past is the future and prog rock is back. In fact, the perfect time ...

Manic Street Preachers: The Manic Street Preachers: "Despair, inspiration, happiness, despair, work, inspiration. Sport. That's the crux of it."

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 1 August 1998

The secret world of the Manic Street Preachers revealed. Part One of a two-part exclusive. ...

Manic Street Preachers: The Manic Street Preachers: "We've Never Quite Walked It Like We've Talked It"

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 8 August 1998

The further confessions of the Manic Street Preachers. Part two of a two-part exclusive ...

Gay Dad: Young Person's Guide To Becoming A Rock Star

Report and Interview by Sylvia Patterson, The Face, April 1999

They're the best band since Oasis. They're the joke of the year. Their records are all fantastic. But they've only made one. They've got a ...

Missy Elliott: Miss World

Special Feature by Sylvia Patterson, The Face, June 1999

Her father threatened her with guns, her teachers graded her bottom of the class and the music industry told her she'd never make it. Then ...

Macy Gray: There's something about Macy

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, The Face, December 1999

Some say she's "a genius"; others, "insane".What is it about Macy Gray that makes her more than just the soul sensation of the year? ...

Eminem: "Let's Get Raping You!"

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 22 April 2000

Yup, no need to worry about Eminem going "soft", he's as angry and fucked up as ever — threatening to rape NME, railing against boy/girl ...

Doves: Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth

Live Review by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 3 June 2000

THE MUSIC IS ace. It's all true. But it's easy, when you're desperate, to get carried away. So let's be gentle with the gentlemen of ...

At the Drive-In, Nirvana: Sylvia says: bring me Nirvana or bring me death

Comment by Sylvia Patterson, The Face, November 2000

"WHAT THE FUCK is THAT?!?' shuddered Ali, a ferociously opinionated psychiatric nurse, being forcefully towed into a half-full tent at a summer festival, eyebrows twisting ...

Oasis: "We're punk rock – none of that weird fooking Radiohead bollocks"

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 29 September 2001

Over the last ten years, Oasis have maintained their position as Britain's most controversial rock'n'roll group. Since giving them their first front cover in June ...

Super Furry Animals: God Rest You Furry Gentlemen

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, New Musical Express, 22 December 2001

Super Furry Animals Aren't Happy Talking About Christmas. Not When There's A War On And Clubs Full Of Scandinavians To Bemuse ...

Beyoncé: Perfect diva

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, The Face, May 2003

Beneath Beyoncé Knowles' shining, golden exterior lies a heart which is… damn! It's shiny and golden too. But although she seems the ideal super-star for glittery-shallow ...

David Gray: So why exactly does David Gray have this effect on women?

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, The Word, June 2003

CAREERING ROUND A Parisian hotel room, David Gray is acting out a scene involv­ing a trip to the nearby park, his band­mates' mis-assemblage of European ...

Sophie Ellis-Bextor: What does Sophie Ellis-Bextor write after her autograph?

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, The Word, November 2003

"THE CHEWING GUM's two quid a packet… and this," husks Sophie Ellis-Bextor, fondling a tube of Berocca vitamin fizz-up, "is eight fifty. So I'm going ...

Tori Amos: Why does Tori Amos want to penetrate the patriarchy?

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, The Word, January 2004

TORI AMOS SWOOPS into the London hotel room like a friendly bat, huge black rectangles of silken cloth dangling from the sleeves of an interesting ...

The Distillers: The Ballad of Brody Dalle

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, The Face, February 2004

Just as they're about to make it huge, The Distillers are in the middle of a bitter punk-rock feud. The LA punk scene's split down ...

Marianne Faithfull: Ca$h for Questions

Interview by Sylvia Patterson, Q, February 2013

She was the sensuous '60s starlet who flew too close to the sun, only to emerge from addiction as a rasp-voiced grande dame of the ...

Spice Girls: The 1990s were the best of times… until the Spice Girls ruined everything

Retrospective by Sylvia Patterson, The Guardian, 4 July 2016

A decade of unbridled musical creativity also saw the rise of brand-pop muses the Spice Girls, celebrity culture and hyper-capitalism ...

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