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Episode 170 : A Tom Hibbert special!! with Mark Ellen and Sylvia Patterson

1 February 2024

In this extra-special episode we welcome into the RBP lair not one but two legends of music journalism. Former Smash Hits/Q/MOJO supremo Mark Ellen and Sylvia (I'm Not With The Band) Patterson join us to pay tribute to their late friend and colleague upon the publication of our book Phew, Eh Readers? The Life and Writing of Tom Hibbertthe single funniest music journalist who ever lived.

Both guests recount their initial and unforgettable encounters with "Hibbs" – Mark's at New Music News in 1980; Sylvia's at Smash Hits in 1986 — before we look back at Tom's early years, his marriage to the marvellous Allyce Tessier and his pop passions from the Byrds to Big Star (via Moby Grape and the 13th Floor Elevators).

Interspersing the conversation with quotes from the classic Hibbert pieces collected in Phew, Eh Readers? and the tributes to Tom we commissioned for the book — plus clips from audio interviews with Jon Bon Jovi, Vivien Stanshall and Tom's Smash Hits colleague Neil Tennant – we follow our hero's path through his brilliant career.

Stops along the way include his entirely made-up letters to New Music News, his 1987 audience with Margaret Thatcher, his infamous "Who the Hell" interviews for Q and his hilariously irreverent columns for The Observer and the Mail On Sunday. Not forgetting the Love Trousers, the neo-psychedelic covers band he formed with Mr. Ellen...

The pathos of Tom's twilight years, following his 1997 hospitalisation with pneumonia and pancreatitis — is touched upon before we wrap up with a fond nod to his old pal "Juggins". We shall not read his like again.

Phew, Eh Readers?: The Life and Writing of Tom Hibbert is published by Nine Eight Books on 1st February, 2024.