In my day it was called YTS. When you wanted to learn a ‘trade’ like plumbing, or typewriting, or being a zookeeper (probably) or a footballer, you signed up on a course that was part schooling and part learning on the job, and they (the government that is) paid you something like £17.50 per week for the privilege. These days they call it child labour or slavery or something (can you imagine any footballer working for £17.50 per week) and its consigned to the history books, or music blogs on occasion.
But that sort of apprenticeship has happened in all walks of life throughout time. Mozart and Salieri, Huysmans and Van Gogh, err Steptoe and Son? Anyway, over at London’s historic Somerset House as part of its ‘Summer Series’. At the show, Tom will be playing with Sheffield’s own son, Richard Hawley. A man that served his own apprenticeship in Treebound Story (I always mentioned that one, as I saw them once), Pulp and The Longpigs before going on to make some of the most fantastic albums released in this country over the last decade or so, and becoming a national institution. Others performing this year include the fantastic Of Monsters and Men, Band of Horses, Lianne La Havas and Tom Odell.
Who better to serve as a steadying hand for the young Hickox ? 14th July is the day that Tom will be (almost certainly metaphorically) shining Mr Hawleys boots (you know in an apprentice footballer sort of way) and he’s pretty excited about it, saying ‘I’m very much looking forward to supporting Richard Hawley at Somerset House. It’s a venue I’ve loved since seeing Doves there a few years ago – one of my favourite ever gigs. I’m also hopeful that I won’t follow in the footsteps of the original Duke of Somerset and that I may avoid public execution’
With his craggy baritone sounding like a mixture of Hawley himslef with a little bit of Kevin Rowland thrown in for good measure, and armed with some razor-sharp songwriting skills, in actual fact Tom Hickox has already served his appreniceship and is ready to step forward as his own man. If thats not worth £17.50 per week I don’t know what is.