Tab Interview: Mr Hudson

‘Jay Z gave me a hug’. Mr Hudson talks to The Tab: read the interview here and enter our competition for tickets to his gig at The Junction.

Almost Famous Birmingham Celebrity Dizzee Rascal Drinking English Literature Grazia Jay-Z Kanye kate hudson Mr Hudson Now! magazine Oxbridge Oxford Student Supernova The Guardian

The circumstances of my interview with Mr. Ben ‘Supernova’ Hudson are somewhat wanting for glamour. I’m in my room with a cup of tea, not backstage with a quart of whiskey, and I’m in my pyjamas listening to the bedders hoover downstairs, rather than in a  leather jacket listening to someone play, ‘a little something I’ve just written’. As the gardener waves at me from out the window, I conclude that Almost Famous was a sham, reallocating Kate Hudson on my mental filing system from, ‘wholesome and trustworthy’ to ‘an evil viper who will mislead you about the hedonistic glamour of the rock and roll industry circa 1973’.

I know it was the 70s but still, I wanted my first celebrity encounter to be a little more hedonistic. That time I saw The Strokes on the street (well, they were probably The Strokes although they could have been a troupe of squatters) doesn't really count, since I was on a Glasgow high street at 3pm and they were slouching off into the distance. And there's that slight contention that they might not actually have been The Strokes.

Furthermore, I think I might Mr Hudson might have stood me up. We had to rearrange twice, and now I’m waiting for a phone call in a situation that seems awfully reminiscent of the archetypal girl waiting for the archetypal boy on the archetypal sad Saturday night with a single tear flowing down her delicately powdered cheek. Not that I’ve ever been that girl, of course. I lack the dignity of a stoical rejection, my preferred tactic being to get trashed and send them a series of increasingly humiliating text messages. So when my phone rings I look at it stupidly for a few seconds.

     'Jay Z put his arm around me in front of 10 000 Londoners'

He’s got a nice voice, Mr Hudson (or rather, Ben, as he introduces himself). A sort of drawl, with a regional twang I couldn’t quite put my finger on (he grew up in Birmingham, but it‘s not Brummie). He sounds busy, there’s an extended quest for the car keys, since when we speak he’s just rushing out of his London home with his guitarist, en route to the study to ‘polish instruments’ and ‘pack things up’ before hitting the road. But he’s polite and charming and exclaims proudly that he’s ‘multitasking’. 

Hudson studied English at St. Anne’s College, Oxford; I ask him if being a musician is a bit like being a student, what with all the boozing, the irregular hours and the packing your life up every few months.  He laughs, and says he prefers being a musician, which is ‘not a real job!’, because he’s ‘getting more done’, there’s ‘more pressure’ and more travelling, ‘rather than watching Neighbours and playing third shield bearer to the left in student theatre productions’. Acting was what he thought he wanted to do – and there was a lot more theatre than music at Oxford –  but he realised there were a lot of lines to learn and it was easier just learning his own two minute songs.

He wishes he’d ‘thrown himself into it a bit more’ – studying that is – describing himself as a bit of an academic free-wheeler, but aren't we all. Does he think an English degree was useful, or might he just as well have gone into music straight from school? He thinks about it and says it’s made him ‘braver with his lyrics…perhaps’, but he does sometimes wonder if he’d gone straight from sixth form to being a penniless musician in London whether he’d be three years ahead right now, perhaps consolidating the argument posited by my grandfather that English isn’t ‘a real degree‘, and I should ‘do National Service or go to secretary school instead’. The number of things wrong with that statement don’t bear thinking about, so I’ll move on. R. I. P. Gramps.


Not that Mr Hudson (‘Ben’ just doesn’t sound right, despite his casual introduction) is doing too badly. He started out with 'The Library' before going a little more 'mainstream' and making some A list buddies along the way. He’s worked with Jay Z, Kanye and Dizzee, among others – and he tells me about an evening after performing with Jay Z, when he was invited by the man himself to come and have a drink, and who should he stumble upon but Beyonce, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow. You know, just hanging out. ‘I had tonsillitis and I was so ill, so I had some tequila and went to bed!’, but he assures me that Jay Z isn’t as scary as he looks, actually, ‘he put his arm around me and gave me a hug in front of 10 000 Londoners’. Jay Z: actually a big teddy bear, it seems.

He’s got to go – despite the hits explosion The Tab would get if Mr Hudson crashed his car whilst on the phone to us, I’d prefer he didn’t come to any harm –  but before he does, I ask him about tabloid culture, and he’s thoughtful. ‘It’s fun,’ he says. ‘Ultimately it’s responding to demand and if you’re going to be in showbiz then you sort of need to realise it’s going to happen. If I’m in the caff I’ll pick up Now! and Grazia and ten minutes later I’ll read The Guardian. It’s like, you wouldn’t have muesli everyday, would you? Sometimes you want an egg butty.’

Mr Hudson will be playing at The Junction on 14th May, and The Tab has two sets of free tickets to give away. For the chance to win email your name and college to [email protected]. Closing date: 6pm on Monday 3rd May.