My Pop Life – Craig Parkinson
By Steve O'Brien | March 31, 2022
The Line Of Duty actor and Two Shot Podcast host talks us through his music obsessions…
What got you into music in the first place?
Because I was so obsessed with acting, television and films, my first hobby was collecting movie soundtracks. If I liked a film, I’d definitely go and get the vinyl. And that’s when I got into people like John Williams and Hans Zimmer. Soundtracks bring back so much emotion and memories of where you were when you saw that film and how it made you feel. Whenever I hear ET: The Extra-Terrestrial now, I always remember sitting in that cinema in Warrington when I was a kid just crying my eyes out.
What was the first single you ever bought?
The first single that I remember buying, well it sort of harks back to my love of films. And this does not reflect my musical tastes – I could say loads of things here and pretend to be cool, but with questions like this, you just have to be completely honest. So the first single that I bought from WHSmith in Blackpool town centre was Tina Turner’s We Don’t Need Another Hero, because it was from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. It was a slightly secret purchase, because I was old enough to know better.
Who were your favourite pop artists growing up?
I was quite the indie kid. There was one indie club in Blackpool called Jenks Bar. I started going there when I was 15, so this was just before Oasis broke. I remember a girlfriend of mine at the time got me Definitely Maybe. When you grow up in Blackpool, you’re very heavily influenced by Manchester and everything changed when I heard Live Forever. Apart from thinking it was the coolest thing I’d ever heard, it was like these young kids who were not that much older than us, who were from quite a rough part of Manchester, have just broken through. I loved Oasis when
I was younger, because it was all about swagger and attitude. I remember when it was the Oasis v Blur thing, that was just kind of incredible, really. It was super exciting, especially when the charts meant something.
What was the first gig that you ever went to?
Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. I was far too young – it was terribly scary. My favourite gig, though, was when I was at drama school. We managed to snag tickets to see Arthur Lee in Liverpool. That album Forever Changes sound- tracked our drama school life.
What’s your all-time favourite album?
It’s so hard to pinpoint one thing that you can truly love, from putting the needle down on Side A, then turning over until it’s finished. It also depends on mood, doesn’t it, where you are emotionally as a person. Sometimes it’s like, “Don’t put that on because I’m gonna cry my eyes out!” But as difficult as it is to pinpoint one, I would say Rumours. I’m fascinated with the history and the legacy of Fleetwood Mac pre- and post-Peter Green. I watched this incredible documentary years ago about the making of Rumours. I don’t know why that period of their life has never been made into a motion picture. It’s jaw dropping story-wise.
Did you read music magazines when you were younger?
Constantly. I used to get NME and Select – I was a big fan of Select growing up – I just had piles and piles of them. So if they said, you know, this is the new album you have to hear, then you just lived on a diet of that and played it on repeat.
You played Tony Wilson in 2007’s Ian Curtis biopic Control. Were you a big fan of Joy Division?
I love New Order but I was a little bit too young to jump on the Joy Division train. But the research that I had to do for that film, I just kind of devoured their history. I was lucky enough to have dinner with New Order when we were out in Cannes. They’re exceptional guys, very grounded, you know, their foundations are solid. They’re not pop wankers, considering the success that they’ve had and continue to have. They were playing Castlefield Bowl in Manchester not so long ago and the gig was a complete sellout. They’re incredible and still are. In fact, I was leaving the house to get my booster this morning and Get The Message by [Bernard Sumner’s side project] Electronic was on the radio. I hadn’t heard it in ages and it was brilliant – an absolutely 10 out of 10 pop song!
Craig Parkinson’s Two Shot Podcast is available on all podcast platforms
Steve O'BrienSteve O’Brien is a writer who specialises in music, film and TV. He has written for magazines and websites such as SFX, The Guardian, Radio Times, Esquire, The New Statesman, Digital Spy, Empire, Yours Retro, The New Statesman and MusicRadar. He’s written books about Doctor Who and Buffy The Vampire Slayer and has even featured on a BBC4 documentary about Bergerac. Apart from his work on Classic Pop, he also edits CP’s sister magazine, Vintage Rock Presents.