they would rather not do but this is limited to doing tours when they are tired or appearing in magazines that they would rather not be in. I remember seeing Lloyd on Saturday Superstore a few weeks ago and thinking that he looked less than comfortable. Was it something he would rather not have done? ‘The record company can‘t make us do anything. Most ofSuperstore is okay. The miming to your song bit. I enjoyed doing much more than I do normally.‘ How about Lloyd Cole as a sex symbol? ‘1 think I‘m a third division sex symbol. I‘ve yet to do topless shots.‘ Would he do them if the money was right? ‘Certainly not. Ifanything would do damage to my career. that would.‘ But then again. is it likely that anyone would want topless shots ofhim. He looks momentarily hurt: ‘Well. they do of Martin Kemp.‘

It has always been said that in the music business. the time ofone‘s second album is a crucial one. I asked him how much longer he sees himselfgoing on. ‘We thought we would do two albums. After the first one we all sat about and thought “What a good record we‘ve made". But we will definitely be doing three. I'm very happy with this one and I‘m already working on the next.‘

The last time I saw Lloyd. he was just about to go to America for the first time and I remember telling him trying not to make it sound like a cardinal sin that I thought he could be very popular there. ‘I think we‘ll do it eventually. They will like the new album much better— there‘s a

song on it with a Police bass line. that's a guaranteed success. You just have to get a foot in the door in America and we haven’t yet. But I‘m not worried about that. I do really believe that Rattlesnakes will sell large quantities of records in America eventually.‘

In an early interview. Lloyd once said that he could see himself as a writer in years to come and knowing his love of literature. I wonder ifhe still harbours his ambition. ‘Ideally and romantically this is a lovely idea, but in practice I really don‘t know if

it‘s possible or not. The Face asked me to go to New York to interview Tom Waits. but I didn‘t have the time. I write a group biography every year or so. I wrote the last one in a drunken stuporin Finland. I can‘t write when I‘m sober I just tell lies.‘ It was a brave decision to leave University for such a precarious career and while Lloyd has no regrets about doing so, he would like that one last pass for his degree. ‘l‘d love to. It would be nice for my mum

and dad. These things mean more to them than to me. I went to university to get bright. not to get a piece of paper.‘

On reflection. I would think that Lloyd‘s reputation for arrogance is misplaced. rather he has a beliefin what he is doing. As Billy Connolly once said: ‘It‘s no good going on stage thinking “I think I might be just a wee bit funny" you’d die a death.‘ What Lloyd has is what we Scots call ‘a guid conceit ofhimself‘. An admirable and justified faith that he is good at what he does - and that is no bad thing.