Mon, 29 November 2021

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm GMT

John Illsley – My Life in Dire Straits

The Inside Story of One of the Biggest Bands in Rock History

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Taking us on a journey from London’s spit-and-sawdust pubs to Madison Square Garden, join us for a wild ride with one of rock and roll’s all-time greatest musicians.

Dire Straits filled giant stadiums around the world and sold hundreds of millions of records. Throughout the eighties they were one of the biggest bands on the planet. Their classic songs – ‘Sultans of Swing’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Money for Nothing’, ‘Brothers In Arms’ – formed the soundtrack of a generation and live on today: still racking up sales, still being played on the radio on every continent.

In this livestream, In Conversation event, John Illsley – founding member, bassist and mainstay – will evoke the spirit of the times and tells the story of one of the great live acts of rock history.

Starting with his own unlikely beginnings in Middle England, he recounts the band’s rise from humble origins in London pubs to the best-known venues in the world, gigging with wild punk bands to the Live Aid stage at Wembley. Until, ultimately, the shattering demands of touring on a global scale and living life in the spotlight took their inevitable toll.

John’s story is also a tribute to his great friend Mark Knopfler, the band’s lead singer, songwriter and gifted guitarist – the only band members to stay the fifteen-year distance. Join us for the definitive account of that incredible story.

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John Illsley

BRIT and Grammy award-winning Guitarist

John Illsley rose to fame as the bass guitarist of the critically acclaimed band Dire Straits and has received multiple BRIT and Grammy Awards, and a Heritage Award. As a founding member, John played a major role in the development of the Dire Straits sound. Since the band’s last tour in 1993 he has earned a reputation as a painter, with solo exhibitions in London, New York, Sydney and across Europe. He co-founded the children’s charity Life Education in 1987, which was recently integrated into Coram. As a musician, John also has eight solo albums to his name. He owns a pub in the New Forest.

Hannah MacInnes

Presenter, Podcaster and Host of How To Academy’s live programmes.

Hannah MacInnes is a broadcaster and journalist. Alongside hosting How To Academy’s live programmes and podcast, she presents a cultural show on Times Radio and interviews on-stage at a number of other major literary events. She is the host of The Klosters Forum Podcast series and has written for the Radio Times, the Evening Standard and TLS. Before going freelance she worked for 8 years at BBC Newsnight, as Planning Editor and as a Producer / Filmmaker.