is so neat and spartan in Morrissey's room that the presence of a highly
decorative acoustic guitar propped against a chair instantly calls attention
to itself. Do you play now, I ask. "A little," he answers, that
great anvil of a face suddenly creased with the familiar expression
of 'pained mirth'. Why don't you write your own tunes then? It'd save
you a lot of grief... "Everyone keeps telling me that," he says
evenly. "Let's just say I have an inner voice which keeps telling
me... ahem... stay as pure as you are."
He laughs then settles back. "I mean, my theory is, 'Why dabble with
a masterpiece?' In a diluted sense, that's exactly how I feel about...
Four hours later, our interview at an end, one of those random seething
energy rushes I've noticed he gets when he's excited will propel him
helplessly to grab the instrument and cradle it meditatively in his
lap for a minute before, just as suddenly, he almost throws it from
his grasp, a look of mock-horror spreading across his face. "Oh God,
I must look like Johnny Marr!" he splutters. The joke is on him
and we both get a laugh out of it. But Johnny Marr, or more particularly
the subject of his absence, is otherwise no laughing matter for Morrissey.
It is then that Morrissey chooses to share the title of his next album
with me. He doesn't say anything, just scrawls in bold block swatches
of ink the words "BONA DRAG" onto a scrap of paper before lapsing into
one of his more enigmatic smiles. Why... uh? "Well," he says
mellifluously, "Bona is Latin for 'good' and Drag
is... well, 'drag'!"
The time was an evening in mid-November, the setting for this encounter
the magnificent country mansion/recording studio complex deep in the
wooded bowels of Reading part-owned by Clive Langer - the owlish and
soft-spoken producer best known for his work with Madness - whom Morrissey
had contracted only five weeks before, following a final falling-out
with his previous collaborator, Stephen Street (Langer had already produced
one single for Morrissey, the numbingly bad "Ouija Board, Ouija Board"
whose atrocious media reception had everyone a bit ashen-faced this
While Morrissey's closest friend, the video director Tim Broad, hovered
in the background, Langer pottered between the living quarters and the
studio, where the six new songs he'd composed with Morrissey for the
album were in different stages of completion.
In due course, I was played rough mixes of three tracks: "November Spawned
A Monster", a thunderous, highly extravagant piece of pop weirdness
about a crippled girl which features a cameo of the Canadian singer
Mary Margaret O'Hara seemingly undergoing exorcism; "Piccadilly Palare",
an ode to male prostitution in a Piccadilly endowed with brash tricky
chord changes and a Beatlesque lustre; and "The Girl Least Likely To",
a song about "that friend you have who really believes in the imminence
of her success yet secretly you know it's never going to happen for
her" which sounds the most trenchantly Smiths-like of the three.
Langer's old mucker Elvis Costello (they wrote "Shipbuilding" together)
last year referred to Morrissey post-Smiths as "someone who comes up
with the best song titles in the world, only somewhere along the line
he seems to forget to write the song", and there's certainly more than
a grain of truth in that. At least in these new lyrics one could sense
that he was trying to make amends, leaning forward, trying harder, finally
writing 'substantially' again.
months have elapsed since then, however, and there is no "Bona Drag"
or at least no sign of a Morrissey album of that title being available
in the foreseeable future. Instead, the six Langer/Morrissey songs recorded
in November are being released on two singles, one after the other,
commencing in February with "November Spawned A Monster" and followed
by "Piccadilly Palare". Both are worthy enough but balefully uncommercial,
deserving more the context of an album for best exposure (the latter
is over five minutes long, for example) and almost certain to be either
ignored or banned as a result.
Has Morrissey finally lost all sane 'focus' on his career? Maybe a more
pertinent question would be: does being profoundly alienated by life
automatically involve profoundly alienating almost everyone, barring
your mother and a brace of 'caring supportive friends', you come into
anything resembling close contact with?
Anyway, though nothing is official, it looks as if Langer is about to
join Stephen Street in Morrissey's out-tray. Street confided to the
press over a year ago his opinion that Morrissey is still hopelessly
obsessed by The Smiths, is still unable to convince himself he can top
their standards of excellence, and is biding his time until Johnny Marr
comes to his senses and returns to the fold. However Johnny Marr, after
a disastrous couple of post-Smiths years, has recently started re-establishing
his profile, recording and performing live with The The, and teaming
up with Bernard Albrecht and Neil Tennant for the super-group Electronic.
Marr has also started to tell his side of The Smiths' break-up to various
publications, characterising his relationship with Morrissey for Rolling
Stone magazine as "not exactly a laugh a minute", and going so
far to declare a Smiths reunion out of the question because "only a
fool doesn't know when it's time to stop".
Meanwhile Morrissey - still proudly dressed in the 'widow's weeds' of
his Smiths heritage, still alone and vacillating, still tormenting himself
with that ever-recurring question, "Am I in too deep?" - is walking
backwards into the Nineties...
Mozz... (he looks pained). I'm sorry, you don't like being called "Mozz"?
"It makes me sound like a racehorse."
OK, Morrissey. Mutual acquaintances have told me recently, "We
go and see Morrissey and, oh, it's terrible. He's so lonely and he won't
come out, he's so desperately unhappy." Isn't that bullshit? Aren't
you really happy being that way?
"No, I'm not happy at all. Not ecstatically happy anyway."
Don't you feel hemmed in by all this ceaseless self-absorption?
Shouldn't you draw a line between your art and your life?
"But isn't that the burden of the genuine artist? If you feel intensely
about life, and if you see everything with an artistic viewpoint, it's
inevitable that it's going to dilute any sense of fun and spontaneity.
Which is what my life is always robbed of. I always had a staircase
logic. I always thought about it later, then knew what I should've
done. But never at the time."
But this image of you as Mr. Splendid Isolation... You have
friends? You go out?
"Yes, I have a few friends, a couple of very close friends, one of
which is Tim (Broad). We go out quite a lot, we go to pubs, to some
clubs and to bars. But they're not terribly successful evenings, generally.
Just a matter of showing your face and going home - absolutely unrestrained
hysterical fun... let's say it's not easy! (laughs) But then
life isn't easy is it? Having said that, I do feel I've changed a great
deal in the last seven or eight years."
Don't you feel you have to 'come out' in some way to face the
"Yes, and I want to. I find the notion of Morrissey as a continuing
singing artist in the Nineties suddenly very, very interesting. Very
challenging and exciting. Having hit 30 and got over that particular
barrier, I feel better about my standpoint in the scheme of British
pop music. And though I dread the Nineties, I believe my position in
this coming decade is perhaps one of the most challenging and interesting
things that's ever happened to British pop music."
Some say your 'moment' is passing.
"The moment isn't passing, I don't believe that. Because I, more
than anyone else, had a very clear viewpoint of The Smiths' career and
of my career. When people have said I was strong, I sometimes wasn't
very strong. When I've done records that've had brilliant reviews, they
weren't totally perfect. So really my view is the ... real view, and
it's the sharpest view. And I know it's becoming stronger and better,
I really believe that. And when it comes time for me to do all the...
stereotypical 'seizing the moment' things for me then I think it will
be... pretty... interesting." (laughs)
How do you relate to "Viva Hate" now?
"I feel it was more of an event than an achievement. I think the
audience was simply relieved that I was still going on with living.
That in itself was the celebration of 'Viva Hate'! I've always been
fiercely self-critical and... it wasn't perfect. And it wasn't
better than 'Strangeways Here We Come'! There's at least six tracks
on it that I'd now willingly bury in the nearest patch of soil. And
place a large stone on top." (laughs)
Could you talk about your relationship with Stephen Street?
"Do I have to?"
Well, surely he helped you out...
(waspishly) "Well, I wasn't hanging off the edge of a cliff!
I wasn't laying in a hospital bed with tubes sprouting out of me! I
wasn't entirely incapable, no matter what he might say."
Johnny Marr recently said how The Smiths came to a point where
one had to choose between Herman's Hermits and Sly Stone, and that's
when problems occurred. Has that quote got anything to do with why you
recorded Herman's Hermits' "East West" as a B-side of your last single?
"No, not at all. I never read that quote... Um it's true The Smiths
were tied to certain, possibly restrictive influences..."
It's often intimated you have a 'problem' with black music?
"I still don't really know what black music is. I mean, I never had
a problem with the Marvelettes. Or Dionne Warwick. I listened to their
records all the time and still do. So..."
For "Bengali In Platforms" you got called a 'racist'.
"But I'm always called something. I didn't mind that."
Talking of racism, how do you relate to the sudden rise of Guns'N'Roses?
"I find it frightening, but not for challenging reasons. It's frightening
because it symbolizes the state of music in America. If you look at
the top ten albums of the moment you'll find the Rolling Stones, Bob
Dylan, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Grateful Dead and I find that horrifying.
There's a song on this album that has the Rolling Stones in mind because
I've been so disgusted by their most recent comeback that I no longer
find it sad or pitiful, I just feel immense anger that they don't just
get out of the way. You open papers in this country, and every
day there's the obligatory picture of, y'know, Mick-with-bags-at-the-airport,
or Keith saying he's completely normal now. They just won't move
away! The song is called 'Get Off The Stage'."
Tell me about the other new songs.
"There's a song called 'Striptease With A Difference' which is about
playing a game of cards wherein the loser of each game has to take off
an item of clothing. And it's about secretly hoping one loses and in
fact manipulating the game towards that end. Then there's 'November'
(Spawned A Monster) which in a sense is my version of the New
York Dolls' 'Frankenstein'. It's about a person who's confined to a
wheelchair, who can't make much sense of her life and whose only ambition
is to walk down the road in clothes she personally went out and chose
and bought herself. And that is as far as her ambitions can stretch."
That's Mary Margaret O'Hara doing the middle section...
"The scatty bits? Yes. I was massively intrigued by her album. I
thought it so beautiful I suddenly realised I hadn't in a decade heard
someone singing because of deep-set personal neurosis, absolute need
and desperation. You'd think she might fall apart at any second and
become a pile of rags and bones on stage. For the first time in almost
a decade I was 'high' - mentally really, really high. What kept coming
back to me was 'Horses'. Mary Margaret also sings on another track,
'He Knows I'd Love To See Him', as well as Suggs, ex of Madness (eyes
me pensively). Um... Did you approve of Madness? Didn't you
feel that North London/Kinks connection?"
You played me "Piccadilly Palare"...
"'Palare' is gypsy slang that was adopted by the theatre and in the
Seventies I heard it being used by male prostitutes (laughs).
They have their own code words for sizing people up and talking among
themselves. The song is about male prostitution in Piccadilly. It became
a very big thing during the Seventies. Were you ever aware of documentaries
like Johnny Go Home? In the North, among most people I know,
there was something oddly romantic about the whole thing. It spelt 'freedom'.
Catching a coach and spending a day in Piccadilly was extraordinary.
It's very glitzy now because Soho's been cleaned up, but then
it was quite... powerful."
You write a lot about the homosexual experience...
"Well... not a lot."
OK, you write a lot about homosexual 'longing'.
"I've always said I leave things very open and that I sing about
people. Without limitation. And I don't think that automatically makes
me a homosexual."
You've always taken offense at that word...
"Because it's... limiting and restrictive."
Do you feel more able to sexually project yourself now?
"Oh yes I do. Throughout The Smiths' career I was entirely crippled.
I was bound to a wheel chair, I have no doubt about that. And then suddenly
one day I woke up and it was gone and I felt, 'My God!' It was quite
recently, just over a year ago. I mean, I suppose 'manhood' comes to
everybody eventually (bursts out laughing). Maybe I
What about sexual... relationships?
"I don't have relationships at all. It's out of the question."
"Partly because I was always attracted to men or women who were never
attracted to me. And I was never attracted to women or men who were
attracted to me. So that's the problem. I've never met the right person."
In my favourite of your confessional songs - "Half A Person"
- you sing about being hopelessly smitten with a girl who, after you
return to impress her as a famous personage, simply tells you, "When
you were hopelessly poor I just liked you more"... Is that autobiographical?
"Yes, that is all absolutely true. She does exist."
But don't you feel like taking, y'know, one mad plunge?
"I'd like to, yeah, but not just with anybody. It... uh... just doesn't
come naturally to me."
You seem to have problems with other people?
"I do find it very hard to make friends, due probably to the fact
that my view of the world is fairly off-beat."
Would you call yourself paranoid?
"I don't really feel paranoid, but severely normal people
make me paranoid yes. Because they can exercise such power. It's hard
to go out, because even if people don't like you or don't want to talk
to you, they're still looking at you with unabashed curiosity. To have
someone constantly staring is a great burden. I'm not an incredibly
glamorous person to look at. I don't breeze into apartment stores, or
swoon into nightclubs with an entourage."
What do these people expect of you?
"When people stop me, they expect me to be very, very poetic. They
begin to talk to me about the very poetic things, their vision of the
Do they want to read you their poetry?
"Yes, all the time."
Isn't that embarrassing?
"Yes, but only because a lot of it is very personal."
An unspecified number of young people were reported to have
killed themselves after The Smiths split up. How disturbed did that
make you feel?
"I felt disturbed, yes, but then I had to sit down and really believe
that whatever triggered off the unhappiness in these individuals had
occurred before they'd encountered The Smiths. I have to believe that."
As much as you're idolized, you're also hated, often just as
intensely, and often by other prominent acts...
"There is an extreme intolerance. For a lot of people, it's because
they're jealous of me - a lot of other artists are very, very jealous
of me. Because although I'm not tolerated in any way by the big, fat
media, other artists are actually jealous of that! It's so
hard at the end of the Eighties to be even faintly rebellious, or faintly
dangerous. If artists want to be rebellious or dangerous they just slap
on the leather jacket and do the 'rock'n'roll' things which are no longer
rebellious. But it's truly tricky and quite a feat to hit the nerve
with pop music. And unwittingly I always do it. Every time. Nothing
has changed in that respect."
Weren't The Smiths a 'rock band'?
"The Smiths were always a pop group. Part of the general policy was
never to use the world 'band'."
Didn't the other three see it as a 'rock' endeavor though?
"I don't believe so. In truly frustrating moments Johnny would
always say, 'For heaven's sake! It's only a pop group.' That would always
bring the tension of the argument right down. Of course the next day
it would be completely forgotten and we'd be back to creasing our brows."
If Johnny phoned and asked to work with you again, what would
"It's no secret that I would be on the next bus to his house. I don't
feel, by saying that, I have no confidence in my present standing as
a solo artist... But he wrote great music and the union was absolutely
Johnny claims now he felt your creative chemistry was drying
up on "Strangeways"... How do you recall that album?
"It was a very happy time amongst the four members of the group.
Surrounding us were obviously the gnashing wolves..."
But was it creatively drying up?
"Not at all. The very last Smiths' sessions at Streatham we recorded
two songs that turned up as B-sides: 'Work Is A Four Letter Word' (a
cover of a Cilla Black song), and one called 'I Keep Mine Hidden'
which was the last song Johnny and I wrote together and the last song
The Smiths recorded together. Now when I play The Smiths - which I do
a lot - that song is always the first I play. And it's the one that
makes me feel the happiest."
Were you really shocked when Johnny quit?
"I was very, very shocked. Very, very, very shocked. I couldn't believe
Did he give you no signs?
"Not directly, no. We did talk about it at one stage at his flat
in Chelsea one night. We were so tired and exhausted, but it was a very...
together... unified chat."
But in interviews he keeps stressing how ill and unhappy he
"We were both unhappy about many things, mainly the general setup
of The Smiths. Plus the fact that we were working so hard but nothing
could ever be utilized in a positive way. That was so draining. And
we'd gone through a succession of potential managers, none of whom were
right and all of whom were so emotionally damaging, because even trying
to get away from people became really hard. We were just excessively
vulnerable. On the final American tour there were periods when Johnny
looked so ill that it was just a matter of saying to one another, 'This
isn't right, this is not the right way to live'."
At Wolverhampton last year you played a couple of Smiths songs
for the first time without Johnny.
"That concert at Wolverhampton was me saying goodbye. I felt that
just because The Smiths had ended... those songs really were me also.
I didn't feel like walking away saying, 'Oh no, no more of that. Let's
move on and be massively creative.' I still feel that all of those songs
are me, I had the right to play them."
How do you feel about The Smiths and Rough Trade now?
"It was pathetic. The subject of flyposting wasn't broached 'till
The Smiths' ninth single. Nothing was utilized and Rough Trade are largely
to blame. But The Smiths not having management was also a problem. Nothing
surrounding The Smiths was ever positively exploited - it seems
such an ugly word but sometimes it can be handy." (laughs)
Were The Smiths a democracy?
"No, not a democracy. I never found a potential manager who could
deal with the whole situation without wanting creative input, without
giving their opinions. We just wanted to be helped along with our own
ideas. And managers are never capable of doing that. They can't resist
meddling, believing they too are making the new album, designing the
cover. You must understand that The Smiths was an absolutely closed
society. It really, really was."
Were The Smiths in a sense your gang?
"Totally, yes. Because people were always quite frightened of us.
When we'd walk into a room, people would suddenly become very nervous
of this... um... 'combined body of Mancunians'. If people sense that
you don't really care about their opinions, then yes they do become
But you don't need a gang in your 30s?
"No, I feel that I'm a very strong person. I only realised from breaking
from The Smiths that I had my own personal sense of power very much
together. That's the big benefit."
How much do you crave that kind of partnership again?
"It's not a matter of 'slyly craving', it just couldn't be any other
way. It's better to have that close working relationship with someone
who writes music, because then you could make a few mistakes amongst
yourselves and the outside world would be none the wiser. Now, because
I work with other people, it's less easy to be 'random' about the things
I do. I write all the time but obviously now, post-Smiths, it's whenever
I can get hold of a tune that really starts me humming. But that exuberant
music is few and far between now."
Johnny Marr seems to feel The Smiths were overrated. Do you
think they were ruined by the expectations of the critics, me included?
"No. To me, The Smiths have always been and continue to be terribly
underrated. That's all I can say. That's the essence of my personal
Don't you feel like Yoko Ono, though, protecting the Smiths'
legacy, beavering around fighting litigations, seeing lawyers all the
"It can seem that way most of the time, yes, but in matters of money
people get very strange. They step out of themselves, go a bit mental."
What about Craig Gannon? He only played with The Smiths for
a few months anyway.
"Craig... it's... I'm not sure if I can talk about it. It's very,
very serious. I'd rather not. What it boils down to, though, is people
having too much time on their hands. Do you understand? People who came
into contact with The Smiths came into a situation where a lot of money
was floating around. Then suddenly they're out of the situation. They
Aren't these 'Smiths reunion' rumours every few months a terrible
albatross around your neck?
"I get infuriated by the rumours that surround me and The Smiths.
For instance the NME had a huge story about me joining 808
State and they wanted to do an interview with me about dance music!
As if my attitude to dance music had changed! I'm not interested in
dance music whatsoever!"
Do you feel any affiliation with Happy Mondays and Stone Roses?
Would you have liked to do Top Of The Pops with them?
"I don't know them personally. I'm quite happy for them. I'm always
interested in Manchester groups so a Mancunian Top Of The Pops
would have been very interesting, yes (pause). But fate
Hasn't Manchester become something of a prison for you now?
"Yes I do feel that. Sometimes. I do try to escape it, but it never
leaves you. Mileage doesn't help."
The Stone Roses seem to have made great inroads into The Smiths'
"I think they are doing very well because they are very organised.
The Smiths were never very organised. But they don't move me at all,
and I really wish they did. I really wish I could feel enthusiastic
What about Happy Mondays?
"I quite like their first LP."
They love to publicise their debauchery, unlike The Smiths...
"It's the duty of each generation to flatten the morals of the previous
one. And The Smiths, I suppose, are now the previous generation. There's
too much bitterness for me here. No one played The Smiths on daytime
radio. Ever. That's why for this new generation of groups, things are
so much easier - because The Smiths ploughed through that thoroughfare."
Both groups are very respectful to you. Both have told me they
feel more kinship with The Smiths than with New Order.
"It surprises me to hear you say that."
What do you feel about New Order?
"I never, ever understood New Order. I don't feel hate, anger, jealousy
or anything strong for them. But that's the problem! They just
passed over my head. Or under it."
What about Joy Division, then?
"I saw them just before 'the death' and I was astonishingly unmoved.
As were the audience, I might add. To me, it's all just... legend."
Do you feel any kinship with the Pet Shop Boys?
"I feel absolutely no kinship whatsoever with the Pet Shop Boys.
Not this year or the next! They don't leave any impression on me whatsoever."
No interest at all? You've socialised with Neil Tennant...
"Well, Neil interests me, yes, in the sense that I find a brain like
that working successfully in this medium far more interesting than,
well, fill in your own blank, really. At least he's an intelligent person."
What about this Ecstasy Culture in England? This new abandon
in young audiences?
"Well, obviously, as those audiences discover music for the first
time, they're not going to be coming to it with very high standards.
But they don't have concern for the past - for the late Sixties or early
Seventies - so they're not very judgemental. It doesn't worry me though.
I don't take drugs. I never did. I mean, I know people for whom drugs
make them very happy. And I personally know of many relationships that
are built simply upon Ecstasy. On the surface it may seem like a good
thing but one day it may all wear off. And physically, a lot of people
will be in terrible, terrible trouble. The way I see it is people just
breaking out and saying, 'No more depression, no more repression. I'm
not going to stay on the dole queue. I'm going to go out and dance and
meet people.' It's very much a seizing the opportunity, doing it now,
forgetting the future."
The Smiths have been represented, wrongly I've always felt,
as very much a box-bedroom culture...
"It became less and less true as the years went by. I see Smiths
fans as just basically intelligent people, nothing more or less."
Don't you feel that England is a doomed country now?
"Yes I do, and so does everybody else. Even people who are quite
level-headed and quite capable of happiness feel that this country is
absolutely shambolically doomed. I feel I have to stay, though. I feel
I have to go down with the ship if that's what must happen. Anything
else would be too much like desertion. In this country, change is just
so hard. And I don't see why it should be."
This 'Englishness' you wrap yourself in...
"Yes I do."
Don't you ever feel like leaving all your books, records and
old films - all your reference points to bygone cultures - and stepping
out to embrace something new?
"No, I've never wanted to do that. Why should I?"
So is the height of happiness, for you, still the idea of watching
a good film on afternoon TV?
"Yes it is, it certainly is."
In "Paint A Vulgar Picture" you sang, "In my bedroom in those
ugly new homes [sic]/I dance my legs down to the knees". Do you still
dance alone in your bedroom a lot?
"Yes I do. It's a daily occurrence because I listen to music all
the time. I become so purely transported sometimes it's like that thing
where you're supposed to leave your body. And although you don't see
yourself, that really does happen."
What about live performances in 1990?
"Yes, I want to do live concerts. I'm pleased I've been reasonably
silent and paused a great deal. I needed to do that."
You talk about events all the time. Wolverhampton was obviously
an 'event'. Would doing a whole tour lessen that?
"I don't think so. You see, I can stand at the edge at the moment
and say, 'Let sleeping dogs lay'. The memories of the last Smiths tour
were so beautiful that maybe I should just..."
At those Smiths concerts, you often seemed so horribly unwell.
"I don't remember any of those nights to be honest with you (laughs).
Every memory to me is that I was simply a catherine wheel, that
was as far as it went. I can remember a few times when I was literally
pushed onto the stage. I was pale, I was ill, I needed a meal, I needed
a lie-in - all those natural circumstances you desire when you're being
pawed about. But for me, those evenings were so emotional. It wasn't
just a matter of going out and singing a smattering of songs with great
choruses and clever endings."
In England you seem able to control your fame. Outside, of course,
it's another matter. Isn't this the reason you're not much bigger abroad,
particularly in America?
"In a sense, yes. I've always held back and retained privacy. I prefer
to stay calm. I've never allowed myself to be tramped underfoot by my
own career. The Smiths didn't rush to America. We hesitated and it really
Did you see that readers of Spin magazine in America voted
"Queen Is Dead" their all-time great album?
"I find that totally astonishing! But once again it's a situation
that cannot be usefully capitalized upon. That was the story of The
Smiths' career. There's never been Smiths or Morrissey merchandising
available. Even in America, after two astonishing Smiths tours, you
could never buy the records. The concerts we played were all 15,000
seaters, people going hysterical, you couldn't hear the music over the
screams. Yet it was so abstract, because I never expected that. The
way I feel about America now is if I had a strong body of people
and went to America, I would be an absolutely suffocatingly enormous
figure. I know that would happen. But until I find that body of people
I'm not going to do it."
But are you actually looking for this 'body of people'?
(cautiously)"Yes... yes I am looking. But with one eye.
Because I half also believe that they will just present themselves,
if they're meant to be there. And if they're not meant to be there,
then I'm being spared something."
You believe in divine intervention?
There's a quote about fame in a play by one of your favourite
writers, Heathcote Williams, that it's God's way of punishing people,
of marking them out. Can you relate to that?
"I just think that human life is considered so insignificant now
that the only thing one can do, in order to do anything at all, is 'to
become famous'. This current obsession with 'fame' runs rife through
all the people I know. They have to do it or else their life is absolutely,
shambolically useless. And I don't believe that was always the case.
I believe that pressures have driven people to this monstrous over-emphasis
on fame, on 'doing' and 'being seen'. Not even 'doing' now. You just
have to be 'seen' doing something and you're famous. That's strangulating."
Don't you feel perhaps that it's time to move into another field
of creative endeavour, like a novel or a screenplay?
"It could very easily, but I just don't want to do it. And I think
there's time. My position in British pop, for better or worse, is unique
and I'm not walking away from it. I don't want to. I'm going to stay
around and make more records. That's what excites me. There's time to
do other things (pauses)... if I want to do them.
I wouldn't do them just because they're the 'next great adult step'
and because it's a more dignified way of moving around. Which it definitely
is... but... I'm not... I'm not ready... I'm not ready to go home yet."
interview was originally published in the March, 1990 issue of The
Reprinted without permission for personal use only.