Mod notes: I use to have the source and date of this but I don’t anymore. If you know where it’s from and the date, please let us know.
You support Chelsea, whose fans are supposed to be very hard…
They have a reputation for being a little less than progressive, yes.
So how hard are you?
Not very hard, but I’m certainly harder than I used to be. There are two kinds of people. There are the kind who give off the signal that they’re an easy touch and you could have a go at them, and there are those that don’t. I’m probably in the latter now.
Has anyone ever had a pop at you, then?
When I was 16, every weekend I’d get my head kicked in. By squaddies in Cochester.
Well, y’know, I was a Smiths lookalike fan and I was drinking in these pubs full of people who’d just go out for the army remand centre. I can understand why. I was clueless so I deserved everything I got, but it taught me a lesson.
What lesson’s that?
Don’t be a prat.
You’re well known for liking a drink, so why don’t you do other drugs?
Well, Ecstasy embarrassed me because I was far too nice to everyone and I don’t believe in being nice for no reason. I smoke dope occasionally, but I tend to either really enjoy it or become ridiculously paranoid, so there’s not much point in doing it all the time, otherwise I’d just be fucked up. Cocaine, I did it for about a year and a half. Seriously damaged my nervous system, was quite ill for like three months, so I thought: “Well, that’s a bit stupid.” Basically, you’ve either got the the constitution or you’ve not, and I was lucky in the sense that very, very quickly my body told me that there was no point in me taking drugs.
I’ve read about some naked all night drinking sessions you had with the other members of the band. How did that all start?
The only time that ever happened was when we were driving through Germany and I suppose we were getting into that whole Malher bit. We were very drunk, it was snowing, and we ran up a snowy hill naked. I don’t think any of us have got a hang up about taking our clothes off on front of each other.
Have you ever had a homosexual experience?
Vague bits here and there, but mainly because I was drunk. No romantic interludes.
Where was the worst place you’ve lived?
I once lived in a bedsit with some Irish navies. I had a shared bathroom which was never cleaned and they were all like 55, and were all either drinking beer or wanking.
You didn’t make any friends then?
No, no, no. I mean these were people who were bachelors or had left their families and were just working during the day and getting absolutely hammered and coming in and smashing the doors and going to bed and getting up the next morning to go and dig a road somewhere.
You credited the other members of Blur with co-writing songs you’ve written, which gave them loads of money. Is that right?
Yes, I think being in a band is an emotional partnership. If you get married to somebody you share your money, don’t you?
Would you credit me with a couple of songs from the new album?
It’s a good try, but no.
What’s it like to have lots of money?
I don’t know. I’ve literally got one pair of jeans, three pair of trainers, one Ralph Lauren jacket, a couple of shirts and that’s it.
So are you stockpiling the money?
I’m just not very interested in it. I mean it really annoys me, there was somebody who drove up to the studio last week, I’d just cycled in, and Graham Coxon had come in his Carmen Ghia 1966, which, of all the old vintage cars he could’ve bought, is not a very flash one. It’s interesting looking and it’s a bit decrepit but he looks quite sweet in it with his little glasses, and it only goes about 60 miles an hour at top. Anyway, this guy just zoomed in, brand new Testarossa, and was like beeping the horn telling us to get out of the way. That is the biggest reason not to get involved with money. When people behave like that, I find it disgusting.
You’ve also talked about the Martin Amis book, London Fields, being a big influence. How did that affect you?
Well, it’s one of the reasons why I moved here [just off the Portobello Road]. It gave me a key to a language that I was interested in, but didn’t know how to focus on. It’s a sort of dirty, speedy London dialect which he uses, and that’s sort of what I use in my songs now. I also liked the way he’s able to flip between low and high culture, as that’s what I’m sort of about as well.
If there was a film about you, would you play yourself?
No, certainly not, it’d be a disaster. I’m getting more and more convinced that pop stars and films are a bad idea having seen Tommy again last night. I ddin’t realise how much of that is dreadful. I love The Who, and Pete Townshend, but, fuck, they lost the plot there.
Young women often thrust their breasts at you to autograph. How do you sign a breast?
Well, it doesn’t happen anymore. It’s very simple though. You just hold it and write on it.
What would you say to someone who wanted to make an inflatable rubber doll based on you?
I’d want to talk to them about it, to make sure certain specifications were acurate. I wouldn’t want them underestimating.
Apparently, when you first met Justine she asked for a poster of you and you didn’t give it to her. Why not?
No, it was a poster of our fisrt single and I thought she should pay for it. I was just being snotty. I only found out where she lived later, because I asked everyone I knew in the music biz at that point, did they know of a band called Suede. And there were a few A&R men who’d gone to see them and had contact number and it was her number, so I rang her up and said: “I’m coming round.” So I came round and took her out and that was it. I was very forward. I just said:”This is what’s happening.” I think you can do that once or twice in your life if it’s right. I don’t make a habit of it.
If you were a woman, what’s the first thing you’d do?
Go and have a shag.
And what would you like least about it?
The looks I’d get when I went to play football.
Who was the greatest footballer of all time?
I don’t think I have a learned idea, but in my very modest opinion I’d say Trevor Brooking.
Fuck off. Trevor Brooking?
Only because at the time, when I was ridiculously impressionable, he was the one that I knew. I don’t think it stands up to any argument, it’s just an emotionnal thing.
You failed your music A-level. Why?
Well, clearly I could’ve passed. I know I’m musical. But the thing that makes me laugh is the line you’re given: that if you do well in your exams you’ll do well in life. The truth is, to get on in the late 20th century, you’ve got to have a lot more head-butt than head.
How come you appeared on the cover of Angling Times when you were a kid?
Not on the cover, but I did have a picture in it, and that was a very exciting moment. It was a record chub for that particular stretch of water. I caught it.
When did you last cry?
That advert for Yellow Pages that tied in with VE day, where that bloke says goodbye to that French bird as he’s leaving in 1945, and then he goes back to a sort of celebration, and he brings her some tights. That made me cry for some reason. Adverts make me cry because they tap into very basic emotions.
Did you buy the Yellow Pages then?
I’ve certainly looked into more.