Monkey Journey To The West

Gorillaz become ‘Monkey’

Damon Albarn, Jamie Hewlett and I stand on the balcony of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden where the huge stage work on which they have collaborated is now performing, looking at flames roaring out of the pavement grille five floors below us. A restaurant kitchen is on fire.

“That’s bad down there. It’s about to explode any minute,” Albarn observes, with the air of a man who knows his underground fires. Flames are shooting up a couple of metres and surrounding shops have been evacuated. Shouldn’t we move back a little? “Maybe,” says Albarn over the empty street, “but I kind of like the danger.”

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Monkey Magic

From an opera to an animation and a record and maybe even a band, Monkey has evolved. Paul Morley enters the ever-changing, always inventive world of Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn.

On the idea that things must have a beginning being due to the poverty of our thoughts.

Eleven endings to a piece of writing about the musician, realist and fantasist Damon Albarn and his creative sidekick and fellow conspirator, the graphic artist Jamie Hewlett. Read More

I’ve always felt close to monkeys

“I SWEAR by it,” says Damon Albarn, handing me a steaming hot mug of pungent, green-black liquid.

I take a tentative sip. Mmmm, not bad. Nettle tea is a surprisingly good brew, probably the ideal tipple for unravelling the mysteries of China.

I’m sitting in Damon’s (relatively) small office/studio in his (relatively) new West London HQ which he shares with creative partner Jamie Hewlett.

There’s a piano, a small keyboard, a rather old-fashioned soundboard, a small sofa and a big window overlooking the quiet street below. This is Damon’s musical playground. Read More