Bisexuality, shagging the queen, fancying Adam Ant, the wheelbarrow position, cunnilingus, losing his virginity, period sex – and eating live ladybirds.
Welcome to (probably) the best interview ever given by a musician, courtesy of Damon Albarn. The Blur frontman may have confessed last year to taking heroin.
These days it’s unlikely you’ll get Albarn, 47, to talk about much beyond his love of African music and his arthouse musicals such as Dr Dee and the recent Wonder.land.
Thankfully, things were different when the singer sat down with Loaded in September 1994 to be interviewed for the magazine’s fifth issue.
He was 26, it was just after Blur released Parklife, and Albarn didn’t give a toss about what he said.
Some of Albarn’s answers were obviously tongue-in-cheek. A lot of his interview was about sticking his tongue in cheeks. Some of his chat was about how he used to eat live ladybirds.
Here’s the sometimes startling interview reprinted for the first time – it will make you mourn the fact media training has killed such chats.
A Boy Who Likes Girls. And Boys, And Bi’s, And Royals by Jon Wilde, September 1994
Loaded Were you artistic as a kid?
Damon Albarn I was more autistic than artistic. I was extremely slow in learning to walk and talk. My mum took me to the doctor and he said quite solemnly, ‘I wouldn’t expect too much from Damon’, like I was backward or something. I used to get away with murder though, as I had big blue eyes and a blonde fringe. I’d be wheeled around in this pram and grannies would queue up to tweak my cheeks and say nice things about me. Throughout my childhood, I felt a bit like the kid from The Tin Drum. Not that I was a psychotic midget, but I had this amazing clarity of perception about everything that was going on around me. I suppose that was the direct result of an alternative upbringing. My dad was an environmental sculptor. In our back garden in Leytonstone we had this 20-foot pea-pod made out of fibreglass. Things like that gave me a different perspective from most kids of my age.
L As a kid did you find yourself doing odd things like staring at wardrobes hoping you could will them to move?
D Nah, I didn’t spend much of my time experimenting with wardrobes. The oddest thing I did was eat ladybirds, which I did up until the age of 12. It’s just something I started to do to get attention at a young age, and I suppose I developed a taste for them. I’d swallow handfuls of the things. I’d put them on my tongue and swallow them. But there was never any chewing.
L Who was the first pop star you wanted to shag?
D The first pop star I fancied was Adam Ant, but I wouldn’t have wanted to shag him. That was never on the table, or in the bed for that matter. I never went through that latent homosexual phase. I never even thought of sticking a carrot up my bottom or anything like that. I’ve always been more of an intellectual bisexual. I wouldn’t get a hard-on looking at another bloke, but I like the idea of bisexuality. It’s just that I’m not physically capable of coming up with the goods. I’ll say this though – I’m more homosexual than Brett Anderson. Always have been. As far as bisexuality goes, I’ve had a little taste of that particular fruit, or I have been tasted you might say. But I’ve never been able to get very excited about all that. When you get down to it, you can’t beat a good pair of tits.
L What about wanking?
D I was never that experimental when it came to wanking. I never went at it with raw liver or a loaf of bread with the middle gouged out. The only wanking anecdote I have is that there was this buzz at our school about bottles of Vosene. They reckoned that, if you cut the bottle in half and slipped it over the end of your dick while lying in the bath, the suction power would bring you off. If you had a particularly small dick, you’d cut the bottle at the top. If you were more generously endowed, you’d slice it off in the middle where it started to widen out. Sadly, it never did much for me. Though it did leave me slightly chafed.
“I think the appeal of cunnilingus has a lot to do with how many drinks you’ve had and whether she’s washed down there recently”
L Were you a particularly enthusiastic masturbator?
D Not really. You’d get these kids who would beat themselves off seven or eight times a day. I couldn’t understand that. Never felt the need. I was never a Guinness Book Of Records candidate in that respect. As far as I’m concerned, that kind of over-activity is the sign of a vacant mind. People who wank seven times a day have got no more between their ears than Mrs Smith who lives next door with her cats.
L Who were your teenage heroes?
D Herman Hesse, Terry Hall, Suggs, Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Stewart – people like that. They were the closest I got to role models. I was never drawn to the depressed, tragic types. I liked The Smiths but I despised all Smiths fans. All my mates became vegetarians and started acting all moody and suicidal because of Morrissey. I thought that was pathetic – a load of bollocks. At that age, between 15 and 19, kids are very vulnerable. They’re leaving their family environment, finding their sexuality, trying to figure out what to do with their lives. They’re full of late-adolescent paranoia. So many bands like Joy Division, The Smiths, The Cure, Depeche Mode and Suede consciously play on that. I had those feelings of insecurity myself, but I was never going to sit in a room listening to fucking Morrissey or fucking Robert Smith or fucking Brett fucking Anderson. It’s all a big con to me. It’s selling the audience short in the worst way imaginable. That’s why I can understand kids who are into rave music these days. They can dress up and go to clubs. They’re attractive and the dancing is very sexual. The whole attitude is very positive. It’s all so much healthier than stuff like The Cure and bands like that who I regard as a malignancy. Thank god kids these days have got someone like me to look up to.
L Were you always successful with girls?
D I must admit that I always found it incredibly easy to get off with girls. When you’re a teenager, picking up girls is a bit like getting run over by a large vehicle. You see a juggernaut approaching and you have to know when to throw yourself under it. I always seemed to know when to throw myself on the floor and get what I wanted. I always seemed to attract older girls. I was into drama and music. I used to walk around with a volume of Karl Marx under my arm. This seemed to set me apart from the Dennis Wise types that populated the Essex area where I lived. I must have seemed sophisticated, and most of the older girls saw me as this kind of romantic Byron figure. And, consequently, wanted to shag my brains out. I had few complaints about that, obviously.
L How did you lose your cherry?
D I lost it at the age of 15 in a semi-detached house at the back of my school in Stanway, Essex, to a 17-year-old girl called Jane, who was the daughter of a district nurse. I’d been going out with her for four months and, because she was the oldest, she called the shots and decided the time was right. We lay down on a very clean bed, did the business, and then I walked home and had a nice cup of tea and a fancy bun. These days, I could write a thousand songs about an experience like that. I just didn’t have any perspective on it then. I just remember walking out of her house, rubbing my hands and thinking, ‘Well, I’ve done it at last!’ The earth didn’t move. I was just relieved I didn’t fuck a virgin.
“I like Caribbean girls, Indian girls, African girls and Mediterranean girls. I don’t like Orientals at all. Well, I like them, but I never fancy them”
L Any other memorable sexual experiences?
D Nipping over the garden fence after a maths lesson, drinking a bottle of Baileys and having a good shag. You can’t beat a bit of sex when you’re supposed to be doing double physics. There’s a touch of anarchy about that.
L How did you feel when girls first wanted to shag you because you were famous?
D It helped a lot that I was at ease with my sexuality before I became famous. So I was never like a child let loose in a candy store. A lot of pop stars who are sexually inexperienced tend to get a bit fucked up when the whole groupie thing starts. My message to Loaded readers is to get it all out of your system before you even think about settling down and having a few kids. I’ve sown a fair few wild oats in my time and I feel all the better for it. But I wouldn’t think about settling down until I was completely spent. It quickly becomes blatantly obvious that a girl only wants you because you’re famous. It becomes the easiest thing in the world, but the sex is shit. And it does fuck all for the ego. The sex doesn’t become devalued as such, but it doesn’t give you the sense of well-being that you need. The problem is that, as soon as you become well known, you have this illusion that you’re irresistible to women. It’s a bit like walking down the street really fast and forgetting that you’re wearing roller skates – which puts you at an unfair advantage.
L How would you define the sexuality of Blur?
D The good thing about Blur is that we don’t make a virtue of the fact that we’re quite sexy. Mick Jagger is considered sexy because he announced the fact that he was sexy. I find all that quite amusing. Madonna’s the best example of that type of thing. We’re talking about a woman with miserable skin who’s considered to be the world’s greatest sex symbol. She’s living proof of the fact that there’s nothing less sexy than sex, especially when it’s being waved in your face 24 hours a day. What she does with her sexuality is like the equivalent of Super Mario Bros. It’s all a massive overstatement. I’d like to think Blur are much more subtle.
L Cunnilingus. Is it all it’s cracked up to be?
D I’m quite ambivalent about cunnilingus, though I can see that it’s an important arrow in any man’s quiver. I think its appeal has a lot to do with how many drinks you’ve had and whether a woman has washed down there recently. If you’ve had a skinful, it doesn’t matter so much that she hasn’t been near the bath of late. But I’m no expert on the subject. I mean, I don’t need a diagram to show me where the clitoris is, but I’m quite a long way from mastering the art of going down. I reckon a 65-year-old pensioner is always going to be far better at it than someone of my age. It’s a case of practice makes perfect.
L How about going down on a lass when she’s got the painters and decorators in?
D I think it largely depends on how much you’re into giving pleasure to someone else. It also depends on how heavy the flow is. If we’re talking Niagara Falls, you might want to explore other possibilities for the time being. There are advantages though to that time of the month. For a start, a woman’s tits are biggest when she’s having a period, so you might fancy concentrating on them for a bit.
L Favourite sexual positions?
D I’m up for anything, basically. The classic wheelbarrow position is always a good one to fall back on. My own particular favourite is the ‘French Maid’ position, which, for the benefit of the uninitiated, involves a fair bit of bending down and picking up imaginary feather dusters. You can’t go wrong with the French Maid in my opinion.
L Describe the kind of women who give you the horn.
D As far as celebrities go, there’s Nanette Newman who’s always worked wonders for me. Also Neneh Cherry – I think she’s very nice. I like Caribbean girls, Indian girls, African girls and Mediterranean girls. I don’t like Orientals at all. Well, I like them, but I never fancy them. I’m not a legs man or a tits man. I think that’s a terribly restrictive way of looking at a woman’s body. That’s what porn does to you. A lot of blokes have this perspective on a woman’s body which has been learned from the camera angles in porn films – the way a woman’s body is panned over and lingered on. Personally, I prefer the whole package. Porn films have never done much for me and I’ve never had much time for things like Carry On Up The Khyber. I never found the women in Carry On films remotely attractive, even Barbara Windsor. They were always too Anglo-Saxon and plump-thighed for my liking. I prefer to watch Spanish films like Golden Balls that take their time over things. If they’re going to focus on a penis or breast, they don’t rush it. That always seems more effective somehow.
“Would I shag Prince Philip? Nah, he’s a Greek isn’t he?”
L Given the chance, would you give the Queen a good seeing to?
D I have to admit that I quite fancied the young Elizabeth Regina. I’d have been happy to have given her one when she first came to the throne. Not just because she was the Queen. I just thought she was very sexy. The same goes for that Princess Margaret who seemed like a bit of a goer. They’ve both lost it a bit recently though. I don’t honestly think I’d be too tempted these days. And would I shag Prince Philip? Nah, he’s a Greek isn’t he?
L Tell us what sorts of things move you to tears.
D Stars In Their Eyes always makes me weep. Also things like Good Fortune with David Frost. That really chokes me up. Jackie Collins and Jilly Cooper films always have me in floods. See, I love crass emotion. It does me in every time and brings out these previously unknown sentiments in me. One of the most profoundly moving experiences of my entire life was watching the last scene in Planet Of The Apes when he sees the top of the Statue of Liberty. I practically had to be stretchered off after watching that.
L What do you hate with a passion?
D I don’t feel anything with a passion. I’m not a very passionate bloke. I can’t bring myself to actually believe in passion. But there are things I hate. I hate bands like Gun. I hate people who do cover versions, get to No 1 and have the audacity to go on Top Of The Pops and act like they wrote the bloody song. I’d hate a lot of showbiz types but I’m far too showbizzy myself so I can appreciate all that stuff on a kitschy level. I hate Dick Francis books but I’d probably love the film adaptations ’cos there’d be all these sexy birds running about in jodhpurs, and you can’t go far wrong with jodhpurs in my opinion. Oh, I also hate Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and anyone who’s not a Chelsea fan, except QPR fans, because they’re too inoffensive to get worked up about.
L What difference has being in Blur made to your life?
D Until Blur came along, I didn’t have a context. I was into all the wrong things. I was into Karl Marx, Bertolt Brecht and Erik Satie when cool kids were getting into The Jam and J. D. Salinger. But I’m quite grateful for the fact that I kind of did things the wrong way round. I never went to football when I was a kid. Now I’m an official Chelsea fan who gets interviewed by 90 Minutes and Shoot. A lot of kids start out with those things and get into art and literature later. But I started out reading Nabokov and now I’m into football, dog racing and Essex girls.