Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett may have conquered the world with Gorillaz, but they were originally more famous for other reasons. Damon was – and, well, still is – the vocalist for Blur, while Jamie Hewlett was the co-creator (along with Alan Martin) of Tank Girl, which originally appeared in Deadline magazine.
At some point in 1991 Jamie and Alan were sent off to interview the still-fairly-new Blur in a pub. The alcohol was clearly flowing freely as the resulting article (from Deadline magazine, December 1991/January 1992 issue) is just a tad strange! Interview by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin. Tapes transcribed by K.L. Rich (M.A.).
Jamie: We were going to build an Orgone Accumulator.
Dave: Are you into all that sort of thing, then? Organons and that?
Jamie: Oh yeah.
Dave: I know very little about it, but what I do know, it’s intriguing.
Jamie: I only know a little about it, but I’m interested in it anyway. Anything anyone wants to tell me…
Dave: Oh, I probably haven’t got anything to tell you at all.
Jamie: (laughter) I probably haven’t got anything to tell you either, but we can both be interested together.
Dave: Let’s both be stunned at the sheer variety of what we haven’t got to tell each other about it then.
So began a momentous investigation into the hidden world of the paranormal: Comic stars Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett sat down with Alex, Dave, Damon and Graham of top ‘beat combo’ Blur and between them unravelled the mysteries of the universe. From a conversation that occasionally attempted to become a serious interview, but was constantly waylaid by a monumental intake of alcohol, three hours of taped material landed on my doorstep. Sifting through the wreckage, the following revelations clearly show that both Blur and our own fave stars are in fact serious researchers into the Other Side. An insight into the arcane world of the supernatural? Or just six drunks in a bar? You, the reader, must decide…
Out of body experiences
Graham: I was talking to Vic out of Levitation. He used to wake up in the middle of the night having an out of body experience ‘cos he couldn’t breathe when he was asleep. He used to wake up on the ceiling looking at himself waking up, which is pretty scary. He said it’s just something you’ve got to cope with.
Alan: It’s what’s described as francination… Unless he’s being contacted by aliens.
Alex: It must be really hard when you’ve got a hangover and you wake up stuck to the ceiling. All you want is a glass of water and you don’t know how to get to the kitchen.
The riddle of Loch Ness
Jamie: Have you ever been to Loch Ness?
Alex: It’s really deep isn’t it? It’s really deep, man.
Jamie: It’s about sixty miles deep in some places.
Alex: Sixty miles?
Jamie: As you get further it goes into all these catacombs and caves.
Alex: No. Really?
Jamie: They all link up to other lochs so all the lochs are linked.
Graham: (Scottish accent) The lochs are linked, the lochs are linked.
Jamie: I read this Really Big Book on Nessie, and they sent down this camera that measured the length of it. It was down there for a few days and it measured all these creatures that were swimming past that were thirty feet long and there were about thirty creatures down there.
Alex: Let’s go there! Let’s mount a f***ing expedition!!
Jamie: It’s so deep and it’s so cold down there – and it’s also so big, it’s like twenty six miles long. There’s a whole new world down there that’s not explained and no-one knows it ‘cos they can’t get down that deep.
Alex: I’d love to live in the sort of world where if you were really f***ing interested in that sort of thing and you had the resources you could just bloody go and find out for yourself.
Jamie: I’ve always wanted to be a deep sea diver.
Loch Ness the cover up
Dave: I’ll tell you what. I’ve got this good Loch Ness story. I had this friend when I was at school and he was extremely weird and no-one thought much of it. He was well into the Loch Ness monster and he thought there were people on Venus – he was in telepathic communication with these people on Venus. Everybody thought ‘He’s just this totally wigged out bloke. Fair enough, just leave him alone.’ He used to spend loads of time up at Loch Ness and he ended up taking a photo of the Monster. It got printed in all the unexplained magazines and it’s in all the Big Unexplained Atlases you get for ten pounds – in Smiths, I think – and about two weeks later he was found dead, no-one knew why – unexplained causes – in his room.
Jamie: I like that story.
Dave: It’s absolutely true – that’s a first hand account.
Graham: I saw a UFO when I was in Italy when I was four.
Jamie: You saw a UFO? What was it like?
Graham: It was about that big and silver.
Jamie: (laughter) Was it cigar shaped? Or did it look like a croissant?
Alan: The one I saw was just a pretty strange shape.
Jamie: Have you ever seen a UFO?
Alex: No, never. I’ve never seen anything interesting.
Graham: His memory’s been wiped from when he got tooken up that time.
Dave: Astronomers are the main people for seeing UFO’s. Just about every astronomer that exists – Patrick Moore’s seen one.
The moon and its mysteries
Jamie: D’you know the first thing that happened to Buzz Aldrin when he landed on the moon? He wet himself. And did you know Buzz Aldrin was an alcoholic?
Alex: Was he pissed on the moon then?
Jamie: No, he was so scared he wet his spacesuit.
Graham: It’s looking at the Earth from that far away, isn’t it?
Alex: It’s enough to give anyone a complete religious experience. A lot of people who’ve been into space apparently, a disproportionate amount, have gone… F***ing God – down that path; lost the f***ing plot completely.
Graham: It must… to behold the Earth. It takes a lot of f***ing.
Jamie: To be able to block it out with your hand as well. They’re going to be starting passenger shuttle flights to the moon in twenty years time. Michael Jackson and ZZ Top have already booked their seats.
Alan: I’m not going then.
Graham: It’s not a very nice place to go.
Space travel the cover up
Jamie: D’you know they reckon they’ve had people on Mars for about the last 20 years. Apparently the first thing Neil Armstrong said when he landed on the moon was ‘There’s f***ing hundreds of ’em’. Apparently they had people on the moon about twenty years before the official landing.
Alex: Naaaa mate – they wouldn’t have had the technology twenty years before.
Alan: I reckon so – it’s the same way technology goes… which I can well believe… that it’s twenty years in advance in Japan. It’s all packed away in boxes, just sitting on the drawing board.
Jamie: They reckon they’ve been on Mars for a long time, which I can believe, ‘cos it’s none of our f***ing business. They can do what they want and they’ll tell us when they feel like it.
Jamie: My parents lived in a haunted house (when I was one) and I disappeared for about five hours. They couldn’t find me – I was in my cot and I disappeared.
Dave: Where were you?
Jamie: Because it was a haunted house they got a bit freaked out by it and they were looking for me for about five hours. They found me under their bed – I couldn’t have got out of the cot by myself ‘cos it was too high. I was carried away by poltergeese (sic).
Dave: (laughter) that’s brilliant!
Alex: The thing with ghosts is, if you tell them to go away they do. You say, ‘Look, I’m bored, go away. Chill out.’ Sarah and Veronica, they’re both really susceptible to ghostly vibes. They went in this woman’s house and they said ‘Oh, this is haunted isn’t it?’. They could feel them around them. Sarah moved into this house once and one of these ghosts kept trying to put their arm around her and she just said ‘Look, f*** off, I don’t want you here’ and they just sort of left her alone after that.
Jamie: I used to know the two girls that were in ‘The Shining’ – the two girls who stood in the corridor saying (eerie high voice) ‘Play with me’. They were really strange…
Alex: Were they? Had to be.
Near death experiences 1
Jamie: Have you ever been in a car crash?
Graham: I was run over when we signed our first record deal – it was almost the shortest career in the world. I was around Notting Hill Gate and I found myself bashed up into the sky and landing on the road.
Alan: Were you driving?
Graham: No, I was just drunk – walking in the road and this copper said ‘Hey sonny, wake up’ and I said ‘Am I dead?’ and he said ‘No, but you’ve had a nasty knock, son. We’re taking you to hospital.’
Jamie: Were you alright?
Graham: I had huge concussion – this Irish nurse was wheeling me around the hospital for hours doing tests. I just kept asking her to marry me all the time. There’s nothing so good when you’re drunk and concussed as an Irish voice. Not one of the harsh ones, but the soft ones.
Jamie: Have YOU ever had a car crash?
Alex: I’ve been hit while parked, that’s it.
Alex [I think they mean Dave]: I skidded into a grass verge once. I was really showing off in my Austin Allegro Estate and we flew around a corner and there was NO MORE ROAD!!!
Jamie: That’s nearly death, isn’t it?
Alex [Dave again?]: I was out of control for a second.
Alex [I think they mean Dave here too]: I used to live in France for a while; I used to tour around being a bit of a squatty lunatic and we were stuck out with a bloke and a woman and their two kids. These two kids we got to know quite well and they started talking to us about Hare Krishna. They were going ‘Look, Krishna helps you die’. These nine year old kids were telling me how to die, sort of thing.
Alan: But isn’t that a brilliant thing to know when you’re nine or ten?
Alex [Dave again?]: It’s a frightening thing to know when you’re twenty five though.
Near death experience 2
Alex: I nearly died when I was eighteen months old. I was in my carrycot – it was a secondhand one ‘cos I was a middle-class hero – and the handles broke and I was at the top of these stairs. I went rolling down a whole flight of stairs and fractured my skull, broke a few ribs…
Alan: I was blue when I was born and covered in slime.
Jamie: You Blue Meany!
Graham: Did you have an umbilical cord round your neck? Were you one of those?
Alan: No, I don’t know what it was. They had to stick this tube down my throat and suck all this shit out.
Graham: Oh dear.
Damon: Hey Alex, have you come across W and Z particles?
Jamie: What are W and Z particles?
Damon: Where are they? Where do they appear?
Jamie: WHAT ARE W AND Z PARTICLES?
Alex: They’re sub-atomic, but they’re essential.
Alex: Basically, physicists can justify everything if they invent these particles called W and Z bozons. W and Z bozons are incredibly heavy – they make black holes look STUPID – very lots of gravity… and very heavy… very heavy.
Jamie: Where do they discover them?
Alex: In… f***ing… TANKS.
Alex: Switzerland. (much laughter)
Life after death
Alan: Do you believe in reincarnation?
Alex: Ultimately yeah. We’re 80% dinosaur piss aren’t we? All the water in the sort of global system was drunk by at least six dinosaurs in its time, so if we’re made of 80% water… it’s more regurgitation than reincarnation.
Alan: Aren’t we all 0.0006% hamster then?
Alex: No, no, no… That’s not what I’m getting at. We’re all 80% dinosaur piss, but 0% essentially hamster. 80% dinosaur piss and 100% essentially human. We’re not essentially hamster at all.
Alan: (peering into his pint) I think there’s some horse piss in here somewhere.
Alex: Well, horse piss… we’re bound to be a bit of horse piss in there somewhere.
Alan: What’s next?
Alex: Human piss.
Alan: What’s going to be 80% human piss, then; mutants?
Alex: F***ing well mutants… An extension of humanism and dinosaurism would just be an extension of this – it’s exciting isn’t it?
This is just a brief sample of the material on the tapes I was provided. I would like to have transposed more of these incisive examinations of paranormal activity, but the tapes were forcibly removed from my home by two gentlemen in long black raincoats claiming to work for a top Government department. Since this interview was recorded, Blur have vanished from the country, ostensibly on a tour of America, but can we be sure? Alan Martin, too has vanished; the official explanation being a world trip. Astute Deadline readers will also notice the absence of Jamie Hewlett from this issue – his cover arrived under plain wrapper with no return address. Coincidence? Or something more sinister? In conclusion, one last extract from the Project Blur Book tapes: a chilling account of a telekinetic appearance? Evidence of an inter-dimensional time warp in the very pub in which they sat? Or not?
Jamie: (laughter) I’ve dropped twenty quid somewhere.
Damon: Have you? Are you sure you haven’t just spent it?
Alan: Is that the twenty quid from Deadline?
Alan: You gave it to me. I spent it.