December 1985 - Depeche Rock - (France)  (Translation below)


I find you interesting...
"I detest the idea of being considered a British group, that's just the worst thing. I hate the American idea of nationalism, it's bullshit. I don't see why there should be such stupid things as countries. If I were French, I'd hang myself!" (Robert Smith)
Story: where Robert, dignified singer of famous current group The Cure, opens up talking for hours about his obsessions: from Mary to lipstick, and passing by a lamb...
"I made a video of us the other week. I put a video camera in a corner of the room. After two hours, you forget it's there: I was honestly horrified by all the stupid things we said! It's like listening to a bunch of retards."
"Actually, Mary and I have known each other for so long that I don't have to finish my sentences. A word is enough and she knows what I'm going to say. We can actually have a conversation... I don't dress up, but Mary does. She used to dress like a witch to scare little children, and she likes practicing on me. I feel more natural in the company of people who are mentally unstable because you have to always be alert, you wonder what they'll do next. It's funny if you are with someone who all of a sudden starts crying. Actually it's not funny, it's rather annoying. She likes that more than I do. I can never bring anyone home because I never know who's going to open the door. She says, 'please, don't bring anyone because I feel limited'. The only person who came into this apartment in the last three months was Simon Gallup, our bassist, but then she was wearing my pajamas. I think she was pretending to be me."
"I can imagine our songs inspiring people to commit suicide, but not murder. I've met people obsessed with music. And two people obsessed with me. But if it weren't me, it would probably be religion. They just need to be obsessed with something. I don't want to do anything for those people. Giving money to the church or giving money to The Cure. What's the difference? None. Both can save you... I met the pope once - not the real pope, there are about three of them. I was quite young and I was at St.Peter's and it was a bloody mess. He was being carried in a chair and I caught his hand... Severin went to a place in Rome called the Club Vatican where he was served by nuns. He pretends they really were nuns, but I never believed him. All nuns are thieves anyway! Listen, I know five nuns. One of them is a relative of Mary's. They are very bitter about life in general. One of them is a good nun, the other four are cunning. The best place to meet them is the Heathrow airport. They come and go. If you sit down for a while, you'll see hundreds of nuns hurrying together. They're always carrying records in their bags."
Did you know, Robert, that Madonna thinks nuns are sexy?
"What does she know, Madonna? I hate her. She stinks."
"We broke up, Simon Gallup and I, because I thought he had changed too much. He was pretending to be someone else, that I didn't really like. And also, he didn't like me that much anymore either; he thought I was selfish and ignoring everybody, which I was probably, but that was my problem... I wasn't feel at ease with him anymore. So we broke up after a fight, one too many, in a bar in Brussels, because I thought he'd been too tough with a young barman. He thought I was defending someone else for fun, and there'd be no end to it. I left the club at five in the morning, took a taxi to the airport and I waited for the next flight to go home. I left all my clothes behind. It was dramatic. After eighteen months without seeing him, I thought it was stupid, I couldn't not like him anymore. One night, I went to this pub where we used to go drinking: I knew he'd be there. It was pretty funny because when I walked into the pub, everything went quiet, just like in a western. I walked towards him and started talking. Now he is back in the group."
"The last time I took acid was at Christmas. The first time I tried it was with Severin a few years back and I was stoned for a week! I think it was God's acid! There were clear blue, gelatinous tablets from America. Jobson was there too. I think he's the funniest person I've ever met. Anyway, it was snowing and the whole world was white. I was in a lot of pain. But no, I don't take a lot of drugs. 'The Top' was very influenced by drugs, but it was only for fun. The thing is that I didn't change after taking LSD, no matter how many times I took it. It didn't change or alter my vision of the world, nor my perception, which it usually does to other people. I've always had a twisted view of reality, and my value sense has always been the same. When I tripped for the first time, I realized that it was just as I was anyway. I stopped taking it in the end because it was making me sick and I had headaches. It's like drinking. There are various reasons for drinking. You can drink socially, or you can drink by yourself and become morbid and boring. No, I don't think that it's so you don't feel the pain of living anymore. The worst is when you want to do something and you can't, that pushes you to drink more. But people like Dylan Thomas drink for the pleasure of it. Like some sort of recreation, I think. I used to drink by myself before, but I don't do it anymore. Take Dylan Thomas (that alcohol ended up killing) for example. He was doing it because it was fun. I imagine he was drinking for three reasons. The first, because it's fun; the second, because you become this sort of myth, a legendary drinker, and you get addicted to that. The third reason is that in the end you don't have the choice anymore: you're hooked! I am almost an alcoholic now. I haven't spent one night this year without being drunk - a sad observation, I suppose. Ummm, I'm very conscious of it. Everything goes into my face. If I see myself in a mirror or in a photo I think 'God, I'm fat and horrible', and then I stop eating, but I compensate by drinking even more. I really like beer, which is the worst, so now I drink vodka instead. At least, I'm not a professional alcoholic like Tom Waits is sometimes. I think he makes everything look romantic. He doesn't give a true representation of American life, or he has to get himself really drunk for it. I think that someone living in a trailer, a bottle in their hand, somewhere in the deep interior of America, would be more qualified to speak about the States. I mean, would Tom Waits dance with Bananarama? We taped a show for Dutch TV and Bananarama mimed playing the instruments, 'cause we were too stoned. I had to mime the song because if not we would have had to redo it a thousand times. I just fell down when I finished. Bananarama were the first band I met who managed to drink with us until the end."
The Lamb
"I took a lamb on tour, but it was stuffed; it was full of little bars of strawberry soap and I used it as a pillow. It was fluffy and I kept my pajamas inside it. I am not an existentialist. There are too many forms of existentialism and I find it difficult to choose. In a way, I've always agreed with the idea of being at the center of your existence and of building your environment, God and everything else comes from you. But now, I am not so sure. I don't have any philosophy or such interests - this week. I've reached a point where I'd rather play football than be an existentialist!"
"Live Aid"
"We weren't invited to participate. But we wouldn't have done it anyway, to be honest. It was good, but useless, because if people had donated a percentage of their wealth, like the people who sent money, that would have doubled the benefit. It's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen on television: Freddie Mercury was ok, but Bob Dylan, Keith Richards and Ron Wood took the cake, they were so terrible! It was humiliating in the extreme, it was that bad."
"I decided last year that if I were to put all my manuscripts together, I'd have a book of short stories without endings. I've always known the title. All these stories would have the same title. Mary found it: 'The Glass Sandwich'. I am very serious about the subject when I feel I'm starting to fall asleep. It's a very good mental exercise, but most of the stories aren't funny. I have to get away from the idea that I can totally control my destiny."
"Ah, the lipstick! I'm not putting it on carefully because otherwise people are going to think I'm doing it out of vanity, when it's for theatricality. I used to draw lipstick all around my eyes and my mouth, and once we were on stage I'd be sweating and it would look like someone had punched me in the mouth and my eyes were bleeding. But I had to stop because my eyes started hurting. I kept using it on my lips, because it's not really in my private character to do something like that."
- interview by Fionna Russell-Powell
- French translation: Fabienne Shine
Page 6:
Chasing The Cure: by a head-hunter
Paris, November 6, confirmation of flight AF 806 to London.
"His head, do you understand, I want his head, dead or alive, on the cover." These were the only instructions I had for this mission. In fact, what is the difference between a mummified iceberg and a frozen mummy? To verify this definition of death, the Robert would be very useful to me in vitro.
London, Ivor Place, Thursday, 1pm.
Introductions: "This is Antonio from Depeche Rock Paris." The advantage is for him, and he knows it. "Hello", short and polite. Should he have engaged in conversation? Later, I knew that no. Also polite, I say: "Do you have any ideas for the portrait I was requested to take of you?" Before responding with the voice, his eyes had translated the eternity of boredom that my question had invoked. Crossing my gaze for the first time: "You know, I just woke up 15 minutes ago." 1-0 for him. As for me, I just made myself look like a clown. A French one. Meeting the next day at 4pm. I should have known that a reputation can cross the seas, and even easier the Channel, and stay accurate all the while becoming legendary.
The sun is going down coldly over London. In the pubs, endless talk takes place and, within the space of one song, the glasses empty. It is 6:55pm. Ideas for the trophy I want to bring back to Paris, I have a few: big plan, he puts on makeup and with a pseudo-clumsy gesture, he ends up with a line of lipstick over his cheek - funny, no? Pregnant silence after the explanation. "Bad idea and I'll tell you why. Not shaven and with lipstick, I'll look like a drag queen."
Big Ben strikes 7pm (cliché). Return to square one but you don't even touch 20,000 francs.
Chasing this ghost won't be refreshing and joyful.
Joker! "How about making faces?", "All right". Seen from afar, the moment is classic. He is not part of the setup as much as he is being set up. Cut from the others (press official, editor, manager...) by my flashes and by the barricade of my 6x7 camera monster (compared to a 24x36), he is alone. More accurately, both of us are alone.
Face to face, little bothered by a mechanical mirror, 100,000 copies and 400,000 readers, my noisy frog of a camera can start its love song: "BRINKZ, VRAOUCC, SCHLAQUE". Between us, there is only him and me and the simplest tricks relax: miming a frog, a madman, hate, the landing on the Moon (yes, yes!) and then the surprise. The iceberg touches bottom.
Him: "Actually, I'm never surprised." I sense a vague existentialist plan. Me: "Already read Sartre?" Him: "Yes, a lot, Jean Genet also." Me: "And do you like him?" Him: "No, Sartre has no mother." Did I understand him well? Sartre, son of a whore? Me: "And you, do you have a mother?" "YES!" If Sartre has no mother, he doesn't want to be his son, and me neither. We are both unworthy offspring.
He doesn't like my 6x7 and he ends up expressing it. Using gestures and his voice, he mimes the rapid fire of the paparazzi: 10 automatic photos in the time it takes me to take one. 1 against 10, he declares me KO on technique.
Actually, he says, philosophically he prefers the simple things (he didn't say the word philosophy). Simple things - cheap - good deals! Kodak discs and bare-bones guitars, simplicity of use permitting an unbridled spontaneity. Same thing for his clothes and shoes, always the same and once worn out, he buys the same model again. Does he have the immortal look?
The iceberg has turned into ice-cream and the mummy makes fun.
Me: "Can you scream very loudly?" And in my head, I think like a wolf.
He points his sharp gaze into each of the pupils of my eyes in turn: "Yes, but you're screaming with me!" (Communion of the cry or shared ridicule?)
Him and me: "One, two, aaahHAHA HAAAAAAAAA...".
With all our force and from our guts, we screamed together, solitary wolves of course, but solitary weirdos above all!
The scream is amplified and invades the whole space before echoing with violence across the floors. Around us, the British candy phlegm tastes like panic for only one instant, but a memorable one.
So the trial is finally over for us. Collective sigh of relief. After the repeated grimaces, the quiet and insolent expectations, and the screaming, does he feel like killing me? Savoring his beer with a wise and completely relaxed look, he fixes his gaze on mine: "I wanted to kill you before, not after." His face (no more mask) expresses a complete determination. Behind the trellis of his hair, there's a wildcat - a lovable one.
-- Antonio Pagnotta
Page 7:
The Biggest Fan
The biggest fan of The Cure? It is without any doubt Chris Parry, who discovered the group in 1978 and signed them immediately to his own label, Fiction Records. More than a manager, Parry is friends with Smith, whom he has always supported, including in the most improbable adventures...
"My relationship with The Cure is first of all based on confidence; in the seven years that I have been working with Robert, I learned to know him well even though he still surprises me. I think I would follow him anywhere, but I am not blind. I have a pretty critical ear when I listen to his demos and it's been years since I've tried - without really believing it will happen - to convince him to write less obscure lyrics. Our only serious quarrel goes back to the time of The Glove because he absolutely wanted to sing on all the Blue Sunshine songs and he wasn't realizing it was becoming a Cure album. The Head On The Door cost 65,000 pounds and the numbers for the tour are going to be somewhere around one million. The group will have to be happy with at most 5% of the profit, if there is any, because we have invested so much to make it as perfect as possible. Aside from that? The barometer is at 'perfectly sunny', Robert had to renew his passport and it's the first time that he declared himself as "author/composer" when he was asked his profession."
-- interview by Alexandre de Teilloy, August 1985.
The Cure by Satellite
Tickets for The Cure's French tour are being snapped up the moment they go on sale, rumors of a second Bercy show grow, and VTS announces that the Toulouse show on December 12 will be broadcast live to the hundred cinema halls of its network that covers cities with less than 100,000 population. The idea - already tested with Kid Creole, Jeanne Mas, Johnny - is a satellite link (Telecom IB) between the place of the concert and the halls equipped for the reception and distribution of image streams that travel 72,000 kilometers in a few fractions of a second, putting the event within the grasp of kids far from the big centers visited by the group. Technical aspects perfected, editors trained on the fly, simultaneity despite the distance, we live - isn't it? - in formidable times!
For the complete list of participating cities, please contact Video transmissions Services at (1)
-- Alexandre de Teilloy
Page 8:
Photo 1: Chris Parry: President of Fiction Records, manager and biggest fan of The Cure. This man loves wine and good music.
2. The Cure in a pub: during the filming of "Children of Rock", in the pub opposite Fiction Records, the group's publishing house. "But why did they decide to go to a pub?"
3 and 4. Robert Smith and the spinning top: "It is time to know that 'The Top' means perhaps the summit, but before everything else it is the spinning top. Remember the strange noises from the intro to the song 'The Top': they were made by a member of The Cure playing with a spinning top... you will also recognize in the photo the psychedelic drawings used as the theme for the cover of 'The Top'."
5. Robert Smith and his girlfriend Mary: she is "M" in the song of the same name on "Seventeen Seconds" and "Mary Mary" on the back of the insert. She has known Robert for at least 13 years and is at once his little sister, older sister, mom and lover. This is the first time that they have authorized the publication of a picture of them for the press. We promised them: it is the first and last time that this photo will be published! On the back of the photo, Robert wrote a few words by hand:
"At this point, I was whispering to Mary about her peculiar choice of parrot. She replied: "Get closer and I'll eat you." I have never understood this girl..."
(photo: Richard Bellia)



A BIG THANKS to: Aria Thelmann  @ Music For Dreams for the TRANSLATION. 



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