PETER ROBINSON VERSUS
Or the 'Grandmother Of Punk' if you want to piss her off
Hello, Siouxsie. You've got a DVD coming out, shall we get the plugging chat out of the way?
"Yes, let's do that."
So it's got a couple of gigs on it, one from the Royal Festival Hall and another one at the 100 Club. Two very different gigs! Two very poignant moments!
"Well yes, although I did lose it a bit in the first one, though - I slagged off the venue and stormed off, hahahaha! Basically I couldn't have cold drafts on the stage and lo and behold there was the bloody Baltic wind blowing on the stage. I just said, "This is a fucking dump, the audience is great', and I stormed off, haha! I was very ill with sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma, and all from doing something healthy: giving up smoking. I was definitely being punished for trying to be healthy."
Did you give up smoking in the end?
"Listen, all these antibiotics and these steroids and these fucking allergy pills, they were making me really ill! I was taking all those drugs and they were making it worse. So I thought I'd take up smoking again. And I didn't need to take the drugs any more!! I saw so many doctors and only one of them confided in me that, apparently, there is a very small minority of people whom it doesn't suit to give up smoking. They won't make it public because then people wouldn't even try to give up."
Now, after winning an Icon award of some sort recently, you were described as an "elder stateswoman of punk"...
"ARRGGGHHH!!!! Well at least it's not the Godmother or the Grandmother or something. Actually the thing with that award is that, physically, it looks like a scary Klingon weapon, or a cat. It's got ears. You have to look at it from behind, though."
Are we done now, with all the punk retrospectives?
"Oh, tell me about it - I get the requests all the time. 'it's the 29th year since this', "It's the 31st year since that', I say yes every now and again purely to shock my press officer, but there are a lot of retrospectives."
Is there anything left that's worth looking back at?
"Well. I guess people look back - especially now - because it still stands out as not being a part of the 'industry. The amount things have regressed now, to a point where people are so bloody aware of what's happening in terms of 'shifting bloody units', makes what happened all that time ago seem so important. People are so aware of being liked by everyone and not offending anyone and not sticking out. You can see why that Dido is popular because there is nothing offensive about her, although I find her offensive in her blandness.''
We touched on cats back there somewhere. Tell me some--more about cats.
''Well, we have two now, but at one time we had four."
I didn't trust cats for a long time, and now I do.
"That's a sign of maturity, you see. Appreciating all the talents of a cat."
What do you consider to be cats' chief talents?
"Well, to be independent is a good talent. The fact that you feel incredibly privileged if they deign to come and see you- you certainly can't make them like you. Indeed the more you go for them the more they run away. And they're very watchable, aren't they? I can watch them endlessly. Their actual shape is a visual feast."
Dogs, meanwhile, are a bit of a mess.
"Dogs have a very needy, clingy, want-to-please thing, don't they? Cats are just, 'Take me or leave me,I don't care'. You don't want a dog-or a person, for that matter--slobbering all over you all the time, do you?"
And what's the protocol for naming cats?
"I've always wanted to call a cat Roger. I never have. All the names I've got are quite cute-of the two I've got, one is called Dandy and his brother was called Beano. Beano ran away one day. Or something happened to him. And Spooky was one who died earlier this year - she was rescued from Toulouse and was scared of her own shadow to begin with. And Spider looked like a giant bat."
How do you know he wasn't a giant bat who looked like a cat?
"Well, he's now turned into a very Egyptian-looking sleek black cat - he grew into his legs and ears."
What are you doing tonight?
"I'm going to the theatre, to see that Joe Meek production. Do you know much about him? I thought he was just a studio boffin but it turns out he was this maverick Svengali, very much like a Phil Spector character. Do you remember 'Telstar'? That was a Meek record.''
Wasn't that Margaret Thatcher's favourite record?
"Really? Well I never. That's actually a good record to like."
And finally, are you in it for the money or just having a good time?
"I'm having a good time and I'm lucky enough to get paid for it."
FYI- So this DVD thing - it's called Dreamshow
It's very good but the pressing plant had a fire or something so the release date has gone back
You can pre-order it now on Amazon, though. Hurrah!
Contributed by Bonnie Bryant.