The Times (7.6.02)

My cultural life: Siouxsie Sioux

by Ed Potton

The singer adores Iggy Pop and the weird world of Hieronymus Bosch, but can’t stand art fascists

Iggy Pop’s The Idiot is an all-time classic for me. I have always loved Iggy for his physicality, the way that he looked and his attitude. I love being surprised, and with Iggy anything could happen — he had a kind of beautiful chaos. He was in danger of being written off when The Idiot — which I first heard while I was rehearsing with the Banshees in 1977 — came out. But it surprised everyone with its electronic element, the lyrics were brilliant and it was a great album that shut his critics up.

I live in France, so when I come to London I see as many films as I can. The last time I was here I was really impressed by David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. I don’t think that it matters that you are not sure what is happening all the time; you can invent your own scenario for what it all means. I was just feasting my eyes and my ears on the dialogue and the visuals. Who cares what the destination was, or even if there was one? It was just a fantastic journey.

If I had to pick one author it would be J. G. Ballard, who I think is Britain’s best living writer. Reading Crash was my first experience of a semi-erotic novel; I loved the tension, the violence and the detail of it. I recently bought a collection of his complete short stories, dating from the late Fifties up to 2000. I am interested in people who choose not to be part of the majority. I also like the fact that he always seems to attach himself to misfits, people who defy the rest of society.

The first painter I was really intrigued by was Hieronymus Bosch. I saw one of his paintings when I was very young and I spent ages with a magnifying glass looking at all the little details of his figures. I was fascinated by things that were a bit disturbing, so I loved those half-man/half-bird (The Garden of Earthly Delights) creatures, the images of Hell and Purgatory — all these cruel things that were happening to people.

I really enjoyed New York the last time I went there, partly because of its vibrancy and partly because I found someone who was able to repair my old PVC bondage shoes. I bought them from Vivienne Westwood’s Sex shop in 1976 and they hold a lot of memories for me. I had tried and failed to get them fixed in London and France, but I found a cobbler around the corner from my hotel in Manhattan who said: “No problem, I’ll have them back by tomorrow.” There is always somewhere you can get something fixed in New York — it is a wonderful mix of the exciting and the practical.

Pet hate
I get so angry at art vandals, such as the person who was so offended by the preserved body of a pregnant woman and foetus at the Bodyworlds exhibition that they attacked it. If they don’t like something then they shouldn't go to see it. What do they think gives the the right? I think ayone who does that kind of thing should end up with their head on a spike in the Tower of London.

Contributed by Bonnie Bryant.

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