Jarvis' Review of 2006
Interview: Eddy Lawrence
Taken from Time Out, 20 December 2006 - 3 January 2007

A lot has happened in music and life over the last 12 months - allow Jarvis to make sense of it for you.


The BPI wins its first UK court cases against file-sharers
I remember some girl who'd been downloading songs and then the parents got lumbered with a bill for five grand. I felt sorry for the parents. That's worse than her just being on the phone, in't it? It depends what she's been downloading as well. She should've got a discount if it was all, like, McFly. That poor girl, she's probably never gonna have any more pocket money in her life. I can't really talk about it from a particularly strong position because I've never downloaded a piece of music either illegally or legally. Not from any moral standpoint, but it just doesn't excite me at all. I'm slightly sad: I like going into record shops, I like getting me fingers dirty. I've bought plenty of crap records that I've regretted afterwards, even if I've only paid 50 pence for them, but there's a commitment with them because they're in your house, taking up valuable space. It seems to make it more official somehow.

Charles Kennedy resigns as leader of the Liberal Democrats, his hand forced by his admission of alcoholism
Yeah, and then he woke up the next morning, realised what he'd done, and regretted it straight away. Poor old Charlie. There've been many cheap jokes made at his expense, all of them quite funny. 'He likes his liberal measures' and all that. I mean, not that the Liberal Democrats have got a hope in hell's chance of ever getting elected, but this thing about leaders of political parties having to be whiter than white just leads to you having more weirdos in charge. Because of the amount of scrutiny that someone's personal life comes under, you're not going to get a human being in charge - you're either going to get someone who is very good at hiding it, and so is really dodgy, or someone who just hasn't got any kind of human desires or foibles at all. The rest of the population are getting hammered all the time, so why not the leader of a party? And if you believe what history reports about people like Winston Churchill - he liked to put it away, and yet he got us through the dark days of WWII. I'm not saying politicians should be tanked up all the time, but I just think this thing of expecting people to be absolute paragons of virtue doesn't work.


James Blunt wins two BRIT Awards
The only thing that spoils James Blunt for me is that I can't abide his music or voice. But all this thing about him being posh was quite good. Usually in rock, people from a more well-to-do background adopt a pretend cockney accent and make out they're something they're not. And he just said, 'Yeah, okay, I'm a toff, actually, beyond that, pretty aristocratic,' and he didn't make any bones about it. And also I have to thank him more personally because I was in this hotel lobby in Los Angeles in October, and I could hear this party going on that sounded quite good. So me and a few friends tried to get in and they said, 'Oh no, your name's not on the list.' Then a few minutes later James Blunt arrived and swanned straight in, so we went up and said, 'Oh yeah, we're with James Blunt', and we got in. And it was quite a good party, so I have to thank him for that.

Dick Cheney shoots his friend in the face while hunting
That brings Charles Kennedy and his drinking into perspective - at least he didn't shoot anyone. It just shows you the calibre of people in charge of things. Governments like to promote this idea of 'Well, we can't tell you the whole story, because it's complex and some things have to remain secret, so just trust us because we know better than you', then an incident such as this makes you realise that all your worst suspicions are confirmed and they're just a bunch of idiots. And they haven't got the honesty to admit that. Cunts are still running the world.


A drugs trial goes horribly wrong, inflating the heads of the human guinea pigs involved
That made me feel quite creepy, because in my younger days I did some of those drug trials. It was at the Charterhouse Clinic, which was very near to Smithfield meat market - if you looked out of the window you could see it. Which, when you were having clinical trials done on you and you saw the carcasses being wheeled around, was quite spooky. I tried some heart drug, and got paid about 500 quid. But there was always this rumour that there was one trial where they pay you something like five grand, but it involved having your heart stopped for a minute. I don't know whether it was just an urban myth or whether it really existed. But God knows how much these people were being paid for going into this kind of elephant man vibe.


Mike Skinner reveals his affair with a mystery pop star on the first single from his new album
Could have been anyone couldn't it? They're all on it. They're all addicts. Every man jack of 'em. It depends if you think he's chivalrous or not. He never identified the girl, so that is chivalrous. But then again he did write a song about it. But then you've got to write songs about what you know, haven't you? That's the good thing about him: he's quite open and honest about things - I like him for that. And also not afraid to portray himself in a bad light. It's not all 'I am cool', he's willing to own up to being a bit of a knobhead sometimes.


Prosthetic metallers Lordi win the Eurovision Song Contest
I bloody missed that. Eurovision's one of the highlights of my television year usually. It's taking Eurovision somewhere else - I definitely don't want to miss it this coming year, because if you get loads of people doing it in prosthetic make-up, it'll get quite interesting. The sad thing is Great Britain - they're just rubbish now, aren't they? I've always fancied writing the Eurovision Song. I once was going to put myself forward, but it was the year when they changed the rules, and just picked a singer and gave them ten songs to choose from. I think they chose Sonia. They started as they meant to go on. But now they've changed the rules back again, I wouldn't mind having a go. I'd do that kind of march rhythm that's kind of fallen out of favour - the 'Boom Bang-A-Bang' kind of thing. The trouble is, like in real music, the ballads seem to have won the day. Lordi winning refutes that a little bit, but generally it's the kind of Johnny Logan, 'What's Another Year', pisspoor, goes-on-for-about-20-years ballads, and I wouldn't want to do one of them. More of a kind of 'Puppet On A String' kind of thing. So pass it on - if anybody from Eurovision reads this, if anybody wants to get in touch, the door's always open.


Approximately a million festivals take place in Britain
I can't believe how many festivals are here in the UK now. Nobody wants to be outdoors that amount of the time. I just couldn't understand why there were so many. Because the idea of a festival is that it's something special, isn't it? At one point, you just had Glastonbury, and it was around the time of the summer solstice, so it was a festival in the true sense - it was a big gathering and it was at least loosely tied to some kind of pagan ritual. Whereas with them happening every weekend, it's kind of like they're the new garden fête, which to me doesn't go with rock music all that well.


The last ever 'Top Of The Pops' is broadcast
I made a big effort to make sure I saw that, and it deserved a lot better. It was just a real cobbled-together programme. It was like oil and water mixing the new presenters with the old presenters, it just didn't work at all. I was shocked by how much Tony Blackburn's microphone technique had gone downhill. He probably got a bit too overexcited. But the fact that most of it was made up of old clips and they had one or two people performing was shoddy. It was very tawdry. And then the last Number One was that bloody 'Hips Don't Lie'. That was the ultimate insult - that it was the last ever 'Top Of The Pops', the last ever Number One, and they couldn't be arsed to go and perform it in the studio. All in all, it left a bad taste in my mouth. Having Jimmy Savile turning the lights off at the end was a reasonably nice conceit, but it was too little too late.

Syd Barrett dies
To me, listening to a Syd Barrett album is a bit disturbing, because you can almost hear a mind disintegrating before your ears. I find that painful to listen to. So I can't really derive any pleasure from it - it feels too much like an intrusion. I actually feel more sorry for him as a person - he obviously damaged himself and then had to live a number of years in probably quite an unpleasant state. It's all part of that rock'n'roll mythmaking thing and I've never bought that. It's harmful because it glamorises it and in some way encourages other people to think there's something to be learned or gained from doing that, and there isn't.

The World Cup finals take place
I had to support England and I stuck with them. I saw a couple of games in England, then for the one where they got knocked out I was in Paris. It was the archetypal England match, weren't it? It was just so predictable and so painful, and I was in a foul mood. And then later that night France went and beat Brazil, and that cheered me up. That was the game where Zidane was really good, and the thing was he smiled. You just thought: God, he's actually enjoying playing. That was the thing that did my head in about watching England - they all looked so miserable about it. Football is supposed to be about entertainment, so it was good to see somebody just relaxed and enjoying taking the piss out of the other team. All in all, I was disappointed with the World Cup; I didn't see that many great matches. I think humour has to come back into football. You get all excited and you go out and get your sticker book and all this kind of thing, and then they seem to take it too seriously and not just think: Well let's have a laugh and try and score some goals. They're all like, 'Ooh, well we've got to protect our position and it's all about getting through to the final stage.' You just think: Fuck that, do something that's worth watching.


Paris Hilton releases her ill-fated debut album
I haven't heard the record, so I can't say whether she's been misunderstood or not, but then again it hasn't sold many, has it? I suppose it shows people don't always fall for hype. Sometimes I've got dispirited in recent years, because that used to be the thing I thought was pop music's saving grace - that a record company could spend millions promoting somebody and then people would just turn their noses up at them. But then they seemed to get a formula going, for pop at least, with releasing the record cheap the first week, then tying it in with all this 'X Factor' business and all that. So I'm quite glad that Paris Hilton bought it. The thing about Banksy vandalising her CDs sounds quite funny, but seeing as nobody bought them anyway, it's a bit pointless. In a way it gives her a bit more cachet than she deserved, because it's saying she got up somebody's nose enough for them to bother doing that, when in fact no one cared.


A terrorism bust results in hilarious new security arrangements for air passengers
I was on holiday at the time. Breast milk was the only thing allowed, wasn't it? But you had to taste it in front of the guards. That would probably get a lot of pervs going. I try to avoid air travel if I can now. It's like everyone's robbed a crime scene, with them all carrying those little bags. And everyone's in a bad mood because it takes ages to get through those metal detectors. The thing is, all these checks always come after somebody's tried something - they tried a liquid bomb, so now there's no more liquids, and you have to take your shoes off because someone once got on a plane with some explosives in their shoe - and it's obvious they're not going to do something that's already been found out, so you know it's pointless. I realised that when - I might get arrested for this, but it was a complete accident I have to say - I was travelling on a plane with my son, and when we got to the other end, I was unpacking his bag and found a full packet of bangers, the ones like RizIas with gunpowder in them and you throw 'em on the floor and they go bang. And they are actually an explosive. Which had been on the plane, in the cabin with us. It was an accident, but it just shows you that, if somebody's going to try to do it, they're going to find a way. So I just say avoid planes. You can also then have a clearer conscience about not doing all those CO2 emissions.

The Pope refers to the teachings of Muhammad as 'evil and inhuman'
He could just as easily have been talking about his own religion. My feeling is that all religions should be banned. It's beyond a joke now. I used to think: Okay, let people do what they want. But now, even if they're not the absolute reason for conflicts, they're always used as the excuse. And I just think it's about time we grew out of it. We should've evolved beyond that. Somebody should try to think of some secular alternative - 'cos I like going into churches and they're nice and quiet. Maybe you could go to church and discuss interesting things. But I just think it's pathetic that it's still going on; they're all basically people who still believe in Father Christmas in their forties and fifties. You could think it was funny before, but it just doesn't seem that funny now, because loads of shit's happening in the name of it.


Brian May announces Queen will re-form, with Paul Rodgers of Free on vocals
Well, that's not going to work is it? His voice is totally different. When Queen were around, they weren't taken very seriously, but now they're quite respected. I like quite a lot of Queen songs, they're good to have on at parties, but you can't take them seriously - they're like Abba in that respect. To get Paul Rodgers to sing, it seems to me like that's the final bee the remaining members have in their bonnets - that they sold millions and millions of records, but people aren't giving them the artistic kudos they're due, and they'll achieve that by getting in a proper rock vocalist, not like Robbie Williams or George Michael. But they're on a hiding to nothing there aren't they? It's that thing - everybody wants credibility. It's a pity. Kurt Cobain even mentioned that in his suicide note - wishing he could be that Freddie Mercury kind of entertainer and not have that serious tag. So I think that's a bad move on Queen's part. But the Take That reunion is a different matter. Gary Barlow must have a massive erection now. All that humiliating stuff he had to go through when Robbie became massive and his solo career totally stiffed - now he's getting his own back. 'Rudebox' is in the remainder box, and their thing is flying high, so that must be very nice for them.


Andre Litvinenko is poisoned by persons unknown
The funniest - well not the funniest, but the most ridiculous - thing, was them saying 'He might have done it to himself.' Obviously yeah, if you're going to kill yourself, let's take a poison that takes three weeks to kill you, in a really horrible, slow, painful way. It's just pathetic that they even said that. It's like we mentioned way back in February, that thing of thinking: Oh maybe there is another agenda going on and let's give them the benefit of the doubt. This is the opposite of that; it's just so transparently brutal to go and track somebody down and flick poison on their yellowfin tuna or whatever. To say you admire it is the wrong thing, but the flagrance of it is pretty stunning. But sadly enough, I don't think there will be many more people speaking out. They're going to be keeping their gobs pretty tightly shut after that. So you have to begrudgingly admire the brutality of it. I think it's more honest in a way - it shows you the veneer of civilisation is very, very, very thin and is easily scraped away.


Life on Mars?
They're not sure are they? They think water might have burst through the side of a crater and then immediately evaporated, so I don't think anything's going to live in that. But have they got any operational buggies down there at the moment to check? They probably wouldn't be able to get over because the terrain's so enormous. [Excitedly, almost lasciviously] But wouldn't that be amazing to try? They may as well get 'em doing something rather than picking up lumps of rock. Have they never seen 'lncredible Journey'? If a dog, a cat and a mouse can do it, surely a multi-million-dollar probe with a camera on it can.

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