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IMAGINE this scene: a Slightly Eccentric International Pop Star is on the phone chatting to a Journalist in Scotland when suddenly and inexplicably he falls silent.
SlilPS: (almost inaudibly) ‘There‘s someone weird at my door.‘
J: (alter a pause) 'Aren‘t you going to see who it is‘."
SHIPS: (whispers) ‘I don‘t know. It‘s a bloke I don‘t know. I get really paranoid about people coming to the door. Hold on a sec.‘
SlilPS answers door and has normal-soumling conversation.
SlilPS: (returning to phone) 'lt was a taxi driver coming to pick up some lithographs from me. I was getting really scared because he looked smart and he had shades on. I thought he might he coming to hump me off. to open fire through the letterbox.‘
Coming from anyone else. this dizzy paranoia could be construed as an ego left to go wandering indiscriminately. but from Graham Coxon — Blur‘s scruffin enigmatic guitarist who was once voted rock‘s coolest individual by Melody Maker — it is rather endearing. Although a fiercely talented guitarist and damn good backing vocalist. he has never been one to get a kick out of axe hero histrionics. However. the reluctant star must now prepare himself for a further segment of the limelight.
After much debate in the Blur camp as to how to follow up the epic "l‘ender‘. they have finally. sensibly. opted for the best song on the album. Thing is. “Coffee & 'l‘V' has Coxon on disarming lead vocal duties as well as his more habitual role as sleeve designer.
"l‘he song — well. the first version — is about Camden.‘ Coxon reveals. 'The second version is about England being a place where you can get beaten up and abused for wearing the wrong coloured T—shirt and stuff like that.‘
Social ineptitude is also addressed — a subject which (‘oxon finds applicable to himself from time to time.
‘Sometimes [just wish I lived in a little shed in the middle of a field and just painted and ljust had a minidisc player with a microphone and recorded songs.‘ he says. ‘\\'e‘ve been doing this for ten years. It‘s like a bottomless hole and we keep throwing ourselves down it. After ten years of that bullshit. sometimes you‘ve got to try and think why you‘re on the planet — see if you‘re capable of a good relationship. see
‘Sometimes I just wish I lived in a little shed in the middle of a field.’
if you‘re not a complete freak who‘s used to being chauffeur-driven around and flying first class and being a spoilt little tosser. and actually deal with the real world. So I am trying to be a stable. positive young person . . . well. not so young.‘
Coxon turned 30 earlier this year. How was it for him‘.’
’I did have a freakout for about two weeks.‘ he admits. ‘I got very upset about it and drank too much. But now I‘ve given up drinking again and I feel a bit better. It‘s very easy to carry on being on tour when you get home which is why. after our last jaunt to America and Canada. I cut out all the parts of my brain that wanted to party.‘
Taking time out from Blur has also been beneficial to the individual members. h’lammoth tours are off the agenda. solo projects are on. Damon Albarn acted in Brit gangster flick I’uee. Dave Rowntree got his pilot‘s license. Alex James formed Fat Les with Keith Allen and Damien Hirst and recorded England‘s alternative World Cup song 'Vindaloo‘. And Coxon released a sparse. angsty solo album The Sky Is Too High.
'We all have some twisted respect for what we‘ve all done.‘ he says. ‘I think Damon‘s work on the soundtrack for Rave/mus is really amazing. He got over his Ray Davies infatuation. thank God. I think he liked a couple of songs on my record. I suppose we have some admiration for Alex‘s . . . project. And Dave‘sjust plugging away doing crazy stuff with computers. He came round the other day and taught me how to back up all my systems.‘
Sounds like everything‘s groovy in Blur towers.
Blur headline the Main Stage at Tin the Park on Sat 10 Jul. 'Coffee 8: TV' is released on Mon 5 Jul.
he Park 5