Роберт Смит написал Killing an Arab под впечатлением от романа Альбера Камю «Посторонний». В песне, как и в романе, герой убивает араба не из-за расовой неприязни, а беспричинно, в результате кратковременного «экзистенциального» помешательства, стимулированного жарой. Публику мало интересовали такие тонкости, и она бурно негодовала. Поэтому в США сингл распространялся с антирасистской наклейкой, а сам Смит на концертах нередко заменял провокационную фразу на «Kissing an Arab» или «Killing Another».
Lullaby - Роберт Смит лежит в постели и постепенно зарастает паутиной — клип с таким волнующим сюжетом снял Тим Поуп, постоянный режиссер группы The Cure. Вместе они сделали два десятка клипов.
На концерте группы в Лос-Анджелесе в июле 1986 года 38-летний мужчина в ковбойской шляпе начал бить себя охотничьим ножом в грудь и живот прямо посреди концерта The Cure. Охрана задержала его и вызвала «скорую» — мужчина выжил, а в его машине была найдена предсмертная записка. Ковбоя недавно бросила девушка, и он решил привлечь ее внимание таким нетрадиционным способом.
[Саус Парк: Мега-Стрейзанд/ South Park - Mecha-Streisand (1 X 12)
В роли самого себя появился Роберт Смит (The Cure), которого выбрал Паркер, большой поклонник его музыки. Смит проговаривал свои реплики по телефону, Паркер использовал первый вариант каждой записанной фразы, несмотря на то, что Смит произносил их совершенно бесстрастным голосом.
Кайл говорит Смиту: «Disintegration – лучший альбом всех времен!», что отражает чувства Паркера по поводу этого альбома The Cure (1989). В интервью Роберт Смит отмечал, что эта фраза в Саус Парке – «счастливейший момент его жизни». - источник]
"I was vilified by a lot of the mainstream media - particularly online where there's a vested interest - who tried to turn it into like, ' Oh, I don't wanna give stuff away for free because I wanna make money out of it,' which is totally at odds with what we do because we often release stuff that's entirely for charity. We have no interest in making money out of everything we do, we never have.
My point is it devalues the art and I hold by it. To me it's worth something. I'm happy to pay for PJ Harvey's new album. And I think anyone should be because it brings me hours of entertainment and pleasure, so why should it be the one area of life where it's free? It doesn't make any sense to me."
Robert on fighting his "own personal battle, trying to keep what we do as something that's pure", with regard to branding and sponsorship:
"I am aware of how grotesquely out of touch I am, but I'm willfully out of touch with the modern world. It's very difficult for me to convince a younger generation that it's wrong to sell things, to use music for adverts. I realise I'm in a fading minority of people who find it objectionable. And that's just because I can remember songs that I loved being used to sell shit and I think it devalues it. It's horrible. I don't wanna think of a car when I listen to Jimi Hendrix or Nick Drake. I hate branding, I hate labels, it's all just shit - it's everything we rallied against when we were younger. And it hasn't made any difference. The corporate beast has won... but only for the moment. There are cracks appearing. There must be a generation raring to go that stick two fingers up at it all and says we don't want to be branded, and sold to in this way. It has to happen sooner rather than later."
"They keep showing the same images over and over, and it gives the impression it's happening everywhere, all the time. Perspective has been lost. Suddenly you've got these polls saying, 'Give the police live ammunition.' And I'm like, 'Hold on! It's not that bad, really'! It is a dream come true for Theresa May [a British Conservative politician, and the current UK Home Secretary] …It just paves the way for the police to be armed, curfews to be put in. It's like we're all sliding inexorably towards this fucking police state, populated with roaming gangs, like a 2000 AD comic."
[inequality broke Britain]:
"The top 1% is hundreds of times richer than the bottom 30, and it's got worse – it's got worse under Labour, and why is nothing being done about it? In the West, we see people being rewarded for doing nothing; they create nothing, it wouldn't matter if they died, but we see them being rewarded massive sums of money… even I get angry."
"But very few of them make it on to the final album. It has always seemed slightly uncomfortable, the idea of politicized musicians. Very few of them are clever enough to do it; if they're good at the political side, the music side suffers, and vice versa. As a character, a public persona, I'm not perceived in that way; I don't think I have the gravitas, the way I look, to pull it off."
I've never regretted not having children. My mindset in that regard has been constant. I objected to being born, and I refuse to impose life on someone else. Living, it's awful for me. I can't on one hand argue the futility of life and the pointlessness of existence and have a family. It doesn't sit comfortably.”
Robert Smith: "Narnia chronicles" by CS Lewis, a series of seven books for children, very famous in the UK. My father used to read them to send me to sleep when I was 4. CS Lewis is a SF author, even if he's very catholic. At that time, the mood was quite sharp between my father and my brother, in his teenage crisis. I adored running away in those tales, it was my only reassuring moment: I was just discovering the incredible power of literature, the one of consolation and evasion.
RF: As a teenager, who was the key author?
RS: Kafka, a lot. For the first time, the narrator's voice was mine. I was the narrator. I was blending myself in his words. I read and read again all of his books, "The Trial", "The Metamorphosis", "The Castle"... His influence on my texts is huge, as on "A letter to Elise" directly inspired by his "Letters to Felice".
RF: Then you studied French at Crawley college, where you discover authors who will leave their mark on The Cure, like Camus whom "The Stranger" directly influence your first single "Killing an Arab"?
RS: The theme of the absurd has always fascinated me. That ironically joined all those idiocies that have been said about this track. We never gave up to have to justify ourselves, and today it continues, with War in Iraq or the Middle East conflict. At the beginning in the UK, I used to sing "Killing an Englishman", the British press didn't understand. During concerts in the US after the first Gulf War, it was "Killing an American": the American press just massacred us. If I knew it before, I would have called it "Standing on the beach", it would have avoided many troubles.
RF: Let's go to the second album, "Seventeen Seconds", which musical intention was to unify Nick Drake and Bowie's "Low" sound. On the literary side, what happens then?
RS: Kafka again, as on "At night", inspired by the so called novel. But this record was mainly thought like a soundtrack. Composing for a movie is like an obsession. I've been proposed a lot but the themes didn't talk to me, like recently "Rules of Attraction" ("Six different ways" nevertheless appears on the soundtrack).
RF: This movie is an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis eponym novel.
RS (scowling): I don't know what to say about Bret Easton Ellis. I certainly took enough drugs not to have to read his books...
RF: Let's talk about a must character for The Cure: Charlotte, the heroin of Penelope Farmer's "Charlotte Sometimes" novel  that inspired the so called track.
RS: I was obsessed by "Charlotte Sometimes", this idea of temporal fall down, of duality, of personality trouble and the torture that follows. Charlotte, after my first night in boarder, wakes up, 40 years back and in another skin. This connects with the theme of twins, Penelope Farmer wrote a fascinating book about that (Two, or, the Book of Twins and Doubles: Autobiographical Anthology of Twins, 1996).
I've always dreamed of having a twin, somebody who you can't trick with, who would always be there, like a mirror. "Charlotte Sometimes" will be filmed next year. The theme of our single will be used for it and I'd love to compose the soundtrack. I have to meet the movie crew to talk about that.
RF: Another girl haunts your music: Fuschia, character of "Gormenghast trilogy" by Mervyn Peake, she inspires "The drowning man" and appears on live improvisations.
RS: Fuschia was my dream. This idea of infinite, of unreal, of dying innocence... At that time I was considering myself as her, as a victim. Now my fascination transmuted into anger. I want to shake her, to put her out of her contemplative passivity. But all of this is question of age. It's normal, as a teenager, to love this idea of being a victim, the whole world is against me, no one understands me, except my books. Lots of my reading connected with that. It's been after "Pornography" that I decided to change, after the no return point. This change has been radical, but it's been vital.
RF: You grew up in a very religious family. Did you read the Bible ?
RS: I always take a Bible while touring, it's useful to hit the others, better than a phonebook! During the Faith tour, I used to read some Bible passages each evening [smiling]. No, I never read the Bible, my parents never forced me to. But I read "The Nausea", it's far enough!
RF: Which literatures influence "Pornography"?
RS: A lot, I was very interested in psychoanalysis. But I would mention "The Lost Paradise" by John Milton (1667), pure poetry, fabulous, a must for an English grammar school pupil and very influencing on romantics writers. The style is strong, incredible. It strongly influenced "Pornography". The idea of being a victim was still there, but it was becoming unbearable. I had decided to struggle in front of a world I hated. It was Devil against God [smiling]. The fight was lost in advance, but I was acting, I was leaving melancholy: it was the final part of the fall, an ahead run away, a critical threshold.
RF: You saved yourself recording a pop singles series, among them "The Love Cats" that Tricky has just covered. He declares everywhere that you're a genius...
RS: I know [silence]. But I would have prefer he sent me a copy of his cover, I still haven't heard it. Anyway "The Love Cats" is far from being my favourite song: composed drunk, video filmed drunk, promotion made drunk. It was a joke.
RF: Let's come back to "Pornography". You're releasing a live DVD in which this LP is played in his entirety, with "Disintegration" and "Bloodflowers". Which idea brought to this trilogy?
RS: It's born from a regret: we didn't recorded a live video from the Dream Tour, which has been one of our best tours. It's the first time in a long time that I didn't think of splitting The Cure. We had played lots of dark songs, it's been very delightful and I wanted to immortalize that. The idea happened in 2001: Bowie on stage that started with the whole "Low". Fantastic: the idea of "Trilogy" was born.
RF: Two songs of "Kiss Me" ("If only tonight we could sleep" and "The Kiss" are played as an encore. Precisely, after "Kiss Me" in 1988, you announced you were working on a novel collection. What's up about that?
RS: Nothing. I was writing novels for my nieces and nephews. Some of them became songs like "To wish impossible things", "The last day of summer" or "Lovesong", a novel written for Mary [Smith's wife]. But at that time, I above all had to prove myself I could be an author. Singing in The Cure wasn't enough; I spent my time comparing my texts to my fave writers ones, it was terrifying. I was reassuring telling myself they didn't write songs, but it's quite frustrating to understand I would never reach their level, I would never touch the art of Jorge Luis Borges words.
RS: My father wanted me to. At the age of 3, every day, he was asking me to read newspapers, he was very strict with that. It's not a hazard if my brother and I made literary studies. I didn't, I would rather have been a football player.
The idea of writing books came later, with The Cure, and it remained very abstract: one day I will write a book. The writing of texts, on the other hand, turned into an obsession, especially at the time of "Wish": I could spend some weeks on a text and through everything and start again. And then, after the Wish Tour, for the first time, I looked back at my life and I considered that, finally, being the singer of The Cure was not that bad. Before that, it was a permanent frustration, unable to appreciate what I was doing, regretting what I would never do. But it's probably engraved in my character: if I had been a writer, I would have regretted not to be a singer.
RF: Your songs sometimes seem to be adaptations of texts like "How beautiful you are", very close to the Baudelaire's poem "The eyes of the poor".
RS: In a way, yes. Some texts, like this Baudelaire's poem, impressed me so much that I wanted to make a song of it. Their style, for me, already has a kind of musical rhythm. Singing "How beautiful you are" is like going into an oral tradition. I take more pleasure telling what I love in this Baudelaire's text than singing "Friday I'm in love".
RF: Another important author for you: J.D. Salinger, whose novel inspired "Bananafishbones".
RS: He's a character that I admire and that intrigues me also: isolating himself from the world, living as a recluse in a monastery, giving up writing and refusing any contact with the outside, it's fascinating.
Sometimes as I look back at myself as a teenager, reading Salinger, Rimbaud or Edgar Allen Poe, whom we didn't talk about but who wrote "The Raven", a masterpiece of modern poetry, it makes me want to laugh. But it would be a pathetic reaction, typical of a mocking father facing his child's first emotions. The amazement is too pure to be laughed at.
Authors for teenagers are considered as caricatures. But let's take Jean-Paul Sartre: his description of human condition stays unmatched, and I defy anyone to do better than "The Nausea".
RF: Conclusion: the last outstanding book?
RS: "The View From Nowhere" by Thomas Nagel [American philosopher] about subjectivity, a theme that rejoins my fascination for twins: being able to go out of myself, leaving my body to observe me.
- source: "Rock and Folk" - Robert Smith and his books
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