So last week I did a Q and I in the new statesman. I think I mentioned it in a previous blog. But this week my friend Mark Attwood sends me this incredible picture, but first the Q and A in full
Does art make a difference?
The question is answered in religion, which has spread because of art in the texts and places of worship. But for me art doesn’t carry the message – it is the message.
Should politics and art mix?
Whether they should or not is a matter of neither choice nor principle. Some would say politics is in everything. I would say art is everything.
Does money corrupt an artist?
No. An artist corrupts and redeems him or herself on a minute-by-minute basis. But as Obama might say, “Yes, it could.”
Is your work for the many or the few?
My name is an anagram of “many is less” or “less is many”. Bugger!
Is good art a product of inspiration or perspiration?
Has a word been invented which combines the two? If so, there is the answer.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
At 18 years old I had my own business cleaning gutters in Lancashire: Aswad gutter-cleaning service. I had a bucket, a trowel, a rag, a pair of ladders and a leaflet with a poem for advertisement. It worked. While I was cleaning a gutter of its leaves and slime often the neighbours would see me and employ me. I still think it could be as popular as window cleaning.
What inspires you?
The Southbank Centre artists-in-residence, among whom are Rafael Bonachela (dance), Shlomo (beatbox), Gauri (Kathak dance) and Bellowhead (music).
If you were world leader, what would be your first law?
That all people may live anywhere at any time without passport, visa or identity card: to reveal who we really are.
Who would be your top advisers?
Reprieve; Jude Kelly, artistic director of the Southbank Centre; Trevor Phillips; Baroness (Lola) Young; the comedian Simon Munnery; Henry Normal, head of Baby Cow Productions; the comedian Stephen K Amos; my friend who runs a skip hire company; the entrepreneur Mark Atwood; Bishop Desmond Tutu; Marcus Brigstocke; and the gummy bears from Avenue Q.
What would you censor?
Anyone who says, “I’m not racist, but . . .”
What are the rules you live by?
Either the two rules: 1) I’m shit and 2) No, I am not, or the one rule: life is not worth living if there is no one you would die for.
What couldn’t you live without?
I couldn’t live without having found my birth family. Now I am not sure I can live with them. I have a fully dysfunctional family now, just like everyone else.
Do you love your country?
Yes, I do and I wish we all did (those who have lived here for generations and those more recent arrivals), but we need to answer the question why and unify around the answer. It’s one of the reasons for a constitution.
Are we all doomed?
Not a chance. Depression may creep into us through winter, but spring is on its way and sunshine is about to break out.
Post this article to