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arco
an interview with Chris Healey by LD Beghtol

Please describe your first significant aesthetic experience; ie. being aware of or appreciating color, sound or taste, etc. or some other early sensory-based experience of note.
I remember being appalled by the sound of my teacher's guitar playing.

Have you ever tried to recreate that experience in your life?
I've recreated it many times, sadly. But not deliberately.

Do you remember your dreams? If so, please describe a recent one or one from the past that's stayed with you or that was important in some way.
I was in a posh academic college, playing an enormous piano - the Philip Larkin memorial piano - which I was not allowed to touch. An old guy came in and made me stop. As for the one set in a well-known serial killer's house, where forensics were using golf clubs, fireballs and bras in some bizarre testing procedure... fortunately I don't view dreams as significant - the signal-to-noise ratio is too low and there's just too much unconnected junk flying about.

Which is more important: sincerity or plausibility?
Sincerity's always important. It's just often a bit of a pain.

Art or truth?
Truth. But I'd include in "truth" art which has truth at its core.

Reality or imagination?
Why choose?

Finish this sentence, please: "people are ..."
... usually capable of much more than they realise.

Do people ask you if your songs are autobiographical? if they were, would you admit it?
No remotely tactful person has ever asked me about them.

If you could live anywhere in the world - at any time in the past, present or future - when and where would it be?
Shortly after the fall of capitalism, during the honeymoon period of community-based global thinking, before it all turns horribly sour again.

Who'd be with you?
Lots of people who haven't been born yet, i guess.

What's your favorite indulgence?
Cricket, perhaps? Hard to explain to a casual observer, but there's something fantastic about immersing yourself completely in a physical and mental endeavour for hours at a time. You've got strategy, skill, speed, art, fear, and team spirit all in one dumb, pointless little game. I love it.

Whose voice do you admire? Detest? Envy?
I love Nick Drake's effortless beauty. Hate people who don't sound like they're being themselves. I mean, Tom Waits? Am I supposed to believe that? But I'll make an exception for Mark Hollis.

Your voice is delicate, high and androgynous - do you ever get mistaken for a woman because of that? On the phone or on record, for instance. If so, does it bother you?
All the time. And no - it's quite funny, usually.

"the only thing to fear is ... "
Death, disease, bereavement, heartbreak, fear, loneliness. And spiders.

What does contemporary music lack?
If you mean chart music, a non-financial motive for existing... it's great that there's so much coming from so many different directions; but quite a lot of it seems to lack a central idea, or feels like it just came about as a result of the process of recording. I like to get the feeling someone knew what they wanted to communicate before they hit RECORD.

What's the best song you've heard so far this year? The best lyric?
Love that Sigur Ros epic, Svefn-g-englar. Can't think of a lyric that's grabbed me recently.

The worst?
I heard the Manic Street Preachers' If You Tolerate This... on the radio today, which must be the worst song of the 20th century.

Which would be easier for you to give up: your sight or your hearing?
Hearing - couldn't live without cricket.

You've been described as a bit of a perfectionist. how has that manifested itself in your life? Your music?
I guess I'm an anally retentive, stupid, fucked-up control freak. In a nice way though. Musically, it means me and Dave get to argue a bit more than is really good for either of us, and nick gets to be frustrated at how long it all takes. So... very helpful, really.

Do you ever just let things slide? If not, do you wish you could?
Yeah, of course. I'm only a bit of a perfectionist.

If you weren't a musician, what would you be?
Wish I'd been a researcher in artificial intelligence.

What crime would you be most likely to commit?
Road rage. Just brings out the worst in me. I mean, what is that wanker doing?

Have you ever been arrested? In jail? Was there ever a time when you should have been and weren't?
If the intonation police had been at our first gig... otherwise, no. Oh, hang on, there was that drive-by...

What's your favourite expletive or swear word?
Pretty much all of them. Each has its moment.

Favorite drink - alcoholic or otherwise?
A big, heavy Rhone red, please. Thanks. no, leave the bottle.

Are you ever jealous of your twin?
Am not and could never be.

"it's true what they say about ... "
... aphorisms being worthless generalisations.

Sartre said "hell is other people." One of nancy mitford's fictional characters said "hell is abroad." What's your idea of hell?
Having nothing left to say to the people in your life.

CWAS #6 - Autumn 2000

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