Róisín Murphy: ‘I think our culture is too hedonistic’

I used to ask my dad if I could marry him. He was my hero. My first memory is being devastated that he had to go to work, I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t stay at home with me. He wasn’t perfect. He made a mess of things in some ways. But he remained iconic to me, and showed me how to appreciate life. He made friends with everyone.

Dad died a few years ago and I was surprised. He once saved a monk falling down an escalator at Heathrow airport and they all blessed him afterwards. I thought it was impossible for him to die.

I always loved adults more than other kids. I grew up in a tribe of incredibly flawed people. People who made mistakes. But I could always see that they were amazing, too. I was patient with adults in a way that I wasn’t with other children, I think because I always had an interest in adult things.

My upbringing was cultured and exciting. I was surrounded by poetry and books and live music. One day, Dad came home with the cockpit of a Second World War bomber. It stayed in the living room for ages. That was my life growing up.

I’ve got a temper. I’m Irish. But it comes out much less than it used to. I guess that’s growing up. I’ve done therapy, it wasn’t great, it felt like a waste of time. I’m very good at talking people round to my side of things. The last therapist I had agreed with me too much. I put on a good show. I’m a performer.

I think our culture is too hedonistic. People really party now, it’s not like it was in the 90s, going out once in a while. The dance scene in the 80s and 90s was so wonderful, but I always thought that pure hedonism was a dead end. I was never interested in that. I was interested in adventure.

I mourn the passing of that time I knew. No phones, genuine freedom, actual connection with other people.

My biggest fear is losing my memory. Losing memories of the culture I grew up in. Losing history. I’m always trying to capture memories, to remember them. The fear is in me that I won’t be able to find them, I won’t remember these things any more.

The last time I cried was at Christmas. I was sick and coughing in the middle of the night and it wouldn’t go away. I didn’t have cancer, though, just a chest infection. I’m a bit of a hypochondriac. It’s a guilt thing. I think to myself, “You can’t be having this much fun and not pay some kind of price for it.”

I love Grace Jones, but I was petrified of meeting her. A few years back a friend and I went to see her in Florence. She’s one of my biggest influences and she was brilliant that night. We ended up back at the hotel she was staying in because we knew the gig promoter. She walked in, took one look at us, turned to her people, and said, “Get these people out of here.”

I like getting older. I hesitate to call it wisdom, because you can think you’re wise and then very quickly life can remind you that you’re not. But I’m proud of what I’ve done as an artist.

Hit Parade Remixes by Róisín Murphy is out now. Róisín plays London’s Love Motion festival on 26 July

The Guardian

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