Pretty much as soon as Lily Allen appeared on the music scene she has been tabloid fodder. But the last few years have been harder than most. Her marriage disintegrated in a pretty spectacular fashion. But what’s interesting is how she dealt with it. So, she’s written an album and a book that are both incredibly raw. Like, she writes about the time she slept with female prostitutes on tour to deal with loneliness. And, so we’re here, at the Enmore theatre just before Lily takes the stage to ask why? what is is about this stage in her career that means she’s ready to share that kind of stuff? – Hi, Lilly, how are ya?
– Good, how are you? – Nice to meet you
– Nice to meet you – By the way, I’m Marc
– Nice to meet you Thanks so much for talking to us. You were one of these people who, you were written about so much when you were younger. I’m wondering, what does it do to a person to have a constant running commentary? Particularly when you were younger. Um, I think it’s interesting actually. And I think it was quite unique and a bit lonely for me. Because it was internet commentary. I guess in times past, you know, Blur and Oasis days and whatever It was kind of like, there was one kind of noise and you could put it away. People would say that thing of, you know, “Don’t read your own press.” But thats impossible when you’re a modern artist. It’s just like, well, how am I going to promote myself? Without seeing the stuff that comes back? Lily Allen – ‘Lost My Mind’ So it feels like the first era where you had to confront your public image, you know? It was quite negative. But also, you’re working out who you are at the same time? Yeah, or trying desperately. Yeah, and then you have people telling you who you are when you’re trying to figure it out for yourself is a real mindfuck. [Laughs] – You can swear on this show, it’s fine.
– Ok, great. The reason I bring it up, because the last thing you say in your book is that “I found my voice and I’m just trying to work out where the arc of that was? Like, where were the moments where you did feel like you found your voice? I think because the nature of the attention that I got was just quite, sort of, negative and like “Haha! We’ve got you”. And also physically, being followed by guys with cameras the whole time. So it feel like you were being sort of hunted a little bit. The way that I dealt with that would be that I would get drunk So that fed into it, you know, they’re harassing you to the point where you felt like you had to go get absolutely wasted in order to feel like you’re not under a microscope. Wham, bam, they get a picture of you falling out of a cab. And they cycle goes around. *car horn honks* Basically I figured out, when my marriage broke down and things were really bad that, actually if you just like tell everyone everything there is to know then they can’t come after you. And they can’t follow you anymore. – So, you own the story?
– Cause they’re not going to find anything more sensational ‘Cause you’re like “I was sleeping with prostitutes!” And da da da, you know it’s like yeah. So, there was no moment of like “How much do I give, how much is for me and my family?” If somebody asks you a question and it doesn’t feel like it’s being done for a sensational purpose then I’ll just answer it honestly What makes me annoyed is like sitting in an interview and it all just being like “Oh hi, everything’s really great and sorry I’m not going to talk about that.” That’s like the anxiety, for me, comes the bullshit. – The bullshit What’s the dumbest question you’ve ever been asked? Apart from that one I just asked then? [Both laugh] The other day I had an interviewer, this woman was kind of like leading me down a path of like, she wanted to talk about me getting clean And there was a point when it was that I got clean And it was sort of obvious she was going somewhere And it was like “Who was it that helped you get clean, Lily?” And I was like “No one, really” And she was like “Wasn’t it, you know, Chris Martin?” And I was like, I’m not gonna, I know what you’re doing. You want a sort of sensationalist quote about Chris Martin staging an intervention That annoys me. Lily Allen – ‘Trigger Bang’ I’ve heard you say that the thing that you’re most concerned about with your daughters is Instagram I was wondering if you could explain why you’re concerned about Instagram? Especially for women, it feels like a place where your value, and lets not beat around the bush, the goal of Instagram is to get the followers up and get the likes up, right? We agreed on that? Yeah, pretty much, that’s what I’m going for. So if that’s the case, the way to do that for women, really, if you look at the people that are performing the most are people who generally take quite a lot of their clothes off and lets be honest about that I don’t know how I feel about that when it comes to my children. People always say “Oh, you talk too much on Twitter” and it’s like It’s funny that you find it more damaging or annoying that I would be typing out some words and joining in a conversation. Yet, if I was posting to Instagram 17 times a day nice pretty pictures, no one would give a fuck. So, basically you just don’t like women making any noise, you just want to look at them. There was an incident where you were stalked for a period of time and you were quite vocal about the fact that you thought the police didn’t take it seriously For someone who’s never experienced that, what does it feel like to be the focal point of that negative attention? And then also feel ignored? Awful and scared. It’s a complete mindfuck, you know? We grow up thinking that there are going to be these institutions that are going to protect us. More often than not, they don’t work. Like, the Grenfell fire in London quite recently It’s like you call the fire brigade, they come and they rescue you. Government build housing for you that will keep you safe. Some of you get raped or abused or stalked and the police are going to come make sure everything is alright. It doesn’t work like that, you know? A lot of these institutions do not work like that for people. Emerging out of the other side do you have more hope for the future? Mmm, yeah I think people are talking more about these things than they were But action is what is needed not words. – Lily Allen, nice to meet you.
– Lovely to meet you.