Interview with Future of the Left’s Andrew Falkous
America's left a deep impression on the British band—socially, politically, and superficially through celebrity culture.
You guys have a pretty Brit-centric viewpoint at times, but you yourself have been through America at least half a dozen times or so. At this point, is there anything that still especially amazes or confounds you about American culture?
AF: Well, I used to go out with an American girl. One thing that really interests me, not just about her and her friends, but about people I’ve known in America in general is: the thing which defines America to an outsider, is the idea that you can achieve anything you want to achieve. This is the most fantastic thing about American culture, but this is also the most poisonous thing. I have a friend who played bass in, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead—a guy called Jay—and he said something which probably represents the positive aspects and negative aspects of that mindset.
He said that when you’re young, you’re taught that you can have everything you want. You can be that rock star. You can be that sportsman, you can succeed in the business of your choice. But what he was really interested in, were people of his age, his peers, who it was becoming apparent to them that those things they’d been promised to them, that would be theirs, and all they had to do to work for it, they weren’t theirs. So I think, disappointment comes late to Americans; realization comes late to Americans.
“Whereas in Britain, part of our miserable, moaning culture means that we are, and maybe part of this is born of the class system- but maybe this is born of a natural, national propensity to just moan the fuck on about stuff-” Andrew Falkous
-we expect everything to fail… but one thing I will say about the States is that there is still a glamor to it, to somebody from Britain.
We’re still impressing somebody.
AF: The sense of an untapped territory, I wouldn’t go so far as a virgin territory—this hymen has been broken several times over, but there’s still a magic to it. At the end of the day, it’s more wonderful to a British band to play in a show in Madison [Wisconsin] than in Cheltenham in Britain.
Speaking of broken hymens-
Now there’s the beginning of something.
(Launches into a pointless digression about 9/11 related barroom graffiti) Sorry! Getting off track a little.
AF: Well, the best interviews are conversations, as opposed to, “What’s the future of Future of the Left?” So don’t worry about that.
A friend of mine visited England last year, and when I asked him what it was like, the first thing he said was, “Man, they’re even more obsessed with celebrities than the United States.”
AF: That’s probably true. You gotta bear in mind, it’s a small island. Everybody is on top of each other, literally and metaphorically, and there’s no escape. Even though we have hundreds of channels, we have like five terrestrial channels. And a Russell Brand is a big star and, uh—
AF: Inescapably so, yes. There’s more of an option to be exposed to a greater range of twats over here. Whereas we really have no escape. I mean I don’t have an escape, because I simply don’t watch these programs. But we are prisoners in a sense, of even a man who dresses like some kind of a gymnastic pirate.