Arts & Entertainment
Photo: Warner Bros. Records
Lily Allen Q&A On Her 'Fag Hag' Epiphany, UK Journalists & Writing Women Off As 'Bitches'
'I Want To Feel Different From The Idiots'
By Chris Azzopardi
Originally printed 5/20/2014 (Issue 2220 - Between The Lines News)
Rebellious and fearless, Lily Allen has slayed some egos in her time. But with Allen's recently released third album, "Sheezus," the tabloid target is experiencing the contentment of marriage and motherhood.
Don't think the Londoner's gone soft, however.
Allen doesn't hold back when telling you that UK journalists are lowbrow, why the music business is a mess, and how "I'm here for the people who like me, not for the people who don't." When she talks to you about her vagina, it's like she's promoting a new horror movie. And though she won't plainly hate on her pop peers, she will drop a comment caustic enough to suggest that Lily Allen, for all her attempts at curbing her bitterness, still has no problem being a bad bitch.
What differences do you notice between talking to U.S. and UK journalists?
Uhh, it's actually more pleasurable here (in the U.S.). I find that it's slightly more intellectual in the line of questioning. In England it's very ... it's very obvious what they're trying to do.
Trying to get you to say something controversial?
You've always been a hot commodity for that. How do you deal with all the media scrutiny?
I mean, I choose to be here. I made my bed and I should lie in it.
Why do you think people are so hard on you?
Because no one else says shit, so that's why. I don't mean they're all hard on me, but no one else gives them anything.
A B-side of yours, "Fag Hag," attracted a lot of attention from the gay community, for obvious reasons. At what point in your life did you realize you'd become a fag hag?
My husband once turned around and went, "How come all of your friends are gay?" And I was like, "They're not! What are you talking about?" He was like, "Yes, they are." Then I looked around and I was like, "Oh, actually you're right - they are." (Laughs)
I imagine you had gay friends even before you were famous.
What's the connection between you and the gay community?
I don't know if I'm the one who can say what it is. I can't speak for gay men. I just know that I love my gays. I've just always had gay friends, and I can't remember when I haven't. My mom always had gay friends as well. There have just always been a lot of gays everywhere! (Laughs)
How much have gay people inspired your act and your music?
Most of my glam squad back in the UK are all gay men, so when things like (my recent performance at) G-A-Y come up they all start hyperventilating with their drag show ideas ... and then, you know, the Beyonce wigs come out.
On "Fuck You," a single from your last album, "It's Not Me, It's You," you've even gone as far as to make statements regarding homophobia. Why is it important to take a stand on issues like homophobia?
Because talking about any kind of oppression is important if you have a voice and a platform on which to speak. If people are listening, I think it's your responsibility to talk about those things.
Have you ever felt oppressed or like an outsider?
Yeah, since I was a kid. I think that's just more of a personality trait in me, but I think we all feel like that. I wouldn't want to feel any other way. I want to feel different from the idiots. (Laughs)
When you're doing Beyonce drag, the gays know you're doing Beyonce drag. But, as you've acknowledged, some people miss the point and use a performance like that as ammunition to stir drama. Do gay people get you better than the average person?
I'm just glad that someone gets it! (Laughs) (That performance) was directed at you guys; it wasn't really for anybody else. I didn't do a show for YouTube. I did a show for my homosexual audience at G-A-Y.
What are some common misconceptions people have of you?
If I speak about them, it makes me sound like I'm ranting about things. I'm very happy. I'm happy to be here and I wouldn't want anyone to think that I was complaining, because I'm not. I'm happy with myself and I'm very lucky to be here.
Some people don't think you seem so happy, based on "Sheezus." Critics have said they think you're disdainful toward fame and pop music. What do you make of those accusations?
I try not to read it. It's like having an argument with your little brother or your little sister - they know where to get me. People really do just get it wrong and I get the wrong end of the stick. That's when it really upsets me, because I feel like I can't even respond. But, actually, more often than not they have an agenda in the first place. If I respond, it just gives them more ammunition to go deeper and go farther with it, so I just let it lie and just hope that the people who do get me, get me and the people who don't get bored and move on to something else. I'm here for the people who like me, not for the people who don't.
Have you ever wished you weren't famous?
Sure, there are tiny moments where I might wish that, but I have an amazing life, a beautiful house, a beautiful husband and beautiful children. I've had a lot of those things happen to me because they're my circumstances, they're my work, so I can be nothing but thankful.
Why is it that women get pitted against each other, but men don't?
It's easier to make women look stupid if you write them off as being bitches that hate each other. It's a story, isn't it? And it's a believable story! But it's not the case, really, in pop music. I don't think so, anyway.
What do you think of the state of pop music right now?
I think it's amazing. The best it's ever been.
You're full of it.
(Laughs) What do you think? What do you think of the state of the pop music industry? What are your thoughts on it?
Nobody cares what I think. I'm not Lily Allen.
I care what you think. You think it's good?
I think, for me, no era in music will measure up to the '90s.
I think it's difficult. It's hard because essentially a lot of big pop stars bought into record deals when the record industry was working a little bit better and were a bit taken, too, by the people who run the record labels. Really, that is the case. If we were houses we would take mortgages out against ourselves ... we've gotta pay off those mortgages! (Laughs)
It's not fair to blame it all on the artist, and it's equally unfair to blame it on the labels. I just think it's a really difficult time in music and people are adjusting. I hope that things get to a better place quick.
What do you think your female contemporaries think of you?
It's not something I really think about, to be honest.
But the title track on "Sheezus" name drops just about every current female pop artist.
Well, I guess maybe that would insinuate how much I care.
You've said that you're giving up on drinking and drugs. When you look back at those hard partying days, what's been the wildest night of your life?
If I could remember, it wouldn't have been that wild.
Is "Our Time" meant to be a gay anthem?
Yeah, elements of it - "dressing up like we're queens of the night," for sure. There are definitely elements of anthemic behavior going on.
Was kissing yourself in the video for that song the most lesbian thing you've done since making out with those girl twins in San Diego?
(Laughs) I can't believe you even know that! That's hilarious. But no - that has been my most lesbian experience still to date and will probably stay that way if I live up to my wedding vows ... which I do plan to do, by the way.
Your baggy vagina, noted in your "Hard Out Here" video, has gotten a lot of press lately. Are you happy with your body?
Yeah, I am very happy with my body at the moment.
Now that you've opened up the dialogue regarding baggy vaginas, how often do girls wanna tell you about theirs?
Do people come up and tell me about their baggy pussies? Never. (Asking the people around her) "Hey, how's your bloody, baggy pussy? Yup, good? Lovely, lovely."
Did you say "bloody"? Too far, Lily. Too far.
(Laughs) I know that's not what you wanted to hear. As a gay man, "bloody, baggy pussy" is really not hot.
I'll let you go because I know other people wanna talk to you too.
But one last question: When's the last time you thought, "It's hard out here for a bitch"?
It's hard out here for a bitch when you can't find the bathroom.Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website at http://www.chris-azzopardi.com.