The adage ‘never meet your heroes’ is an impossibility when you’re a journalist. And fortunately, no one has disappointed – there have been no hissy fits or blood-out-of-a-stoners. But when the opportunity to interview *girl crush alert* Alison Goldfrapp for Metro Herald came up in 2010 – albeit over the phone – I was conflicted. For, not only had she soundtracked a decade of my loves and losses (oh, my heart!) she had been described as ‘grumpy’ and ‘frosty’ by an admittedly antagonistic journo for the Telegraph just months earlier.
I was so nervous I couldn’t eat that morning. I then skipped lunch while waiting for The Call. So, rather than ignore the elephant in the room that was my reverence, after the initial pleasantries I ingratiated myself by telling her how much of a fan I was and so “pardon me if I start fawning…” “Oh dear…” she replied, my heart momentarily breaking – before she let out a hearty laugh. Ice. Broken.
Fortunately, while being perfectly pleasant, Alison didn’t shatter any illusions either by being too… well, normal. Because, whether, she’s channelling a Weimar milkmaid (Felt Mountain), disco dominatrix (Supermature), circus waif (Seventh Tree) or a Xanadu vampire (Head First), you want her to be like a figment of your imagination, an ephemera. For me, Goldfrapp’s songbook succeeds in being esoteric yet cohesive at the same time; current album Tales of Us frustrated some for being too intangible, but I just love its elusive, somnambular hex of longing and menace. A Goldfrapp trademark if ever there was one.
Which makes tomorrow night’s [March 4] only-in-cinemas, one-off screening of the film Tales of Us particularly potent. Simultaneously screened in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Vienna, each piece was inspired by five of the album’s songs – Stranger, Laurel, Jo, Drew and Annabel – it shimmers (and shivers) with quintessentially Goldfrappian motifs: forests, sequins and blusterous hair. The album alone took two years to put together; that this companion piece was written, directed and co-produced by Alison’s girlfriend Lisa Gunning makes it a real labour of love. After the quintet of short films will be an exclusive performance from Goldfrapp beamed live from London’s Air Studios. Who knows what guise Alison will be in on the night, but rest assured she’ll conjure both fire and ice…
By Lucy White