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A Quietus Interview

A Long Term Effect: Tim Pope On Four Decades Of Work With The Cure
Ned Raggett , July 8th, 2019 06:47

Our man in San Francisco Ned Raggett chats with Pope about his forthcoming Cure concert film Anniversary as well as more unusual anecdotes about his many music videos for them than you can shake a stick at. Or is that a sock?


Why Can't I Be You?

"We shot this in an Irish studio just outside Dublin. It was wonderful: for the first ten minutes, there was this fantastic Irish choreographer and she was counting them in going in, "One, and two, and three, and four." And so for the first ten minutes all of them, and Simon in particular who'd had a pint of beer and a cigarette, were being quite cocky about it. Cut to them ten minutes later, and in their minds, they were serious dancers. I have never laughed so much. I almost bit my tongue off. I literally - and it's not a thing I'm proud of - pissed myself. Just seeing them dancing was absolutely hilarious. So I love that video because of that. "I think [Lol Tolhurst's blackface] was a very inappropriate choice. That is now a given. I guess that was probably, a reference to The Black And White Minstrel Show [note: a now extremely notorious 1958 to 1978 BBC light entertainment show]. Quite shocking in the more enlightened times we live in. And how insidiously bad was that idea? It's not a thing I feel great about retrospectively. On Lol's part, I think it probably came from a sort of more thoughtless place. I remember the band members were endlessly coming out in different costumes. I didn't specifically know what the costumes would be.. he said, rubbing the problem away from himself. And I just remember Lol appearing like that and we filmed it. We shouldn't have done it. That was inappropriate and wrong. It was not good. It was very interesting, reading [Tolhurst's autobiography Cured, which delves in depth into his struggles with addiction]. I'm tremendously fond of Lol, and I saw him when he got back with the band about seven years ago; I hadn't seen the guy for 20 years before that. I know I was very upset to read the story. Lol, because of his musical relationship with the band, became a bit of a scapegoat for them. You're talking about 'Why Can't I Be You?' - he was strapped inside a Humpty Dumpty outfit, I reckon you could have photographed it from space, strapped to his chest, as the band danced on his feet and pushed him around. They were not such proud times there. And when I read Lol's book and read the bit after he lost the court case where he fought for the name and lost a lot of money. I remember a funny thing with Robert on the day: even though he won the case, he wasn't happy about it. He knew that his old friend had been advised by people that he should do this. Why? Because lawyers made money. And the judge turned to Lol on the day and said, "You don't actually know why you're here, Mr. Tolhurst, do you?" Lol is a very sweet man, a very lovely man, and I think it was a very hurtful time. I was very pleased to hear that Robert and him became friends again."