Crawley existentialist and painted peacock Robert Smith has returned
to muse on the significance of arcade
games, greatest hits and love. Sarah Bailey gets to level one.
The news that you are to interview Robert Smith in an amusement arcade
is accompanied by a vision of gothic
terribleness: a bloody-lipped drama queen making a scene on the dodgems, the inevitable retinue of wan French
teenagers taking the opportunity to chuck themselves under the wheels, panstick everywhere...
Then the taxi rolls up. A big, shy-looking bloke in apricot lipstick
falls out and announces that as he went to bed at
6am, has a dog of a hangover and is about to make a tit of himself on a virtual jet ski for the sake of promoting the
Cure's new compilation album, he needs a pint.
You breathe a sigh of relief. "As each year goes by, I get happier.
It's weird. I thought I'd be incredibly depressed
by this stage in life," he muses, between sips of beer. He's in love with his wife Mary. "Not in a Disney way, but in
a comforting way. We've been together 20 years, longer than the group." He blushes into his beer glass. "God, I'm
A rum and coke later, Smith is finally shoe-horned out of the pub
and into the Pepsi Trocadero Funland at Piccadilly
Circus. Smith is crap at all the games. "It wasn't until I got half way through that I realized it wasn't a racetrack, it
was a two-way street. I used to be very sporty, hard to believe I know. I think when I retire in a couple of years I
might take up sport again."
Retire? Sport? Oh yes, it seems for some years now Smith has been
planning the Cure's millennial meltdown.
Date: April 1999 to coincide with his 40th birthday. Hey, what the hell. As the current release, Galore - The
Singles 1987-1997, only reminds us, he's been a cuddly pop gonk for nigh on twenty years now.
In the future he'd prefer to score music for films. "Something where
I don't have to be so much of a personality
and answer questions about which hair gel I use."
There will be two more albums. "I want to make a greatest hits album
before I leave the label, so I don't have to
fight about it afterwards."
So when did Mr. Happy last cry? "Three nights ago. I was looking
through my telescope at the stars. I'd listened to
the first two Thin Lizzy albums and I just started crying, but in a good way. It showed me that I still like the same
things. In some ways I've changed dramatically and in some ways I've stayed exactly the same as when I was 15 -