Martin Gordon has had a long, illustrious career in rock and roll, stretching back to his contribution to Sparks’ finest moment, their 1974 album, Kimono My House. Since then, he has recorded and performed with the memorable “glam super group” Jet and its successor, Radio Stars; has done studio work for Blur and Kylie Minogue (among many illustrious others); and has released a string of wildly inventive solo albums, including his latest, Time Gentlemen Please.
Mr. Gordon recently and kindly responded to a series of my insipid questions.
Time Gentlemen Please is billed as the fifth and final installment of the Mammal Trilogy. Does a continuation of the trilogy depend more on the future songs you’re inspired to write or whether humanity holds on long enough for you to write them?
Are you suggesting that there is a causal factor at work? That if I was to stop documenting human folly, it would suddenly cease to be? My life already, I should be so lucky. I think you overestimate the power of my observations. Did the trend for exploding clothing expire merely because I documented the sad tale of the No-Good Shoe Bomber (Richard Reid, for those who are snoozing at the back) on The Baboon in the Basement? No, it didn’t which is why his mantle has been assumed by the so-called Stained Underpants Bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. You see? Now if only HE had bent his ear towards my dialectic, perhaps the world would be a safer place. Or perhaps not, but at least I would have sold one more copy of the album, and for this failure I will hold him eternally guilty. There is no limit to human folly.
Many of the songs on Time Gentlemen Please are “torn from today’s headlines.” Did the ludicrous stories you encountered in the news inspire the prevalent theme of human folly, or, did you have an eye out for material that would fit the theme?
Oooh, here we go again, what is it with you and human folly? I see my role merely as one who documents the events, who scribbles while the Last Days take shape around us/me. It is impossible to avoid moral tales of this nature; I don’t seek out the ephemeral, this is mainstream, this is real life (in so far as far as such a thing exists within the boundaries of popular culture). When these narratives emerge, I think that we should take note. And I do, on behalf of humanity. Well, some of them.
As far as my last album is concerned, themes that are touched upon include obesity, identity theft, religious fundamentalism, gender stereotyping, millenarianism, ethnocentricity, the cult of celebrity, popularism and cheap flights. As these universal problems currently beset the human condition (I use the term “human” lightly and inclusively, against my better judgment), they are hard to avoid, especially fat people.