And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week

Beef Of The Week #407: Damon Albarn v Michael Gove

By | Published on Friday 8 June 2018

Damon Albarn

With a new Gorillaz album on the horizon, Damon Albarn is back on the media circuit telling stories from his long and eventful career. Like the one about the time he didn’t work with Prince, and the one about that time he shouted at Michael Gove in the street.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not really one for shouting at people in the street. I like to maintain a low profile. Still, if I saw Michael Gove just walking around out and about like that was all OK, I’d probably be unable to fight the urge to shout something at him.

And, if I am being honest, I suspect that whatever words fell out of my mouth in that moment would probably be as weak and uninspired as “Gove, you’re a xenophobe!” Those being the words that dribbled out of Albarn’s mouth when he spied the rubbery politician while out jogging one day.

Recalling the anecdote for the Times, Albarn said: “I called over, ‘Gove, you’re a xenophobe!’ Now, I had no real qualification for saying that, but he came over, which showed he had some steel. I wasn’t expecting that. I thought he’d run off”.

I thought it was Damon who was out running. Whatever. I’d imagine Gove is quite used to being shouted at, if Albarn’s actual actions and my assumed ones are anything to go by. And he’s probably learned over time that walking head on at detractors will put the wind right up em.

Now forced to come up with some slightly more substantial words, Albarn said: “I told him the EU had nothing to do with the dark agenda of the referendum, which was the last gasp of a naive aspect of English culture that presumes our way of life is superior”.

He rambled on: “I was proud of the progressive nature of the country and so was disappointed. Anyway, that is what I said, and he admitted – but if this got relayed to him, he’d deny it – that he could have done things better”.

Asked if Gove realised he was talking to a celeb, rather than just a sweaty man, Albarn replied: “No, I don’t think he did, actually”.

Of course, Gove was immediately asked on Twitter to comment on all of this, and not being the sort to run away he did. “I remember it well”, he replied. “Enjoyed the chat – and wish Damon well for the future”.

That certainly has the tone of someone who doesn’t have any recollection of this conversation ever happening or any awareness of who Damon Albarn is. He also failed to reference Albarn’s allegation that he’d probably deny the incident, suggesting he didn’t actually read the interview excerpt either.

But I guess Gove would never want to have too much information to process about real world events. Doing so would put him at risk of becoming an expert.