Happy birthday Damon Albarn! The longtime Blur frontman and serial collaborator turns 49 today. Here are 24 pieces of soulful wisdom collected from his 20-plus years of making music.
"Have I ever punched anyone in the band? Oh yeah, all of them! I used to punch Alex a lot. He used to say really annoying things deliberately. I almost think he liked being punched."
"In the sixties people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird, people take Prozac to make it normal."
"I've got people camping outside my place in Kensington. In sleeping bags. It's not that irritating, except we haven't got any curtains in the front room, so we can't walk round in the nude."
"The cartoon is a metaphor really for the fact that it's almost impossible in our celebrity obsessed culture to move around genres and sort of change your ideas, change your face, you know?"
"Trying to write music that's sensitive to 400 years ago takes a bit of madness, as it's such a long stretch of time."
"I enjoyed history at school. I'd always had a sense of pagan England."
"I'm not a monarchist. But I'm English. And I have an irrational emotion for my country."
"My mum thinks I'm ultra-conservative in the way I dress. Hippy parents just don't understand why you want to wear a shirt and smart shoes."
"I'm a mixed up person. I've got this real Essex man vibe...I can’t help it... I can’t stand the idea of being a sad lonely bed-sit poet... I'd rather be perceived as loud and arrogant ."
"There were reports in the papers of people breaking up their relationships, because one liked Oasis and the other one liked Blur...One woman left her husband because he put our CD in the microwave."
"I'm not really one of those people who believes that if you're a musician you can just leave that behind and start getting into politics." (On being asked by Oxfam to be their ambassador in Mali).
"I have to wear a new T-shirt every night. I throw them into the audience. One day I'm going to go around the world and reclaim all my T-shirts."
"The Gorillaz cartoons seem more real to me than the actual people on TV. Because at least you know that there’s some intelligence behind the cartoons, and there’s a lot of work that’s gone into it, so it can’t all be just a lie."
"There's always been a hip-hop element to my trousers."
"Even though I’m a Chelsea fan, there’s no getting round Ryan Giggs’ genius."
"My guaranteed way of sending myself into deep depression is to read music trade papers and watch MTV."
"Well, I made fun of the people in the government and then realized that even if we got rid of them, they were replaced by exactly the same guys."
"The British like sex to be a naughty thing. I think it`s because we have an asexual Queen."
"When I was a little kid, I always thought I was going to be a farmer, believe it or not. I was convinced, and that was all I wanted to be."
"I once owned up to flooding the toilets when it wasn’t me. I got the slipper from the teacher for it, too…I can’t remember whether it was for anyone in particular, or whether it was a random act of chivalry – or just play stupidity."
"It was quite a relief not to win the Mercury prize, because people are going to start getting fed up with us for winning everything. It’s good not to achieve every time and it’s important to remain some kind of underdog because there’s nothing worse than a big-head."
"The charts are like a street – like a cul-de-sac within a housing estate. You have nice neighbours and horrible ones. We want to be in Number 3 next to the newsagent."
"I couldn’t fit in with the lads at school. I was the weirdo. Post-stroke-gay. I always got called gay."
"I can't be bothered anymore about giving songs titles."