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V V Brown: The way I see it

Artists on politics
<em>The musician spells out her alternative career plans</em>

Does art make a difference?
Absolutely. Art is what makes life colourful.

Should politics and art mix?
Art and politics are essentially about the same things: people and society.

Does money corrupt an artist?
There is a beauty in art that comes from desperation and having no money. There is also beauty in people who create great things but who make no money from it. There is beauty in simplicity.

Is your work for the many or for the few?
I want everyone to like my music, a person in Hackney with skinny jeans or an old woman in Devon with a cat. I want to attract all ages, all races and all genders. Pretentious music isn’t as truthful as the
kind that brings people together.

Which artist do you most admire?
Grace Jones. I also really admire the Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto: he makes simple music and understands the beauty of space.

Which artist do you least admire?
I could like anything, given the right context; Mr Blobby is probably fantastic when you’re drunk.

What product would you advertise?
Vintage organs, because they are so rare and cool and I collect them. Nothing else.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
I’d like to be a political journalist. Or a professional masseuse. Perhaps I may even have been a lollipop lady!

If you were world leader, what would be your first law?
I would eliminate money as currency. Instead, there would be a currency of skills. So, for example, if you wanted a Ferrari you’d say to the car dealer: “I will play at your wedding with my musical skills rather than paying money.” What if you didn’t have any skills? You’d be motivated to learn them . . . it’s called the “Brown regime”.

Who would be your top advisers?
Barack Obama would be vice-president, due to his massive intelligence and people skills. Damon Albarn would be head of arts and education. Albarn is a genius; he’s very entrepreneurial and probably a great creative teacher as well.

What would you censor?
I’d censor the amount of aggression and violence in children’s television. Kids are like sponges and they’re being desensitised.

Who would you banish?
No one should be banished.

What are the rules that you live by?
To love, to find dignity in a situation, to follow your instincts, and to give.

What would you like your legacy to be?
I’d like to be remembered for having credibility, being fun, making great music and having good entrepreneurial skills.

Do you love your country?
I spent two years in LA and it made me appreciate Britain way more. LA is soulless, fake and fame-hungry – geographically it’s in a bowl where people fester at the bottom while the rich try to scramble out of the top.

Are we all doomed?
We are spiralling into environmental and financial doom collectively. But life is about peaks and troughs, so there is no end in sight yet.

This article first appeared in the 06 April 2009 issue of the New Statesman, God special issue