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New Musical Express (UK)
March 5, 2005
Peter Robinson Versus Tori Amos
Bees make good metaphors but not good fur stoles, apparently.
Hello, Tori. Your new album is called 'The Beekeeper.' Is is actually about a beekeeper or are we talking 'metaphorically?'
"It's so early for me to answer these big old questions. OK: in a way, being in north Cornwall where I was writing was very different to being in the States. I was surrounded by the Cornish countryside, the traditions, and the bee masters who are very much a part of that world. I was hearing a lot of Christian rhetoric being used on the news about the election in America. I was able to realize that they weren't so stupid after all, and that they were - quote unquote - fishers of men, making people really believe that the war had been about freedom and democracy. Therefore, I started to go back to the Christian teaching that was drummed into my head as a little girl, and I needed a tradition. An entry point that hadn't been acquired by a religion, and that was beekeeping."
Metaphorical, then, is the answer.
Have you ever kept bees?
"No, but there's a serious bee dude coming on Monday."
Can you tell he's serious rather than amateur because he's not covered in bee stings?
"I will let you know. This guy has written a book and everything."
How many bees would you need to skin to make a bee fur stole?
"Well the serious guys have 700 hives. But those are the guys who want, y'know, honey for the masses. Hang on - what did you say? Breed them for their fur? That just makes me ill. That's... C'mon, Pete, that's not nice."
And you could use their wings to make a window!
"NO WAY! You're one of those guys who used to rip off butterfly wings?"
If you did make a window out of bee wings, would it be an amateurish window? Or would it be a professional window and would it have to be big?
"It would be a brutal window! It would not work at all."
Has having two Christian names, one of which is a man's name, helped or hindered your progress in the music industry?
"Let me think for a little bit. (Long pause) NO! Haha. Amos was a prophet in the Bible. Although Amos is also the name of the cookie guy in America. You know them? Famous Amos cookies. Amos is a real person! A magical person."
Are you sure he's not just made up like Captain Birds Eye?
"No, he's really real. He came in to see me once - I was playing a little club in Georgetown in the '80s, and he saw my name on the marquee and was, like, 'Hi! I'm Famous Amos.' I said, 'Hey, how are you?' He had a beautiful glowing face. A lovely, lovely man. He gave me some cookies."
Do you think Famous Amos called himself Famous Amos before he was actually famous? Some might argue that was a bit of an affectation.
"I don't know what he did. He was in his 40s... I have no idea."
You're in your 40s now. Tori Amos isn't supposed to be in her 40s. How did that happen?
"Oh but I really like being 40. I know you won't believe me. You'll love it. The 30s might make you feel a bit bad, because you'll be trying to get back to the glory days of your 20s. It's gonna go REALLY fast. You will feel ancient. But get over it. You'll never be 20 again - stop having a funeral for it all. So your 30s are difficult. But 40s are great."
Is it right that you don't like people using exclamation marks in your interviews?
"Oh, only when they're over-used. They misrepresent the conversation. It can't be just, 'YES! PETE! EVERTYTHING'S! GREAT!'. The bad thing is when journalists try to trick you, but then I'm like, 'You want to play a game? I'll play you at this game, motherfucker. Let's go.' It's like a little game of chess. My horns have appeared. I'm getting myself worked up."
In spite of people going, 'Oh they're brilliant,' aren't beehives just blocks of flats for bees?
"Um... No I don't. Because originally bees would build their own hives, whether in a tree or on rocks. So they'd construct their own place to live. Whereas a block of flats is something that's constructed for people by the council. It's very different."
So the wooden hive that beekeepers use, are the council blocks. And the beekeepers are the council.
"Well no. You don't understand! If a bee could choose to live anywhere, it would be in a hive, because they live in a hexagon shape. That's the shape of the cell they live in. They want to be there. If you or I were given a choice, we would not want to be in a council flat. Do you understand?"
So basically beehives are basically the perfect realization of the council flat idea - prefabricated, yet perfect for the tenants.
"No. No. I disagree. Beehives are the dream home for a bee. A council flat for you is not the dream home for you."
We should get beekeepers to make council flats!
"You cannot find a parallel here, Pete. It's over. Checkmate, motherfucker."
Tori is blissfully unaware of the whole Pete Doherty pantomime.
She doesn't know much about football.
And she is "unexcited" by the recent BMG/Sony 'merger.'
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