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Metro (UK)
free London publication
December 21, 2009

Tori Amos: I'll run for president if Sarah Palin does

Tori Amos, 46, is an American pianist and songwriter whose albums include Little Earthquakes and Abnormally Attracted To Sin. She divides her time between Florida and Cornwall. Her album of seasonal songs, Midwinter Graces, is out now.

Have you learned how to surf in Cornwall? It's too cold for me. But my daughter, Tash, surfs and she loves it.

We're hardy souls in Britain. You are hardy souls. They do this crazy thing in Bude where they go out naked on Christmas Day. They all take off their clothes and run in their birthday suits into the water.

Have you found Britain welcoming? I married a Brit so obviously I like them. I don't see myself as one, I don't try to be one. Yet Mark, my husband, and Tash have such Britishness in them I've been able to see Britain through their eyes. Their sense of humour is definitely British - droll and sometimes very inappropriate.

Your husband is also your record producer. Do you argue in the studio? We're both perfectionists, so we're vicious but fair. It can make it difficult to walk back in and be lovers. If we've had a confrontation in the studio, we've made a pact to make up before bedtime, so we always make sure our romance side is protected.

What's the difference between 'midwinter' songs and Christmas songs? Our ancestors have been celebrating midwinter time for thousands of years all over the world, long before Christianity. Some of the music is beautiful to these carols but they took it from other places and made it religious.

So you're bringing back a bit of Paganism? I am. I went to different versions of some carols, way back from before the American Methodists changed the words and made them more PC and puritanical.

You played carols in your father's church when you were younger, didn't you? Yes, I was in all my father's choirs, even before I could walk.

Did you have to wear robes? Oh yes, I had the robes. But I always had lip gloss in my pocket.

Did you enjoy the festive season? I have good memories. I spent so much time in church that I've literally gone to church enough for everybody in Britain. But many of my memories are about the cooking. My mother's side of the family is part Native American and we'd go and see them after my father had preached three services on Christmas Eve. The food... oh, those ladies could cook.

You've been critical of past US governments. Are you more hopeful since Obama came in? I'm a lot more hopeful. The Bush years were really difficult times if you were an American who loved your country. Having someone now that so many people respect doesn't mean there aren't going to be problems, but so many problems have been left behind.

How do you feel about Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin almost taking the most powerful jobs in the world? If Palin runs again, I'm going to run on a Republican ticket. What I know about Middle Eastern policy could fit on a thumbnail, but I still know more than she does. You have to ask, how could a nation nearly vote in somebody who isn't qualified for the job?

How different would the world be if more women were in power? We'd bring different things to the table, because of our life experiences. The issue about war, for example, is that when you carry life and give birth to life, the idea of life being taken away, even if it isn't your own child... there's a sanctity a lot of women have for life. I think it's harder to pull the wool over a woman's eyes and women can be great strategists, so maybe things would be handled differently - statesmanship and negotiating, rather than war.

Talking, rather than fighting? Yes, but very involved talking. Maybe talking someone to death.

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