a short site about The Divine Comedy

Neil By Mouth

Sex, centrefolds, celebrities…
Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy confesses all

Can we talk about sex?

Oh God, not again. I'm getting bored of sex. People have this idea that I'm some kind of sex-crazed Don Juan. I'm just a punt bloke from Ireland.

So why did you make an album called Casanova?

It was just about a particular period in my life. I'd not had a girlfriend for years and then, as soon as I was a bit famous, they were all over me. I was just having a bit of fun with my 'pop star' image. The press got hold of it and the whole thing just snowballed.

Who's the real Neil now?

Well, the latest album, Fin de Si├Ęcle, is very different. It was much more serious. But typically, the press are already labelling me a miserable bugger. A couple of years ago, there was even a story about me hating women - which was totally untrue! I mean, I've even posed nude for a women's magazine!

A full frontal centrefold?

Well, you couldn't see all my bits, but I was completely naked. The weird thing was that they made me shave my legs, but let me keep my beard. I looked like Jesus after he'd come back from the beauty parlour.

Did you get any, er, fan mail?

You're kidding, aren't you? They had to airbrush my ribs out on the photo to stop me from looking so skinny!

Not even the odd stalker?

I'm not halfway near famous enough to have them. Robbie Williams asked me if I wanted to borrow some of his.

You and Robbie are good mates, aren't you?

We occasionally go out for a drink, yeah. I like Robbie and his music so I helped out with some backing vocals on his album. Would you believe we actually met at the recording of An Audience with Elton John?

So you're chummy with Elton, too?

Not exactly. I've never met him. I think the only reason I made it onto his TV show was because they needed to fill the back row. I always feel odd when I meet celebs. My legs turn to jelly. When I met Bono I nearly fainted.

What was Bono Like?

He's the most gregarious person I have ever met. He just, y'know, fills the room - a full on party animal.

Your father is a bishop. Does that mean you had a very religious upbringing?

Not really. And in Ireland, all schools are religious. All that mean't was you had to sing a few more hymns. Maybe that's why i ended up being a pop star.

Danny Scott
Elle 01/1999