a short site about The Divine Comedy

Mr. Divine Comedy, Neil Hannon, ponders the Millennium Bug. And worms' sperm...

Musically, how out of place do you feel in the late 90's?

I suppose I am in something of a vacuum, there's not much out there which I'd call unmissable at the moment. Having said that, the album does have that epic quality that's so popular these days. Well, stupidly epic. I can't see myself striding down the street pushing people out of the way in a video. I'm sure the first person I met would give me a good kicking.

Was the album really intended as a grand millennial statement?

It's more about observing people who may be feeling that kind of millennial angst. Even 'Here Comes The Flood', which is the big, apocalyptic number, is more about Hollywood's idea of an apocalypse than any sane person's. I'm not terribly alarmed about the millennium. I'm going to go to a cottage on the west coast of Ireland with a log fire and no electricity, because more than anything I'm nervous about all the computers shutting down. The idea is just to get as far away from anybody as possible.

There's a very cinematic edge to the album- is that somewhere you want to go?

I think I'm already there. If I ever found a film that I thought I could add something to, I'd probably do it. The problem is I write film music as it is. It's just the films aren't' there. When I listen to 'Sweden', I already see huge Viking longboats before me, you know?

Do you worry about going over people's heads?

There's a layer of what I do where, you know, if people don't get it, that's OK. I wouldn't think any less of anyone who didn't get it, or didn't want to.

But if you were more obvious, more people might put posters of you on their walls...

Yeah, but they'd only take them down again in no time. I'm in it for the long haul. And I've always like the idea of subterfuge - the thought of housewives in their forties humming 'Generation Sex', standing by the sink singing along to "the sperm of worms" or whatever. Actually, I don't even know if worms have sperm.

No, they reproduce by splitting in two.

So they do. But no, you look for fame and fortune because they're symptoms of success, and you always want to be successful. The stardom bit itself is largely incidental. I'm not sure if I'll know what to do with myself when I'm as big as Madonna or Prince.

You said 'when' not 'if.'

Well, I've never been short of confidence.

Danny Leigh
Neom 10/1998