a short site about The Divine Comedy


What's The Divine Comedy up to these days? What inspires Neil Hannon when he writes songs and why does he think he has Noel Coward's ears? All was revealed in our Internet chat with him at the Virgin Megastore. If you missed it or want to relive the experience again, read on.

Mark If you could change places with somebody for a week, who would it be and why?

Neil Hannon Scott Walker because he has always been my hero.

Diana Jackson Do you have any new millennial resolutions planned?

Neil Hannon Let me think. To be nice to my girlfriend, to learn French and to make the album of the new century.

Cécile Boudet You said there was always in your records, a song which was written in the last minute, which made you go straight to the point. Which one is it on Fin de Siècle?

Neil Hannon Here Comes the Flood and National Express.

Ronan Is there any song you wouldn't cover because there's no way you'd top the original?

Neil Hannon Heroes by David Bowie.

Maria When you played at the Royal Festival Hall, did you feel any pressure about playing an "upper class" venue, and did you play up to it a bit? Like when you walked out on stage with a fag and a pint?

Neil Hannon The Festival Hall isn't an upper class venue, the venue is what the audience makes it.

Rob When you shaved your beard off on stage did you find that it itched a bit and was it uncomfortable to shave off?

Neil Hannon It started itching really badly after three weeks then after a month there were no more problems. The song Strange Twist of Fate made me shave it at the right time.

Chris How was Reading?

Neil Hannon Reading was 3-2 to us by half time but then due to our own defensive inabilities it was 3 all by full time.

Michael Who out of the following do you think you are most similar to: Shakespeare, Noel Coward or Elvis?

Neil Hannon Noel Coward because my ears are at a similar angle to my head.

Mandy Why do dogs and horses feature so much on A Short Album about Love?

Neil Hannon Because I like dogs and horses. I like other animals too, but I mostly grew up with dogs and Horses. I'm allergic to cats.

A McDaniel Did you like Mr McBride, your old music teacher?

Neil Hannon Billy McBride was a famous extrovert who gave me my musical irony.

Tess If you could jump dramatically out of a big birthday cake and burst into song, whose party would you be gatecrashing, and what would you sing?

Neil Hannon I think it would be my own party because I wouldn't want to destroy someone else's birthday. I would sing Heroes.

Amp If you were to have a daughter, what important lessons would you teach her?

Neil Hannon I'd teach her not to try and predict the future, its better to just let it happen.

Simon Can you tell us something about the new album then Neil?

Neil Hannon Before I wrote it I described it to people as the Ride of The Valkyries played by Radiohead. I think I got about three quarters of the way there.

Ryan Do you believe in escape as good psychotherapy, as suggested in National Express?

Neil Hannon No, because I've tried it and you can run but you can't hide and a lot of the songs on this album are to do with enjoying your own situation.

FunkyMan You said in an Interview on French TV that you never felt at home in England or Ireland or Paris. Where would you feel at home?

Neil Hannon I am multinational and displaced and confused, but that's OK.

Alexandra How does it feel being worshipped from afar by a load of people who don't actually know you?

Neil Hannon Very peculiar, because I can walk down Clapham High Street without so much as a second glance. Having said that they are mostly drunks!

Jyri Several lines from Fellini's La Dolce Vita were featured on Generation Sex on the Fin de Siecle promo album and had to be replaced for the final version. How do you feel about using samples on songs? For example, do you see the use of them as statements or sort of tributes?

Neil Hannon Samples have given me great pleasure but no end of headaches in my career. If used correctly and sparingly they add a new dimension to the subject of the song but I have since decided that its not worth it as too many people are too precious about their stuff.

James A quick special request from the guy who's webcasting this for you Neil. Will you play Your Daddy's Car?

Neil Hannon If you request it loud enough.

Shaggy Did you know that an Australian group called The Whitlams do a cover version of My Daddy's Car?

Neil Hannon Yeah, I am aware of this.

Mainne Do you know how many fans you have abroad in places like Australia, Neil?

Neil Hannon Thirty-seven?

Europop What inspires you to write songs like Becoming More Like Alfie?

Neil Hannon A cool acoustic guitar line and a film about masculinity.

Amp Will the Shepherd's Bush show be big and orchestrated this time, too?

Neil Hannon In a synthesised way.

Alexandra Are you going to do any more photo-shoots in which you smile? I can hardly find any pictures in which you don't look unhappy.

Neil Hannon I've been perfecting the funeral director look for this album. I will smile again one day...

Posh The new album does seem darker. Do you feel angrier these days?

Neil Hannon Surprisingly, no. Just calmer and better able to express myself.

Amp Any plans for a US album release or tour?

Neil Hannon Yes, yes, yes yes. But don't hold your breath!

Adam Thanks to the delicious and delovely Divine Comedy!

Neil Hannon I would just like to say thank you. Email us anytime on our website http://www.thedivinecomedy.com and I will answer them eventually. Bye.