- Reliving their sweet dreams...
Sat stock still
with hands on knees, as if in deep meditation, Annie Lennox
has her eyes gently resting shut while Dave Stewart is masked
by trademark fly-eyed sunglasses, spending a rare half hour
in quiet contemplation.
two Eurythmics become part of their surroundings, another
icon to go with the giant photographic portraits adorning
the walls and the selection of striking videos both past
and present that flicker on the screens behind them.
is far from the explosive alchemy they have enjoyed over
the past 25 years, an impulsive chemical reaction which
saw their latest single conceived and recorded in a flash.
Dave Stewart explains, "Annie was with us on holiday just
for about a week, nine weeks ago and we went to my studio.
just wanted to have a look because I've been building a
new studio and within an hour we'd written I've Got A Life
and by the time we were driving home we were playing it
in the car." These surges of creativity are how they work
best together: "You've got to go on your gut instinct and
you haven't got the time to follow fashion or try and be
part of a trend or fashion."
with a string of worldwide hits and over 75 million album
sales under their belts, there must be an element of pressure
to live up to past glories though? Not so apparently: "Well
only pressure from ourselves. I mean, I feel pressure from
within, you want to keep creating really good things, it's
not really to do with any pressure from outside." An attitude
which pays little, if any, attention to the notoriously
fickle British media. "Because Britain is an island and
it's very small, the turnover and the circulation happens
very quick so after three years you can be finished," Stewart
explains, "I understand that they can't keep writing about
the same thing over and over because everybody's read it
and seen it but then the only thing they can do is get rid
of that and go on to the next thing. But some other countries,
Australia, America, Japan, they're slightly more like… osmosis."
In Britain's favour, he counters, "there's so much going
on here, so many brilliant artists, sculptors, painters,
music, it's just phenomenal."
is also much to get excited about the current state of the
music scene, "I love the Arctic Monkeys, I love Bloc Party,
I love Beck". Though of the critics he says: "You know something
about a lot of artists, like Bob Dylan or Beck, when we're
together talking, or Lou Reed, if anybody mentions British
press coverage, it's irrelevant, aarrggh!" This is far from
any arrogant name-checking exercise though. At times portrayed
as an eccentric by the media, Dave Stewart is much more
humble in person than you may expect, as demonstrated by
his two favourite images on display at the exhibition, one
in which he has his back to the camera, the other with his
face blurred in the background, Annie Lennox taking centre
ego may remain untouched but he is now well-adjusted to
the global success which held many surprises for the duo
during their eighties heyday: "In Britain, There Must Be
An Angel was number one, in America it didn't get in the
top 100, but in America Missionary Man was like, massive.
In the beginning we didn't understand the sort of cultural
forces in the US: it's very rock and hip you know? And we'd
probably think it was very quirky, There Must Be An Angel
at the time and a photograph of chaos: me playing the mad
sand king. We were taking the piss out of our position ourselves.
So in America it was like, 'What the hell's going on?',
me wearing a King Louis XIV wig!"
again raises the issue of image. Seemingly almost as much
of a focus as the music at times, there are few artists
who have such striking, instantly recognisable imagery attached
to them as Eurythmics do. Indeed, there are few acts who
would warrant an exhibition of their artwork: "If you look
around this room and if you're old enough, every one [image]
is a massive icon of like the past. Now, so many bands you
could put everything up on the wall and go: 'Everyone? OK...'."
stage of Stewart and Lennox's quarter century together is
clearly documented by the images on display at London's
Air Gallery, but rather than the two new tracks heralding
another major phase in their evolution, it appears a complete
new album is still off the cards. "Not at the moment because
I think if you're younger, you've got to create like a whole
album from scratch. You have to say hang on, two is enough
for now. I've got four children, you're bombarded with like,
responsibilities not so much as administration, which is
a pain in the arse. The administration of your life."
may be the case for now, but with the impulsive nature of
their long-standing friendship, it seems unlikely this will
be the last we hear, or indeed see, of the Eurythmics: sitting
still is something of rarity for them.