DRUGS, DEATH AND STICKY RIBS… A MEAL WITH THE DRUM’N’BASS DON IS A ROLLER-COASTER EXPERIENCE.
You don’t so much have a lunchtime conversation with Goldie as grip onto your seat through a one-way, turbulent jet stream. Within seven minutes of Q’s arrival he’s summing up his singular life. “Kid from the ghetto, dyslexic, does good, challenges everything, marries a stripper, takes more cocaine than Al Pacino, loses everything, the scenic route, right!?” We’re sitting side-by-side in a restaurant booth of London’s Sanctum Soho Hotel where the golden-toothed, multi-force maverick – graffiti artist in late-’ 80s America, UK drum’n’bass pioneer in the ’ 90s, actor (including a stint in EastEnders), reality TV staple and composer ever since – is hastily cramming in Barbecue Sticky Ribs’n’chips. No wonder his latest, cinematic double album is called The Journey Man. “I’ve surpassed myself,” he blares, squashing Q’s shoulder in a crunching clinch. “It’s a coming of age!” Goldie, 51, is now an MBE, friends with Prince Harry, a self-styled musical “alchemist” living in Thailand with his second wife, Canadian Mika Price and young daughter (his fifth child with five different women). A waiter appears, proffering two Heston Blumenthal-style test-tubes of lemon grass liquid, pouring over with smoke. “That’s alchemy right there,” he cackles. “Chin chin!” On he burbles unstoppably, unfathomably, about Eastern “affirmations” and “quantum infinity”, about his ’ 90s girlfriend Björk, “I broke her heart… did she forgive me? No!” Soon, he’s proffering information you did not seek, about the months he pursued his wife with letters (four daily, in capitals, on scented Japanese notepaper) before they had sex. “And then we did it,” he’s roaring, “OK, let’s get the sticky slugs done!” Suddenly, his jeans are down, showing Q a huge scar, pelvis to thigh. In 2006, on sporting reality TV caper The Games, he brutally broke his leg in a water-skiing accident, spending three months in hospital. “Miserable, basically on smack,” he notes, of his morphine-based recovery, “I was still using [ cocaine] every day in hospital, anyone who could get me drugs!” With his mid-’ 90s high-speed drum’n’bass triumphs (including Saturnz Return, featuring the hour-long opus to his estranged mum, Mother), came a colossal cocaine addiction. Wasn’t he, you know, fast enough? “It does the opposite to me, y’see, the bi-polar effect,” he muses. “It was a search, to find out why I felt hereditary trauma. I was looking to see through the translucent silver fish. I work only at great depth!” Goldie’s trauma began at birth, born Clifford Price to a freewheeling Jamaican dad who disappeared immediately and a Scottish alcoholic mum who put him up for adoption aged three, raised in care homes across the Midlands. Three years ago he watched his mother die, “fucking tongue went black”, by then a presence in his life who’d requested Mother as her funeral song. “It’s too long!” he scoffed. He played it, instead, in the mortuary. “On the slab five days,” he blinks. “She’s marble, fucking stone cold, I’ll never forget it. I was sat with the body in the Chapel Of Rest and played Mother. It was made for that reason.” He now blurts out a mention of “the brother I hate”, who slept with the mother of his first child, Jamie, when she was pregnant in the late ’ 80s. “That’s why I went to America, threw myself into hip-hop,” he notes. “I was damaged goods. It broke me. I’d come out of a home and then that, I was fucked. I did what my mother and father did.” He sips his expensively smokey drink. “If I’d never done the art, I would’ve been a bum.” Jamie, meanwhile, is currently in prison for gang-related murder. Like Goldie own’s dad, he laments, “I wasn’t there, I lost him, he’ll be out when I’m 64.” By the end of our rapid-fire lunch, it’s felt like two decades of EastEnders time-lapsed into 47 minutes. His psychological chaos, he insists, is now becalmed, through the Hoffman drug addiction recovery programme a decade ago and, today, Bikram Yoga. “I’m chilled,” he declares, unfeasibly. “Yoga’s rinsed me out, I can drink and smoke when I want. There’s 12 people in there [ taps head] but now they all agree with each other. People go, ‘You haven’t aged’ and I go, ‘I’m Benjamin Button, I am!’ As long as I don’t go back to nine and my willy goes all small and my missus is disappointed.” He bolts for the door where an Uber is already revving. His speedy journey continues, relentlessly.
“I broke Björk’s heart... did she forgive me? No!”