This much I know

Lee Perry, mu­si­cian, 82

The Observer Magazine - - The Observer Magazine -

Lee “Scratch” Perry

I don’t know where my songs come from. I dream them. My first mu­si­cal me­mory is a song called Don’t Give the Old for the New. I didn’t hear it on the ra­dio. I heard it in my head when I was lit­tle. Then I wrote it. Mu­sic is my rain. Mu­sic is my name. I’m a dreamer.

Liv­ing in Switzer­land is the high life. Riches and fuck­ing and fame. I feel like Mer­lin the Ma­gi­cian. There is magic here every­where. I live here to avoid vam­pires. I live here to avoid poverty. I don’t like poverty.

The se­cret to a long and happy life is a be­lief in God. I be­lieve in God. I be­lieve in life. I be­lieve in hear­ing. I be­lieve in smelling. I be­lieve in tast­ing. I be­lieve in writ­ing. I be­lieve in sing­ing. I be­lieve in my larder. I be­lieve in my gar­den. I be­lieve in my good feel­ings. And don’t eat meat. Amen.

Giv­ing up al­co­hol was very hard. I didn’t think I could cre­ate what I made with­out it. Then I re­alised that it was in­side of me. Al­co­hol was hyp­no­tis­ing me. It was mak­ing me un­con­scious. It was mak­ing me bleed. Al­co­hol is evil. Stupid sugar sugar.

My favourite items of cloth­ing are my tele­pathic clothes. My socks are tele­pathic. My pants are tele­pathic. Ev­ery­thing I wear is tele­pathic! I have a cap that I like a lot. It gives me my tele­pathic power.

Me and Bob Mar­ley were a good match. He came to me. His cup was over­flow­ing. He didn’t know what to do. I think I taught him how to be happy. That showed him what to do. He was like a beau­ti­ful kid – but he was a bit nasally [sings Bob Mar­ley songs while hold­ing his nose]. He was like a beau­ti­ful long­nosed newt.

We solve racism by show­ing each other who we are. We have too much in com­mon to not be united. We are more than our colour. I am black and white and pink and yel­low.

I con­tinue to be in­spired by my soul.

The world première of Rude­boy: the Story of Tro­jan Records is at the BFI Lon­don Film Fes­ti­val on 12 Oc­to­ber

‘My socks are tele­pathic. My pants are tele­pathic. Ev­ery­thing I wear is tele­pathic’

In­ter­view JAMES MCMA­HON Pho­to­graph KATE PE­TERS

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