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Madonna Interview : Q Magazine

Madonna - Q Magazine / June 1991

Could you explain the film’s ending, where you inexplicably appear in bed with a bunch of naked men?

“That’s there because it’s me bidding farewell to everyone,” she says softly. “There was this real emotional pull …” Suddenly she breaks off. “CAN YOU SHUT THAT DOOR IN THERE OR SOMETHING ‘COS I CAN HEAR TOO MUCH NOISE. Where was I? … you’ll notice throughout that whole montage I’m saying I love you, I hate you, I love you, I hate you. It’s my need to be loved and my need to dominate. So, to me, it’s like a witty presentation of the whole thing. In two minutes it underlines what you’ve just seen in two hours. It’s my need to be loved but also my need to be in charge.”

Parts of the film could almost be described as too revealing.

“Yes,” she says flatly. “But if you’re going to reveal yourself, reveal yourself. I mean, what do I do? Say I’m only going to reveal myself up to a point?”

Most people would.

“I’m not ‘most people’,” she snaps triumphantly, “and if I’m going to make a documentary and tell the director that I want to reveal truths then I’m not going to say, But this is where I draw the line. If you take all those parts out what would you have? Life is about the highs and lows and if you just present the mids then what’s the point? I chose to show that part of myself because I know that other people feel the same way. The only difference between this and other movies is that I don’t have the safety net of saying. This is fictional. These issues are dealt with in drama all the time but I think the hard thing for people to take will be that there isn’t someone playing the part of my life in the movie 50 years from now when I’m dead. I’m doing it myself. No-one has ever done this
before.”

But real life isn’t that intense and …

“Oh but it is!” she argues cheerily. “It is! It’s a microcosm of a life. But I think these things happen in everyone’s life. Everyone has tragedies in their life.”

Let’s discuss some specific incidents in the film. You seem very nervous about your father’s reaction to your show. “Oh God, yeah,” she says. “I always do these supposedly immoral things things and then after I’ve finished I go. My God, what if my father sees this? I still think like that. Like the Vanity Fair issue that just came out. I was laying in bed last night and I’d just heard that my father was in town and I was thinking. My God, what If he gets on the airplane and, God, someone hands him the magazine and, oh my God, he’ll see me without a shirt on and, Oh God! It never changes. It’s not that I’m frightened of being scolded, I’m past all that, but I just don’t want him to be hurt. What I keep trying to impress upon my father is that he mustn’t take what I do personally.”

You worry about this, then later in the film you feliate a bottle?

“Yeah,” she frowns, “but my father wasn’t in the room.”

But he’ll see the film. Won’t he find that shocking? Is that shocking?

“Is what shocking?” she asks, her jaw muscles tightening. “My giving head to a bottle? Why? You see people doing it in movies all the time. It’s a Joke. What’s shocking? Why don’t you know if it’s shocking or not? Don’t you know your own feelings?”

Do people want this sort of thing rammed down their throats?

“It’s a joke!” she shouts, missing the gag (if you’ll pardon the pun). “The idea of Truth Or Dare is a joke. It’s like all those childhood games. I dare you to do this. It’s all a game. If everybody put on film what they did in those games when they were children or their fraternity games, I mean, my God, they’d all be arrested.”

Why did you start playing Truth Or Dare?

“The dancers used to play it all the time in the beginning. I was never really part of it. The point of it is to relieve boredom, fuck with people. It’s great for relieving tensions and animosities. Or if someone has a crush on somebody and the other person wants to find out. In the guise of a game you can find these things out. Sometimes it would turn into these reallv heavy sessions where it was all truths and no dares. Did you really do this? Were you sleeping with so-and-so? Everyone gets their feelings out and then after you’ve played the game everyone is closer. That’s the theory. It’s like group therapy.”

Isn’t it dangerous?

“It is. yeah.” she nods. “But every time we played it and went all the way and got into it, it was really intense. Like, I think you two are behaving really stupidly or, You did heroin the other night and we all know. Everybody looks at each other differently the next day because the truth brings people closer together. It’s like being intimate with a lover. The more intimate you are with somebody, the more an unspoken closeness occurs.”

The game seems to start with a lot of sexual stuff. For example, you dare a dancer to get his dick out.

“That’s right,” she laughs. “The sexuality is always at the beginning and everyone goes through these primal curiosities about … things. The exhibitionist tendencies come out. You show me this. I’ll show you this. Then you get down to the nitty gritty. This has happened wild me when I’ve been playing the game with my friends since my tour’s been over with, and the same thing always happens: everyone gets past the sex thing, then you get into the real shit about people.”

Your face is a picture when two of the male dancers kiss. What were you thinking?

“What was I thinking? My God, well I think it’s incredibly erotic to watch people kiss. For me it was a big turn on to watch men kiss because you so rarely see it. It’s considered to be such a bad thing in society but I thought it was beautiful.”

Your childhood friend Moira turns up, pregnant, having obviously fallen on fairly hard times and asks you to be the godmother of the child. Did you find that sad?

“Very sad and strange,” she says. studying her hands. “What was really weird was that here was this girl that I idolised from my childhood. I really thought she was the cat’s pyjamas, you know? Then it was like, Look what’s happened to our lives. The juxtapostion of how I went that way and she she went that way and we both come from the exact same place. She’s had that baby, I’m not the godmother. But I have written to her a couple of times. I was touched that she asked me to be the godmother but I don’t have time to fly to North Carolina and participate in this whole ritual. Can you imagine me with all her family and neighbours? It would have been a nightmare. It would have been like a creature landing from Mars.”

You must get requests like that all the time.

“Yes, I do. And then I have to weigh up what’s important and what’s not. Usually it’s requests for money. And, of course, I have a completely guilty conscience about the fact that I have money so I’m always giving it out.”

You feel guilty about being rich?

“Yes,” she says adamantly. “I do. It’s because of my upbringing. I was raised by a working-class father and we never had money. I continue to feel guilty about it like I don’t deserve to have it, or something, even though I work really hard. I can’t help it. No-one in my family has had any money and they continue to not have any money and I feel guilty about it. That’s just my upbringing. I feel sometimes that someone will come and take it all away from me. That makes me work really hard. all the time.”