And Madonna’s trying to tell us all about it but keeps loosing the plot and going on about her “journey” instead.
We are witnessing here new translations of the oldest story ever told, the one which tells you money can’t buy you love and love is the answer and madonna, of course, knows everything there is to know about just what it is that money can buy you. It’s a tale intrinsic to pop’s own folklore, as old as the gnarly old tree which fashioned the first sitar ever bought by George Harrison and pals in 1642. And she believes, like all the other millions of pop culture soothsayin’ evangelists of recent times, that this denotes a shift in the global conscience (oh yes) triggered by the twin turrets of millennium madness and the technological revolution which has turned us into socially crippled gerbils sat in isolation in a hutch with electodes stuck in our eyes. it’s the most popular cultural theory currently pertaining to life on Earth and the reason everyone’s gone all introspective and/or turned into a Buddhist. Another theory is that, when you get old, you a bit ‘what’s it all about, man?’ about everything and it’s as simple as that, yes?
“It’s a combination, I think,” says the woman under the rug, maintaining steady eye contact with those astonishing, blinkless, pale blue peppers, “of growing older and coming out of spending a decade or two just having good time and searching for fun and at a certain point a lot of people do go, ‘Well, there must be more that this, I’m on this Earth for more than making money and being successful’.”
You old chum Prince was saying the same thing fairly recently. Is this the conceit of the superstar? That they say “all that I’ve done means nothing” only when they’ve done it all?
“No,” says Madonna, “I can’t speak for other people but I can say that I’ve reached where I am right now because I realize I haven’t done anything.”
“The things I’ve been consuming myself with is actually not doing it all,” she attests. “I’m just beginning to have the things that I really need and beginning to have thing that are really important, which is intimacy and love and children and things like that, those are the important things. the other things, exhibitionism, all of those things are not nothing, they’re… fantastic expressions, manifestations of loneliness or despair or curiosity, but ultimately they never take the place of the really important things. So when you have a lot of that other stuff, fame, fortune, celebrity, whatever, and you get tons and tons and tons of it and you realize ultimately that it isn’t going to make you happy then you do say, “Well, hold on then, there’s got to be something more to this’ so you go off on a search. I’ve been in this business and been famous for almost 15 years and I have Done what everyone else consideres to be It All; traveled everywhere, met everyone, I’m rich, I can do what I want, go where I want, but the thing is when you have excessive amounts of material things lots of times thats when you come to the realization that that’s not what really matters at all.”
Hmmmmn. Funny how people always say money doesn’t matter…
“When they have a lot of it?””
Yes. And they say “love is all you need” only because they’ve got literally everything else.
“Well, I disagree with that,” states Madonna, “because I know lots of people who have very little and I consider them to be great, dignified people who are very happy with where they are. It’s an individual thing. I’m not saying that money doesn’t matter… (breaks out into huge grin, arches famed eyebrows, camply) it’s afforded me many luxuries and I’m quite fond of it… so, not at all! It’s really the being famous part, youknowwhatImean, the being chased down the street and having everyone write about you and think that they know yoi, it does become a huge burden, personally and creatively. I could never go as far as Prince and say, ‘I’m not who I was’, I am who I am and everything I’ve gone through has brought me to where I am right now, which I think is a good place. So I’ve got no intentions of renouncing my past. I’ve said stupid things and had horrible hairdos and made a fool of myself but that’s part of life and it’s just me revealing myself and getting closer to what I think is the real version of me. So.”
This latest real version of Madonna hasn’t, in fact, been tilling the earth at all, but has splattered all over her hands the markings of faded henna and a palm embiazoned with the Sanskrit squiggle for ‘Om’ (which she pronounces “ome”). She tells many detailed stories behind the origins of these markings because this version of Madonna has become a student of Eastern cultures, attending classes of Eastern cultures, attending classes in Los Angeles to study the Jewish kabbala (the red string round her left wrist denotes kinship for the kabbala’s principles of “friendship, spirituality and knowledge”) and private tutorings in Hinduism, the philosophy of karmic rebirth.
Every day she devotes two hours to yoga class, the motivation for which is probably not the mysteries of tantric sex (even though she can now put her feet round the back of her head like Sting can, probably). Her hennaed hands appear in the video for her new single ‘Frozen’, a tale of spiritual inertia and one of the less striking songs on the album, accompanied by the black-and-white “desert metamorphosis” video caper which would like to be The Piano and is, instead, an advertisement for Scottish Widows. More intriguingly, there is one song, ‘Shanti/Ashtangi’ sung entirely in Sanskrit. And we remember when it was all sans skirt round ‘ere…
There are girls the world over who’ve split up with boyfriends specifically because the boyfriend loathed their beloved Madonna (for being “a slag”, usually). There are boys the worl over who believe their girlfriend’s slept with other people behind their backs because Madonna encouraged them to do so in the name of sexual liberation. hers is the kind of phenomenon friendships are formed or founder on. There are entire books devoted to the analysis of dreams the public have had about Madonna. Her face is probably more familiar to you than half the members of your own family. Certainly you’ll know more intimate details about her life than many of your friends; what she thinks about masturbating, for example, or how much, at aged six, the death of her mother formed her personality, or that she was raped not long after arriving in New York, aged 18, with a handful of dollar bills and a dream to dance.
She is notoriously defensive, often aggressive interviewee as befits a woman who has deliberately provoked outrage for political purposes, most notoriously through what she felt was her “self-empowering” soft-porn fantasy Sex book which she now sees as “a rebellion” against her father, the Catholic religion and the upbringing which told her trousers with zips on the front were sinful. She’s as demonized as a “no-talent nymphomaniac” as adored for her stand against double standards and ignorance, for her courage and honesty and tunes and frocks and incalculably glorious collection of world-class art. Today, she seems determined to remain calm at all times; or perhaps she’s become naturally so. Her voice is raised only once; in response to the half-formed non-question “Do you resent…” “I don’t resent ANYTHING”, she blares.