Is there anyone?
“Mmmmm… Billy Idol.” (gasp! – style ed.)
Who are the real dapper dressers, then, Madonna?
“It always comes from the street – people who aren’t showbiz at all. Latin and black kids from the Lower east Side and the Bronx. Despite the music the kids at the Roxy and the Funhouse, they’ve got the most style. I like clothes you can move about in – I don’t like it when someone looks as if they’re glued into their outfit.”
So the Funhouse still rules in questions of sartorial correctness?
“Sure, it’s cute – I like athletic sportswear. I’ve gone all through that with my Puerto Rican boyfriends. I read all the fashion magazines and I follow designers like Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier. I don’t have much time to go shopping, though, and half the stuff I want I can’t get in New York,” she says, enviously eying my Katherine Hamnett T-Shirt. We came to an arrangement later…
Despite the upcoming release of ‘Borderline’ from her much plundered debut Elpee the gal Madonna has just completed a brand new set of ditties to wow us this autumn before she sets sail on a gen-u-tine big band tour. Our snatched meeting takes place amid the bustle of the mix-down, a charming Nile Rodgers (yes, the Chic Nile Rodgers!) bidding us a fond greeting before wrestling with Madonna’s muse. Said waxing is due to be titled ‘Like A Virgin’. She seems a trifle excited…
“It’s much harder, much more aggressive than the first record. The songs on that were pretty weak and I went to England during the recording so I wasn’t around for a lot of it – I wasn’t in control. On this one I’ve chosen all the songs and I want them all to be hits – no filler! That’s why I’ve done outside songs as well as six of my own – a lot of groups are stubborn about that but I want every song to be really strong. We’ve done a version of the old Rose Royce hit ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’ with live strings – it’s great.”
Has the recording been eventful?
“Oh yeah – last week one of my idols came down – Diana Ross. She’d been recording downstairs and she and Nile are real good friends. Her kids really like my stuff so she brought a bottle of champagne and toasted my success – I was so flattered. You hear so much about celebrities being horrible and then you meet them and they’re not that way at all. I met Barbra Streisand and she was the same – enthusiastic and encouraging.”
Have you done the rounds of the fame and party circuit?
“Some. I don’t really like those things. Last week I was invited to a dinner with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones but those things are really kinda boring. It’s more interesting to keep a low profile, not show up at everything.”
When you do go out is it limousines from door to door?
“No – I still ride the subway every day – I guess I think I’m not that noticeable yet. I have a lot of young girl fans and they’ll start squealing on the trains. people come up and say, ‘you look just like Madonna’ and I’ll go, ‘thank you’ – or they’ll say, ‘are you Madonna?’ and I’ll say, ‘yes’. Then, they’ll go ‘no, you’re not’ and I’ll say, ‘OK, I’m not’… it tends to go on like that. It’s still important to stay in touch with the street. My friends are still the same people and I still go to the same little divey restaurants in the East Villa I used to go to. Last time I went a girl did come up and start snapping pictures – that really made me sick.”
So it’s getting harder to cling to ‘normality’?
“Yeah. And I know it’s gonna get weirder and weirder.”
And you determined to concentrate solely on music?
“Well, when I was little I wanted to be a nun. Then I discovered boys when I was about nice. My father told me to stay away from them which made me even more interested. I also always wanted to be a movie star and I’ve studied acting which is a natural progression for anyone who’s been on stage a lot. And videos, if they’re good, are like a short form of cinema. Then there was writing, I wrote a lot of short stories and poems, and at some point I actually decided I wanted to write. But when I started a novel I did about 30 pages and just stopped!”
Is it possible to master everything?
“It’s certainly possible to spend time on things and do them well – and master them. The thing is the public never wants you to be good at more than one thing – they’ll slap you down. It’s not bad to want to experiment.”
And will this experimentation earn Big Bucks?
“Money’s not important. I never think I want to make millions and millions of dollars but I don’t want to have to worry about it. The more money you have the more problems you have. I went from making no money to making comparatively a lot and all I’ve had is problems. Life was simpler when I had no money, when I just barely survived…”
© Record Mirror