Damon Albarn, the restless and innovative force behind Blur, has always marched to the beat of his own drum. As he prepares for the monumental upcoming dates at Wembley, England’s national stadium, a place Blur never reached during their peak, Albarn reflects on his journey, personal growth, and the changing landscape of music. From battling panic attacks to finding solace in yoga, Albarn’s evolution as an artist and as an individual has shaped his perspective on fame, narcissism, and the enduring power of music.
Albarn candidly admits that the thought of playing at Wembley during Blur’s heyday would have been a terrifying prospect for his younger self. Panic attacks loomed, making such monumental shows seem incomprehensible. However, Albarn found solace and strength through yoga, which replaced the destructive forces of his past, most notably his battle with heroin addiction. With a daily yoga practice, he has discovered a newfound calmness and resilience, wondering why such a beneficial practice isn’t universally taught in schools.
As reported by France 24: Damon stated on this: “Yoga helped me massively. Firstly it was heroin, and obviously I knocked that on the head 100 years ago. And now yoga — if I do it pretty much every day, I’m calm. That it’s not taught in every school is absurd.”
As Blur continues to perform, Albarn finds joy in the surreal experience of seeing a youthful audience at their shows. It feels like time-traveling, as if the clock has turned back, and the fans are once again young. It’s a strange and beautiful reminder of the enduring legacy of their music and its ability to connect generations. However, Albarn also acknowledges that mainstream acceptance in his home country has been elusive, despite his global fame. The rediscovery of his presence in the music scene feels good, yet he yearns for a more welcoming embrace from England.
In Albarn’s recent single “The Narcissist,” he delves into his own history, reflecting on his teenage years with a strobe light, a mirror, and a synthesizer in his dark bedroom. It was during this time that his own narcissism began to emerge. The song also critiques our current era, labeling it the most narcissistic age in human history. Albarn acknowledges the pervasive influence of smartphones and social media, where we manufacture our own narcissism through self-portraits and endless self-examination.
While England hasn’t always welcomed Albarn’s experimental projects, France has provided a more receptive atmosphere for his artistic endeavors. From planning an opera at the Lido in Paris to his fond memories of nightlife adventures in the city, Albarn cherishes the open-mindedness and acceptance he has found in France. It contrasts with the commercial pressures he experienced in his home country, where he was coerced into creating a Christmas show against his artistic vision.