HIDDEN tracks

Music was Pete Paphides' first love. And at this rate, it will be his last.

Five thoughts about Damon Albarn and his OBE


  1. If you think that Damon Albarn is a twat for accepting his OBE, I would imagine you thought he was a twat anyway. When people accept OBEs, MBEs, CBEs, knighthoods etc, it tends to confirm opinions we previously had about them. I recall few if any PJ Harvey fans being suddenly disappointed that she had been made a CBE. Same seems to apply to Goldie and his new MBE. I don’t imagine too many people would be pissed off if Guy Garvey or Massive Attack or Shaun Ryder or Tracey Thorn accepted New Years’ honours.

  2. I don’t see any contradiction between him refusing to go to a reception held by Tony Blair at Number 10 and him accepting an OBE. It’s not the same thing.

  3. Some people refuse honours because these titles symbolise something that makes them uncomfortable. Benjamin Zephaniah was understandably uncomfortable about the “E” in MBE/ CBE/OBE: “Me? I thought, OBE me? Up yours, I thought. I get angry when I hear that word "empire"; it reminds me of slavery, it reminds of thousands of years of brutality.” But then, Lenny Henry accepted his CBE. He said, "I'm very pleased. And my mum would have loved it. It is a wonderful thing and my family are really, really chuffed. My friends have not stopped ringing up and saying congratulations. It is an extraordinary thing and I'm very chuffed.”

  4. Lenny Henry, once again: “And my mum would have loved it.”
    ... Because it’s not always about the recipient, is it? I don’t believe in God, but I wear a cross around my neck because it means a lot to my mother, and given what she went through to bring me up, that’s no great sacrifice. If accepting an OBE means that your mum gets a day she’ll never forget, possibly even the best day of her life, it seems to me that’s a good enough reason.

  5. Damon wrote For Tomorrow, End Of A Century, This Is A Low, Chemical World, Sing, Parklife, Best Days, Tracey Jacks, Beetlebum, Death Of A Party, Tender, Out Of Time, Dare, Mr Tembo, Ong Ong and all of The Good The Bad & The Queen album. He also brought Bobby Womack out of retirement for one last album. He co-conceived and bankrolled Africa Express. He also helps bankroll Honest Jons records. As far as I’m concerned, as long as he’s not actually hurting anyone, he can do what he likes.