The House of Annie Lennox

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The inspiration for songwriting.  I think it starts with this capacity to respond to sound, to rhythm, to melodic line, to chordal progressions.  And also at the core of it is something about needing to express something.  I think that huamn beings are like sponges for all the externals that are affecting them.  Sometimes I get ideas... they just come into my mind and it could be when I’m waking up or it could be when I am in the back of a taxi cab.  That’s a very good place to be.  Why?  Or a train...why?  Because you are just sitting there and there is a moving landscape around you, where you are able to sort of be introspective.  Almost going into the dream world, but not quite.  I’m checking out of the logical world and I’m moving into another kind of consciousness.

If you look at the video for Sweet Dreams, which was all completely Dave’s, totally his conception which is personally I think it’s brilliant.  We put ourselves in the core of the music industry.  We were in a board meeting room with all the chairs and the tables around, and the gold discs on the wall.  We were just on the cusp of explosion in a way, into the international arena of fame.  I don’t know how well we knew that at the time but that’s where we were poised, and there are all kinds of subtexts when you look at ‘Sweet Dreams’, and what it refers to and the planet and the natural world and taking the cow and having this creature juxtaposed within this: on the one hand it’s like nature, on the other hand it’s industry.  And the other hand it’s entertainment. ‘Sweet Dreams’ is like a mantra.  It’s not really like a normal song, it’s a statement about humanity and the human condition. adn it’s jsut saying we are all in this dilemma where we are born, we exist, and we have our motivation which will take you here, take you there, and everybody is looking for something.  That is a truth - it is something that will last forever.

I was trying to figure out as a performer and part of a duo with a man (Dave Stewart)

I was trying to figure out how to present myself.  Who are we?  We were very inspired by Gilbert and George, the amazing performance artists at the time.  I loved the sense that when I stepped on stage, there was an ambiguity - can I say about my gender or my sexuality.  I’m not sure.  It’s very easy to say, ‘ah, ah she must be gay’ but I’m not gay, and that was interesting to me because I’m wearing a mans suit it doesn’t mean i’m gay.  I am using this form of clothing to assert myself to be as good as a man and to sort of neuter down the kind of passivity of my own gender.  I never intended to have an archive but it started really in the Seventies with the Tourists.  We were travelling and doing gigs and people were writing some horrific reviews, some great reviews.  We’d be in the papers and I’d cut out these little cuttings as a scrap book, really, just a keepsake. 

An archive really is a retrospective and I think that is what is lovely because all through my life I’ve always been on to the next.  So just to have the opportunity to take stock, and have it held in a space that poeple can come to and see the accumulation of all these things in one space is almost like a big breath for me, I can look back and go ‘that’s part of the essence of part of my life’ and I can share it with people, and that’s quite a unique thing.

 

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Annie Lennox's success has spanned four decades and she is internationally renowned both for her music and her personal style. This exciting display explores the image and creative vision of the artist. It offers costumes and accessories worn by Lennox, together with photographs, personal treasures and awards, ephemera from the political campaigns she has championed, recorded interviews, music videos and a specially commissioned video of Lennox in conversation.

This display explores the image and creative vision of Annie Lennox... It offers costumes, accessories, photographs, personal treasures and awards...