Sunday 19 November 2017

Lily Allen tickled pink for Electric Picnic show


Contented: Lily Allen is now a liberated young lady with her own sense of cool
Contented: Lily Allen is now a liberated young lady with her own sense of cool
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

It's summertime. That time of year when teenagers go off with their friends to sunny destinations and tell lies to their poor parents. Lily Allen was something of an expert at this lark, it seemed. fifteen years of age at the time, the future alt.pop superstar - and one of the headliners at The Electric Picnic at the end of August in Stradbally estate, County Laois - stayed on after some family hols in Ibiza. Lily told her mother that she was staying with friends for a week, "but I ended up being there an extra month. I wasn't staying with friends. I was in a hostel in San Antonio by myself, working for this record shop called Plastic Fantastic and selling Es."

Selling tabs of Ecstasy notwithstanding, Lily went on to give us the soundtrack to the summer of 2006 with her single LDN, where she rhymed Tesco with al fresco and generally carried on like the saviour of British pop music. Lily's debut album Alright, Still (it sold over 2.5 million copies) that year was a revelation of bright-eyed viciousness and street-smart ennui. On Shame On You, the young pop minx put a potential suitor in his place (i.e not in bed with our Lily) when she sang: "Oh my gosh, you must be jokin' me/If you think that you'll be pokin' me". If the male of the species were in any doubt about Lily's prowess at withering scorn, they only had to listen to Not Big from the same album.

When she emerged earlier this summer to promote her new record, Sheezus, she clearly hadn't lost any of her edge. That much was obvious from the title of the album alone: Sheezus is a play on words on the Kanye West album, Yeesus, which is a play on the word of a certain fella called Jesus. Then as soon as Lily started giving interviews to promote her album it is plain she was in fighting form.

"I feel like the general public should know what an arsehole everybody is," she told Q Magazine. "Everyone is so scared about protecting this idea of a fabulous showbiz glamour and the reality is we're all just sucking off some rich dude who owns a vodka brand. That's what we see as an achievement. Maybe people want to believe in it. I believed in it when I was a kid and then I got here and I was disappointed. I want to tell everyone they're lying."

That insouciant spikiness is ever present on Sheezus, not least on I Don't Mind Babe,a song that is rumoured to be about Lily's onetime VBF Kate Moss and her crew...

"I don't mind, babe/Who the f**k are you?" sings Lilly light-heartedly on the chorus, before mentioning, gently, "a bunch of sad old bitches." Lily, who has denied that the song concerns Moss, did say recently, however, that I Don't Mind Babe is about "the people in that showbiz circle were my friends. But almost the second I got pregnant and I wasn't able to go out and party, they were suddenly all quite nasty. There's a way that those people survive, and it's not by being nice.

"The way they make themselves feel powerful is to ostracise other people. I feel blessed to be able to recognise that but at the same time it can still feel pretty shit when you walk into a room full of people and you can feel the eyes looking at you and people laughing. It's hard for me because I will eternally feel like that little bullied girl at school, because that's what I was."

What Lily Allen is now is a liberated young lady with her own sense of cool. Even more so, she is in that place called contented. On Because You Know I Love You, she sings: "Staying home with you is better than sticking things up my nose." It is a reference to Sam Cooper who she met at Glastonbury 2009.

They are now married and have two daughters, two-year-old Ethel and one-year-old Marnie, to stay in with.

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