Debbie Harry: What I've Learned

"I would never kill an animal but I like firing guns. I'm an American"

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I don’t have enough vices. I allow myself one or two cigarettes a day; I’m not much of a drinker; I don’t do drugs any more. I’m a total bore.

Deborah’s a prettier name than Debbie, which is more for a younger girl. Debs. Deb. I don’t object to any of it, really.

I’ve gone out with friends of friends - I’ve been introduced to people that way - so, I guess you could consider that a blind date. What do they call that quick dating thing? Speed dating! See, that’s for me but I’ve never done it. Am I courting at the moment? Not specifically, no. I’ve got a couple of options, which isn’t bad.

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A man mailed me his hair. That was in the Eighties. It was this black, braided ponytail. I still have it somewhere. Really.

Andy Warhol always took the photographs for his portraits. He used a very interesting Polaroid camera that looked like a shoebox. It was probably the cheapest camera you can get. You had to sit quite still.

People always surprise you. There’s usually something in everyone that you can find to make them likeable if you have the patience to wait.

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The Debbie Harry Barbie doll? That was an interesting meeting. The people that design Barbie speak of her as a real person: “She wouldn’t like that and she wouldn’t like this.” They were very careful about the dress and the shoes. Sadly, I’m a little bit too old for Barbie.

I would never kill an animal but I enjoy skeet shooting. I like firing guns. I’m an American.

I grew up in a small town in New Jersey. I couldn’t say what the population was, maybe 20,000 people when I was a child. It was very blue-collar. There was a main street, there was a crossroads and that was pretty much it; there weren’t flourishing shopping malls or anything like that. My father worked
in sales in the Garment Center in New York City so he commuted; I guess without traffic it was probably a good hour. My mother was a housewife and sometimes a part-time secretary or office worker.

The Vicar of Dibley is fucking great. Father Ted, too. QI makes me laugh a lot, although some of the humour is beyond me.

Men are under so much pressure to be manly. That’s not as comfortable as it is for women to be womanly, that’s for sure. It’s stressful to be a man.

I wasn’t keen to do The Muppet Show at first, then I saw Dizzy Gillespie on it. I love Dizzy Gillespie. It’s remarkable. You see the Muppets on TV and they have character and everything but you think, “Well, they’re just puppets”. When you get there, it’s like they’re alive. I was disappointed that Miss Piggy wouldn’t be on the show with me. I never quite understood that. I felt that we could have been friends.

Morning hours are the best for me. I should have been a farmer.

I’m comfortable being around guys. I’m comfortable around certain types of women, but I’m kind of bold. I have other sides to my nature but I don’t necessarily live within the rules of feminine behaviour.

My favourite swear word is “fuck”. Not too original. Now that I have so many godchildren, it’s not a good idea to use that in conversation — it can slip out at the wrong time. I know that I used to say “shit” a lot before I even knew what shit was.

Woodstock was breathtaking but messy. You needed your wellies.

Being pretty is a commercial asset; it’s a commodity with a high price. I say to myself, “You’re getting on, your looks are going to fade. What are you going to do then?” I guess I’m going to live and learn. Dame Judi Dench is a beautiful woman who’s ageing wonderfully well and she’s a great example. She’s luscious.

Initially, my favourite Beatle was Ringo, but I think I went through all of them. He was so cute and happy and I liked the way he played. He had such a springy beat.

One time when I was doing heroin, I felt like, “Uh-oh, I’m glad I didn’t do too much more of this.” It was not good. I never had a super-bad acid trip. Uncomfortable, yes - wishing it was over - but not one of those psychotic events. Basically, I’m a cheap date; substances work on me really easily so I don’t need a lot. I’m kind of tripped-out anyway.

I’ve started seeing a nutritionist. He’s got me off the coffee. I’m learning to love tea.

My natural hair colour now is probably a mottled grey with white streaks and brown. Patchy. When I was a girl, it was golden brown, then darker brown, then absolutely mousey brown. And then blonde.

I like swimming in the ocean. Don’t love swimming in pools that much. Fucking in the pool is actually kind of nice.

Before Blondie, I had a lot of different jobs. I liked waitressing. There’s a lot of cash involved, so it was sort of a tax-free income. I mean, you had to report a certain amount of it, but I abused that.

I was four when I found out I was adopted. Every time you go for a medical exam they say, “What is your parents’ history?” I don’t know. I did for a long time think perhaps that’s sort of a creative edge, to not be held back by some preordained thought process that your genetic code is going to be this. Do I know what I was going to be called before I was put up for adoption? Yes, back then Angela was my name.

It’s taken me years to overcome some ridiculous shyness. I can be pretty sensitive, but I put up a good front.


Keith Richards
Ozzy Osbourne
David Bailey

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