Presenting the first act of GQ’s The Performers video series, with songwriter and musician Bobby Gillespie in Tangier. The lead singer of Primal Scream traveled to the Moroccan city to explore his fascination with activist and writer Jean Genet.
Tangier, songwriter and musician Bobby Gillespie recounts the life of his inspiration: activist and writer Jean Genet, who lived in the ancient city in the 60s. Here, Jean Genet’s story and influence is told in Bobby Gillespie’s words.
“The first time I came across Jean Genet’s work was when I was a teenager. His voice gets right inside your head. You’re right there You’re completely involved, completely immersed – it’s almost hallucinatory.”
“Genet, he wrote himself out of prison. It’s kind of like he dreamed his way out and I can relate to that. We dreamed our way out of Glasgow.”
“He was abandoned, he went to prison, he became a thief, he joined the army, he deserted, he re-joined. He had quite a colorful life. He had an affinity for oppressed people, so he was always on the outside of society.”
“Normally the songs that are the hardest to write, are the songs that mean the most to other people. But those are the songs that are the rawest and the most truthful.”
“Genet, he made betrayal a virtue. Never wanted to be controlled by anybody or anything. He had such a strong belief in individual freedom. I think it’s a beautiful thing. You can’t crush the human spirit. Live and let live.”