Blur: 'We used to take it in turns to punch each other'

Graham Coxon

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Again in Hong Kong, the place they recorded their album The Magic Whip, Damon, Graham, Alex and Dave speak about falling out and making up, the state of British pop music and why 90s Britpop was a wasted alternative

Hong Kong in July is usually a disorientating place for outsiders: the suffocating humidity, the density of human bodies, the mind-jarring collision of east and west. Perhaps the very last thing you want once you’ve arrived there, brain fuddled with jetlag, is a dialog with Damon Albarn in full manic stream. One minute he’s speaking about refusing to leave the stage after a five-hour gig with Africa Categorical (“Am I hooked on work? Clearly”), the subsequent he’s revealing his ardour for selecting wild flowers. Then he begins speaking about fairies ...

“I’ve a home that’s constructed on a bit of land which was a recognised fairy group,” he says, with a straight face, once we meet backstage at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the place Blur are on account of play that night time. “We had to get a fairy lawyer in. When individuals come and stay at my home, they go and provides them an offering just to maintain them comfortable because we’ve built on their land.”

Related: Blur: The Magic Whip review – friends reunited for a beautiful comeback

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