Damon Albarn in a facemask: Kevin Cummins' best photograph

General Info on Blur

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‘He needed to get on a practice in Tokyo to see what they have been like. He placed on a facemask and did a shiver as a joke. Due to Covid-19, it now seems really prescient’

Blur toured Japan in 1992 and I went with them for NME. It was the first time we’d seen Japanese youngsters sporting facemasks. Damon was intrigued, so he purchased one. Normally once you’re away with a band, you don’t get time to see something of the cities you’re in – and a whole lot of bands aren’t that anyway. But Blur have been keen to discover Tokyo. Damon needed to get on a practice and see what that was like. He seems to be like he’s shivering however I feel it was a joke to fit with the face masking. Again then, it was really uncommon to see a westerner sporting a mask. Because of Covid-19, the picture seems really prescient now.

NME acquired lots of letters concerning the shot. Individuals didn’t understand what was happening. How dare someone show vulnerability? I assumed it might make a very good cowl, but NME all the time needed the duvet star to be instantly recognisable and make eye contact, in order that they ran it inside.

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