Richard Strange, 66, is a polymath and a wonderfully flamboyant character. Not only does he run the abundantly eclectic Cabaret Futura – we went to the first series in a strip club in Soho – on the third Monday of every month at The Paradise in Kensal Rise, he’s actually back on tour at this very moment with his band, Doctors of Madness and getting rave reviews. This is a return forty years later. There are a couple this week, one in London at London Gallery 46 on June 1st. For other dates richardstrange.com
WHAT IS YOUR NAME?
HOW OLD ARE YOU?
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am a musician, actor, writer, curator and teacher. I also run a monthly multi-media event called Cabaret Futura in London, which features artistes and entertainers from every discipline in an informal engaged and informed atmosphere. I started the club in Soho in 1980, took a brief 30 year hiatus, and have been back at it for the last 7 years. Cabaret Futura happens the third monday of every month at The Paradise in Kensal Rise.
WHAT DO YOU HAVE NOW THAT YOU DIDN’T HAVE AT 25?
A sense of proportion. A sense of the absurd. A nagging knowledge thatI have long passed the half-way mark! I have a self-confidence in my ability to survive and prosper and to amuse even the most blasé company. Also, I have the certainty that if I hadn’t dared to fail I would not have enjoyed my life half as much.
WHAT ABOUT SEX?
I can honestly say that my sex life is as fulfilling, as exciting and as unpredictable as it has ever been, in fact…more so!
I was lucky enough to meet the most wonderful woman quite by chance 9 years ago, and although she was married with children, within a year we were living together, and she, and her children, have enriched my life in ways that would have been unimaginable. It was not easy, least of all for the kids, but love, and consistency, conquered all! We are now married, and now I cannot imagine a day without speaking to them, wherever they, or I, am in the world.
HOW FREE DO YOU FEEL?
I feel free to express my love and devotion to my friends, my family and my art. I am blessed by all three, and with this blessing comes the responsibility, and the desire, not to do anything that would jeopardise them. I am mindful of other peoples’ feeling and needs (most of the time) and try to be kind and generous. It has never occurred to me that this consideration in any way diminishes my freedom…rather, it enhances it.
WHAT ARE YOU PROUD OF?
I am proud of the fact that I have worked with some of the most celebrated artists of my generation, and have created work (music, writing, and performances) that I believe stand the test of time. I am proud that my son loves me, despite the fact that I left his mother when he was 14, and that my 3 step-children do too. I am proud that I am loved by friends and admired and, occasionally, respected by strangers. I am proud that I know how to make people feel GREAT.
WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?
Curiosity in an ever-changing world. The moment you draw the shutters, you exclude inspiration. There are many things I hate about contemporary life…the politics, the ubiquitous anxiety, the selfishness, the xenophobia, but these things are not new, and all can be either overcome, accommodated or ignored, Working in education with young people is constantly inspiring, as is my wife’s devotion to her work as an academic and a researcher, as well as being a wife, a mother, a sister, a lover, a friend and a muse.
WHERE DOES YOUR CREATIVITY GO?
It gets channeled in various ways..as a creative artist I write music, songs, articles, screenplays; I conceptualise and curate events and I challenge myself to find new worlds to conquer. As an interpretive artist, being an actor and working with others collaboratively is a constant source of pleasure and enduring friendships.
WHAT’S YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIVING?
Dare to Fail. There are two sorts of artists in the world…those who say “Yes” and those who sat “No”. I say “Yes”
I am in no hurry to die. We have lost too many friends, family, and heroes in these last few years.
ARE YOU STILL DREAMING?
Occasionally. My projects are dreams until they materialise.
WHAT WAS A RECENT OUTRAGEOUS ACTION OF YOURS?
My wife would kill me if I told you.