And you said your mother's gay, did that present any kind of conflict. Sometimes you hear the thing like you'd be more reticent to come out, because you don't want to be like if my mom's gay...
Oh, I did, yeah. The first few years of would-be sexual activity for me were pretty non-sexual, because I was so annoyed with myself for having done something as obvious as to be gay and come from a gay family. Everything I did as a kid was to try and be different, you know, and doing something unusual. I was always doing something strange, that just came naturally to me. And it just seemed a bit too obvious, do you know what I mean? I was disappointed with myself.
It wasn't that I thought there was anything wrong with being gay, it just seemed too obvious. My brother's straight, both my brothers are straight, but I'm the one who did the obvious thing. So, there's nothing to rebel against. It's very frustrating. She's gay, my dad is an amazing character, very liberal, very free-thinking, amazing music fan. Took me to Glastonbury every year. Let me bunk off school to do musical things. Took me to gigs.
So, I had nothing to rebel against there. You know what I mean? I could grow my hair long, and do what I wanted. And I had nothing to rebel against with my mother's side, because she was a right-on, liberal, lesbian feminist. It was very frustrating, actually.
So, did you finally find something to rebel against, or did you finally give up on finding anything?
Well, the one thing that changed is when I entered the big, wide world and my family... as a family, we had to fight for certain things, to be respected, to be noted, to be seen as a real family. After you start getting involved at school and institutions, that are old-fashioned, you start to realize that, actually, this isn't normal. (laughs) You know? I thought it was normal, my family! But when you start realizing it's not normal, that's when you start realizing that all the politics they spoke about actually mean something.
All the politics I grew up around. I was on Greenham Common when I was four years old, with banners, with the women fighting for nuclear disarmament. And there's me, this little kid. And went to the Pride marches every year, and for me it was a big carnival until I realized that, actually, it meant something. It was actually important what my parents were doing. Then, I stopped trying to rebel against them. I realized it was really worthwhile. And, as a family, we often got treated as a false family, not a real family. And when that happens, you realize it's better to stick together.
Are you still politically active now, as a result of that upbringing?
Yeah, I just think everything I do has got a certain element to it. I'm not a political writer. I don't think what I write musically is obviously political, but there is a message in what I write. The lyrics in some of the songs that I write are certainly are about freedom and about people coming together. So, that's a nicer way to address politics.
And since we have a lot of kids on the site who put music together and record their own stuff, do you have any advice on getting started, whether to be openly gay as a musician...
Definitely be openly gay as a musician. I can't bear these musicians who aren't openly gay. It's very boring. (laughs) And I can't figure out why they don't, unless they're either ashamed of themselves in some way, or they're scared of what someone's going to say. But what it does is it makes it harder for the rest of us. You know?
Every time there's some radio station won't play gay acts, and the gay acts decide they won't say anything, because they won't get played by that station, you're reinforcing this negative behavior. You're reinforcing all these bigots. It's much better that we all come out and say 'Fuck you! We'll do what we want.' That the way I look at it. And it's funny, because a lot of the time, when I was younger, I didn't want to go on about it, especially when I wasn't actively sexual, because it felt really false. You know what I mean? It felt like I'm talking about being gay, but not even doing it. (laughs) But, it's important.
And, otherwise, you'd have girls waiting for you at the stage door.
Oh, they still come.
Check out The Feeling online!
The Feeling UK site
The Feeling US site
The Feeling on MySpace
The Feeling's video for 'Never be Lonely' on YouTube
The Feeling's video for 'Sewn' on YouTube