Interview Richard Thompson at 70: on love, loss and being a Muslim in Trump’s US

Editor’s Note:    We give you here the paragraph dealing with Richard Thompson and his being a Muslim. For the full interview please go to source:

Source: The Guardian

The master of British folk music has weathered a second divorce and lives in the US where ‘Trump has ramped up bigotry considerably’. At least ex-wife Linda has forgiven him

… It was during his marriage to Linda that Richard discovered Islam. The son of a Scottish policeman, he was brought up as a Presbyterian “which I was not interested in. I became a Muslim when I was 23 and have been one ever since.” He discovered Sufism, a mystical form of Islam, after visiting “a very old esoteric bookshop, Watkins in Covent Garden, and started reading about it”. On the cover of their 1975 album Pour Down Like Silver, he and Linda are dressed in turban and headscarf, and for the next three years the couple disappeared from the music scene to spend much of their time in Islamic communities in London and then Norfolk. “And it was a community, not a commune,” said Richard. “Commune implies sharing out the carrots!”

Linda hated it. “Sufism had appealed to me, but the guy who ran it was bit of a tyrant. There was lots of praying and guilt, and women were so subservient.” Richard, who was attracted to Sufism by “the nobility of being … it seemed like the way human being should be,” agreed that it wasn’t ideal. “It was full of human foibles. People are lustful, jealous, God knows what. But then we visited a sheikh in Morocco and saw the other side of it. And it was all wonderful.”

By 1982 the marriage was at an end, but the deserved success of the Shoot Out the Lights album led to an infamous US tour. “I was living on booze and antidepressants,” Linda says. “I was so angry I was kicking and hitting Richard on stage. I trashed a dressing room, stole a car and got arrested. But it was good for my voice. I guess because I was so heartbroken it freed me up. The dysphonia wasn’t too bad in those days. At the end of the tour Richard rang and said: ‘Bruce Springsteen is male singer of the year and you are female singer of the year.’ Was it in Time or Rolling Stone? I think both. Like everything, good comes out of bad.” 

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