How come you’re here?
I just escaped from the recording studio to come here and contribute to the Higher Colleges of Technology’s 25th anniversary Education Without Borders event, as a United Nations ambassador for UNESCO. But it’s always a pleasure to be here.
In the ’70s your music was described as representing a vision of the future.
The main difference between when I started and now is that we’re always recycling things generation after generation. Rather than being focused on the future, we’re now a lot more focused on vintage brands and nostalgia.
You’ve been married to three famous actresses – Flore Guillard, Charlotte Rampling and Anne Parillaud-Jarre – are actresses your type of lady then?
Not anymore! It’s over now, it was a phase in my life – a long phase – but now I’m cured.
You’re quite a private person aren’t you?
I like organising parties, I have lots of friends, but I don’t feel close to the showbiz world, the music, cinema, celebrity thing. I’m not into this – even if I have been trapped by the media at times.
Are the reports that you considered a move to London as a tax exile untrue?
That is another episode. I love London, I love England. Charlotte Rampling the mother of our children is English, our three children are half-and-half by definition. What happened is I have contacts developing a new project in London, which is actually an academy of electronic music.
Do you have any plans to perform in the Middle East?
It’s been one of my dreams for a long time. When you think of doing an outdoor concert on a large scale, where else but here? For me the Burj Khalifa – this for me is not megalomania, it’s ambition to fulfil a dream. It’s very audacious and it’s also a very poetic symbol towards the [financial] crisis. You feel in the UAE that Westerners have a lot to learn, we should be less arrogant and have more humility about what’s going on in other parts of the world, not just economically but conceptually.
You’ve played to the largest audience ever, of 3.5 million in Moscow in 1997, and were the first Western musician to perform in Communist China. What next? How about a gig on the moon, maybe?
My friend [the science fiction writer] Sir Arthur Charles Clarke said, ‘You know, you could play on the moon’. I said, ‘It’s not reasonable,’ but with the help of Richard Branson, who knows?