The Guardian, Friday 30 August 2013
Bj÷rk: 'My guiltiest pleasure? Self-pity.' Photograph: Rex Features
Bj÷rk Gumundsdˇttir, 47, was born in Iceland. She began singing professionally at the age of 11, releasing her first album in 1977. After her band the Sugarcubes broke up in 1992, she moved to London, where she released her solo albums Debut and Post. In 2000 she won Best Actress at Cannes for her role in Lars von Trier's film Dancer In The Dark. Since 2010 she has been working on Biophilia, which encompasses an album, a live show and an educational programme. On 3 September she brings Biophilia to London's Alexandra Palace. She has two children and lives in Iceland.
When were you happiest?
Merging with nature or merging with people.
What is your greatest fear?
Not merging, running out of energy to merge…
What is your earliest memory?
Being driven to kindergarten by my grandfather. Helping the caretakers there hand out slices of rye bread, thinking I was one of them.
Which living person do you most admire and why?
I find most children quite inspiring.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I have a puritan/perfectionist streak. But it has saved my ass many times.
What would your super power be?
If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
Female facial hair and tails.
What is your favourite smell?
Rhubarb, oxygen in rainforests, inhaling hair closest to skull.
What is your favourite word?
What is your favourite book?
A lot of them! But the only books I've re-read are Ana´s Nin's diaries.
Cat or dog?
I have a cat allergy.
What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
Is it better to give or to receive?
It is best if there is a flow between the two.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
What do you owe your parents?
Integrity and not worrying what other people think.
What does love feel like?
Warmth. The ultimate nourishment.
Have you ever said 'I love you' without meaning it?
What's the worst job you've done?
The travel side to my job right now can be inspiring, but also chaotic.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
To the conception of my children.
When did you last cry, and why?
How do you relax?
Films. We didn't really have television when I was a kid. Around 30 I discovered films and started systematically catching up. I collect interesting documentaries and films, and watch a few nights a week. It has affected my subconscious: it used to be only music – now there is a mix.
What is the closest you've ever come to death?
My grandparents dying three years ago.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
How would you like to be remembered?
It would be flattering to be thought of as someone who celebrated life.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Humility. Let go: all you can do is your best.