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Polly Borland on Michael Hutchence

In their own words

Recorded 2017

Polly Borland on Michael Hutchence
Audio: 1 minutes 24 seconds

I’d known Michael when I was younger. And I’d done, actually, with Richard Lowenstein and INXS music video. You know, and it was the song that I think broke them in America, What You Need. But when I went it to do the photo of him it was really in the dark. Paula was there, they were living together with all her kids in a house in West London. There was something about the whole situation that didn’t feel quite right. You know, they were sort of under siege, you know there was all that kind of press, really awful kind of attention that the English press are very good at doing. Also they were in the bitter battle with Bob Geldof, and he was quite vocal about that. I mean later I found out kind of what was going on, and the way he talked about it, he felt like he was embattled.

I think that photo’s really good. I don’t know why I would put it as one of my favourites but in a way it’s a really powerful photo and I think it also’s almost like a prediction. I mean he was extraordinary as a performer, as a talent and he was extremely charismatic, I mean, he was incredible. You know in a way there’s a kind of a Christ-like feeling to that photo, you know it’s almost like he was the sacrificial lamb or something ‘cos I think there was a real purity and naivety to Michael, and he was really a nice person. But he was kind of exploited I really feel. It’s sort of a sad photo and it’s quite hard, that photo, there’s something quite gritty about it. But yeah, he was a beautiful person. A beautiful person that shouldn’t have ended up dead when he did.

Acknowledgements

This recording was made during interviews for the National Portrait Gallery's Portrait Stories series.

Related people

Michael Hutchence

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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