Slow life

Slow Life | 17 October 2009

It’s quite unusual to eat similar things together. If we’re having carrots, for example, it’s normal to eat only one type of carrot, but anyone who was to taste three completely different carrots one after the other — say a biodynamic baby carrot, a medium-sized organic purple one and a fat luminous orange one —

Slow Life | 3 October 2009

I played Big Brownie in the Bournemouth scouts’ Gang Show at the Pavilion Theatre when I was 12 years old. That was the first time I had a dressing room. I must have spent a vast amount of time in dressing rooms from Greenland to New South Wales since then, countless hours and not so

Slow Life | 19 September 2009

There is a line from J.B Priestley, from the novel The Image Men, which I’ve just started again. It’s a line spoken by an almost supernaturally clever character and goes something like ‘Relationships, on the cocktail-party level, are tedious. Parties are such a bore.’ And since I got married, I’ve found this audacious summary of

Slow Life | 5 September 2009

We were about to leave. The bags were packed and loaded, the kids were strapped into the car. I embraced our host. He drained his glass, grinned, raised it and then hurled it through the air with a long, windmilling arm. It was a big throw, the biggest he could manage and the thing seemed

Slow Life | 22 August 2009

It was ten o’clock in Bournemouth, Saturday night: silent and still with a faint hint of chilliness under the stars at Hengistbury Head, where my parents live. My wife, children and I had spent a gentle week with them, pottering and pootling. No better place for it either. Hengistbury Head is right at the other

Slow Life | 25 July 2009

First day of the holidays and I’d promised the kids I’d take them to Oxford. As I reflect on this fatherly gesture of kindness, I realise it was for my benefit more than theirs. Specifically, they wanted to go to the toyshop on the ring road. That was all they wanted to do. Centuries of

Slow Life | 11 July 2009

‘I wish I could be inside your head,’ she said, ‘on Sunday at Glastonbury. How must it feel to play to so many people?’ She wasn’t just saying it either. She really meant it, longed to know how it feels. Thinking about it now, I’m wondering whether the first bit is an appropriate thing for

Slow Life | 27 June 2009

Doing what I’m told ‘Do you still do music at all?’ she asked. I think I’ve told you before. That is a musician’s least favourite question. Normally my heart sinks when I get prodded with that one. All musicians still make music, of course they do, and it’s soul-destroying to be reminded that no one

Slow Life | 13 June 2009

My heart’s beating faster. I’ve been completely immersed in pop music all week. Spent the days playing bass with Blur in a rehearsal studio complex, a dozen or more sticky soundproof cells right next to Pentonville Prison: overhearing The Pretenders, Ash and Feeder on my way to the bog; unidentified waterfalls of soul and volcanoes

Slow Life | 30 May 2009

Just slightly less brilliant than it had been outside, the weather suddenly became ordinary again: the heavens giving the correct salute to everything returning to routine. It had been a perfect long weekend. I can’t remember a nicer one. All thoughts of destination, deadline and doubt disappearing in the long and certain kiss of summertime,

Slow Life | 16 May 2009

If there’s one thing that’s nicer than going on holiday, it’s getting home again. Particularly this time: the whole week we spent away, I was excited about coming home. It was a great holiday, soft splashing waves, sunshine and unfamiliar cheeses: the whole Bounty bar paradise package. I couldn’t have asked for more, but I’d

Slow Life | 2 May 2009

I was in a heavy metal band once, kind of by accident, couldn’t help myself: said I’d play a couple of songs with them at a party and that was that, joined the circus. That band was called Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction and I loved them for many reasons: looked great; one really,

Slow Life | 18 April 2009

Possibly, the shoe was where it all started to go wrong for us as a species. Possibly, I say, the shoe represents the end of paradise. Possibly, we donned our size 12s and stomped right out of Eden. There we’d been, running barefoot through the trees with the sun on our faces, reconnecting with mother

Slow Life | 4 April 2009

A marshmallow completely failed to live up to its promise yesterday. It’s a good while since I tasted a marshmallow and I was convinced it was going to be gorgeous. Inevitable, I suppose, one’s changing tastes, but somehow it always comes as a surprise when I find I don’t like things any more. Recently, certain

Slow Life | 7 March 2009

Who knows when the sunshine of the sublime will pop out, which cloud the next wonderful thing is hiding behind? It’s rarely where I think it’s going to be. No. Inspiration never comes when it’s expected. I took Concorde once, expecting an unforgettably seamless, gentle hover in the stratosphere, a finely balanced tête-a-tête with luxury

Slow Life | 21 February 2009

Child’s play During the night or behind a cloud the sunshine had changed colour, and now as it shone all over me it launched cascades of contemplation, pleasant images flashing like fireworks as it smashed into my closed eyelids. Bang, bang, bang and involuntarily I was carried off, launched headlong down a fast-flowing river of

Slow Life | 7 February 2009

I wonder how much of what we think we love and need is merely habit. It’s only ten weeks since I stopped smoking 100 a day and now I hardly think about it. For sure, I fancy one occasionally, but I suppose I could say the same thing about women, and I’m happily married. Really,

Slow Life | 24 January 2009

I said ‘bollocks’ on live daytime television last week, on a Sunday of all days. My children were watching, too. There were complaints, and quite right. I felt bad about it, even though it was absolutely the mot juste. I got rather carried away, frustrated that a good-looking boy with a lot of potential had

Slow Life | 10 January 2009

There were four brothers. They’d just been left their uncle’s farm in his will, a few dozen acres of Leicestershire. It was a fairly standard small-farm package. They’d all grown up with the place, working there through the summers: a red-brick farmhouse, pretty but practically derelict with a mixed bag of cute, lopsided outbuildings —

Slow life | 20 December 2008

It’s underrated, winter. I love it all the way to spring, but Christmas is absolutely my favourite time of the year. It was an utterly immaculate morning this morning: festive with the startling glamour of a snap frost, a brittle dawn. Pale clear skies screaming forever over a frozen landscape, the horizon a curtain of