Alex James always makes time for his children
ALEX JAMES: 5 THINGS I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
Friday September 23,2011
By Lucy Benyon
FORMER Blur bassist Alex James, 42, lives in Oxfordshire with wife Claire Neate, 41, a video producer, and their five children.
For the past few years I have been creating specialist cheeses at my farm and it has become an absolute passion.
I’m a total foodie and so far I have created three award-winning cheeses: Blue Monday, a creamy Shropshire-style blue, Little Wallop, a goat’s cheese washed in cider brandy and wrapped in vine leaves and Farleigh Wallop, a goat’s cheese with thyme. I have just launched a new supermarket range with cheddar and ketchup and tikka masala. If I see one of my cheeses in a restaurant it means as much as hearing a Blur song on the radio.
Since I became a country gent my taste in music has changed dramatically.
I’ve become a huge fan of classical music and Beethoven is my favourite. His symphonies can reduce me to tears.
I’ve become a huge fan of classical music and Beethoven is my favourite.
Music is part of my identity and I will always love it. As an adolescent I listened to music that reflected my rebellious spirit such as The Smiths and New Order but I also adored Wham! and Duran Duran, which I still love today.
I am also keen on Lady Gaga and Jessie J.
I have three sons, Geronimo, seven and five-year-old twins Artemis and Galileo and two daughters, Sable, three and Beatrix, one. They are a great little gang. I don’t know how people manage with just one or two as ours keep each other wonderfully entertained.
My children have finally made an adult of me and I’m a much better and more efficient person now that I’m a dad. I try to spend as much time with each child as I can as I think that is really important. Claire and I have never let the fact we have a large family stop us from doing anything and we’ll often take off for a weekend camping trip. We’re pretty relaxed about it all and I think that helps.
I also think it’s essential to have time away from being parents. We’ll often get a babysitter so we can have a night of reckless revelry down the pub.
4. The Cotswolds
I live on a wonderful dairy farm in a picturesque corner of west Oxfordshire and I can’t imagine ever living anywhere else.
Claire and I came to the Cotswolds for a weekend before we were married and we both fell in love with the area. Many of our neighbours’ families have been here since the 13th century which gives the place a wonderful sense of community.
I enjoy the glitz and glamour of city life occasionally but what I love so much about the country is the amazing peace and the fact that being surrounded with nature somehow inspires people to embark on the craziest of plans.
I believe human beings can live without a lot of things but what they really need to sustain their souls is a purpose or a place they’re trying to reach.
When I was younger I wasn’t particularly ambitious and Blur just sort of happened to me. As I’ve got older I’ve realised how important it is to decide what you want, no matter how ridiculous and just go for it.
I decided to be a cheese impresario and now I am one. Realising that ambition has made me ridiculously happy. That is the thing with dreams: they don’t have to be sensible just so long as you genuinely believe in them.
I have always had an interest in astronomy and I don’t care how ludicrous it sounds but one day I hope to get into a little space ship and take myself off to Mars. It’s a serious dream and one that I could realistically make happen in my lifetime.