My London: Dave Rowntree
Surrey with my girlfriend, dog, three cats, two sheep and two horses. That’s the benefit of not living in London, you can have a menagerie.
Where was your first London flat?
A ground-floor flat on Parkway, Camden. It had old lead pipe plumbing and every time there was a problem it used to dump water on the flat downstairs. God, I still wake up in a cold sweat thinking about that.
Which shops do you rely on?
Bow Wow is an extraordinary pet shop in Seven Dials that boasts pet fashion collections from London, Paris, Milan and Tokyo. It’s a ridiculous extravagance but a lot of fun.
Where do you recommend for a first date?
Tamarind Kitchen on Wardour Street is an amazing Indian restaurant. It’s quiet but very sultry and romantic. The lighting is low, which benefits a man of my advancing years. The food’s excellent — you don’t want to be eating terrible food on a first date.
Have you ever had a run-in with a London police officer?
I have… after a raucous party one night. The following morning I found myself in Kentish Town police station. I couldn’t explain my way home to the cab driver apparently, so he took me there and the police very kindly let me sleep it off. That was the beginning of the end of my drinking career.
Where do you let your hair down?
My favourite venue of all time is the Brixton Academy. I’ve seen some extraordinary gigs there but the most extraordinary gig I didn’t see was the Pixies back in their good old days. I’m still kicking myself.
Bowie and I swapped books. Mine was ‘The Shocking History of Phosphorus’
Who is your hero?
I’ve always loved David Bowie. I was lucky enough to meet him in Philadelphia — he was in this massive stadium and we were playing this little gig next door. He saw us play and then invited us to his show. One of the things you do on tours is read an awful lot — you get through book after book after book, and are always looking for the next one, so Bowie and I swapped books. Mine was The Shocking History of Phosphorus. I’ve no idea what David gave me. I should have framed it.
What are you up to at the moment?
I’ve got my own solo album, Radio Songs, coming out and rehearsals for the Blur show. It’s a big, exciting year. Wembley Stadium was very hard to turn down, it’s so iconic and the place where all of my heroes have played.
Most iconic Londoner in history?
It still sounds weird in my ears to not say the Queen but King Charles — who has really come into his own as of late. I really hope he succeeds.
What bands would you like to see reunite?
Oasis, come on lads, get it together and make up! That’s the other thing I’d do if I was Mayor. I’d get the Oasis boys in a room and bash their heads together. Honestly, it’s been way too long, no argument should last this number of years.
Shall we expect another Britpop battle?
We wound each other up but both bands exploited the media’s interest. I still get asked the Oasis question at the end of every interview. That’s always the last question, just in case I’m so annoyed that I slam down the Zoom camera in anger.
Well, my last question is, as you were part of the team that launched the Beagle 2 Mars lander, will you be conquering Mars any time soon?
I think that the current technological limitations to take our guitars and drums up to Mars and play a gig there is beyond even Blur. There’s no atmosphere!
‘Radio Songs’ by Dave Rowntree is out now