Bob Geldof on death of daughter Peaches: 'I'm walking down the street and suddenly there's an awareness of her and I buckle'

The Live Aid founder and Boomtown Rats frontman gives his first televised interview since his daughter died

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The Independent Online

Bob Geldof has spoken of his intense grief after losing his daughter Peaches, in his first televised interview since her death.

Talking to Lorraine Kelly on ITV, he described losing the 25-year-old as “intolerable”.

“You just keep going, there’s not many options,” he said.

“It’s intolerable, it’s very hard as everyone must realise, especially if it has happened to them too. Then what else do you do? You get on with it.”

He explained that music has been his therapy since Peaches's death on 7 April.

Performing, he says, leaves him “physically exhausted and mentally clear”.

“Being on stage is entirely cathartic, it just clears your head,” he said. “Just before I came on, I was talking to one of your producers and the guy that does my telly, and they were saying that for years they’ve done yoga. And I can’t get my head around that at all.

“But I just get on a stage and go mad. If I dwell on the words sometimes, I find it hard to struggle through the song as they take on whole meanings that I never meant when I wrote them.”

He named one Boomtown Rats track, entitled "Diamond Smiles", as having more resonance than ever before for him.

“I was writing about a girl I read about in one of the papers; she was a socialite and she went to a posh party – it was only a small item, but it struck me,” he recalled.

“She went to this party, she went upstairs and then she hanged herself. It was the tiniest of pieces. And I think somebody said that she was the brightest of diamonds and I called the song "Diamond Smiles". If I really think about those words – and usually I’m in the zone of that song – it’s too bizarre. It’s too telling if it’s about Paula or Peaches.”

A preliminary inquest into Geldof’s sudden passing ruled heroin to be a “likely” cause. She left behind her husband, musician Thomas Cohen, and their two young children, 11-month-old son, Phaedra and 23-month-old son Astala.

He said that his way of coping with the tragedy is to go into “organisation mode” which serves as a distraction, although sometimes grief hits him unexpectedly.

“You’ll be walking down the road and suddenly, out of the blue, there’s an awareness of her. And I buckle,” he said.

“I've got to be careful because when you’re walking down the King’s Road there are paps, so I have to duck off into a lane, blub for a while and get on with it. And that’s it. I imagine that’ll be there for a while.”

Although he stated that he didn’t want the interview to be a “blub-fest” or to “emote on television”, he thanked the public for their heartfelt condolences.

“We were overwhelmed by people writing to us and in the kindest way; just complete strangers who felt it,” he said, before noting the “impact” his daughter had had on her generation.

“People would come up to me and say, ‘You’re Peaches Geldof’s  dad aren’t you?’ And I liked it. I liked being Peaches Geldof’s dad.”

He is soon to marry his long-term girlfriend of 20 years, French actress, Jeanne Marine, who he proposed to in the wake of Peaches's death.

He had planned to ask her to marry him anyway, but following his daughter’s sudden death, he felt it even more important to do so.

He hopes that the wedding will happen before The Boomtown Rats forthcoming tour, which starts in October.

“Then Peaches died and things were very bleak and I thought, How do we move forward?’ Not move on - time doesn’t heal, it finds an available space in your brain and you can kind of stick that part in there and it allows you to see things in context.

“I didn’t want to rush it or anything, but I was going to do it anyway and I thought, ‘We need to let some light into the room; some light into this air.”