How We Met: Mathew Horne & James Walsh

'He fouled me. I said, "Oi, I bought your bloody album." And I didn't see him again for two years'
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The Independent Online

James Walsh, 28, is the lead singer of the award-winning indie band Starsailor, whose first two albums hit number two in the UK charts. He lives in north London with his wife and two children

I first encountered Mat three years ago in the heat of battle during a charity football tournament. The ball hit me and it was one of those did it hit the shoulder or the arm things. He shouted, "Handball, handball, free kick," and I said, "It wasn't a free kick, you wanker." He turned round and said, "Don't call me a wanker, I like your band." I felt really guilty; he was so gracious and seemed a bit crestfallen that I'd had a go.

I didn't see Mat for a long time after that, until I bumped into him again at a gig I was performing last summer. We got chatting, and I apologised about the match. He says he still tells people that story. We ended up at [the members' bar] Shoreditch House in London, drinking till 4am, and everything changed over a few sambucas. We got on so well that we went together to the Radio 1 Big Weekend the following Saturday, and he took me to see White Lies, which I was pretty impressed by. We both have a love of music – it's what we talk about most; we're both Britpop kids and love the Charlatans and Oasis and all that carry-on.

When we're out, he gets a lot more recognition than me. People are often coming up to him and asking for autographs; it just shows the power of Gavin and Stacey. It's quite strange and I guess it can be kind of annoying if you're out with him, but it comes with the job; he's always gracious about it, though.

We're both quite shy and awkward at times. Outside his comedy, he's not the most flamboyant of people and I think we click in that respect: two people who are not your obvious candidates for success and fame, trying to make the best of it.

He's one of those people who can be relied on to come out for a drink or go to a gig if he's available. We've both got mates who come out with us and can outdrink us every night of the week, so we can hide in the background and drink slowly.

Considering what's going on for him at the moment, the recurring word from Mat I hear is "mad". I'll ask him what it was like presenting the Brits, and he'll go, "Brilliant, but mad." I was in Belgium when he was doing that – that's the different path our careers have taken. He's big news in the UK, and I think he's coping well with being in the limelight, but it's hard to sustain that sort of success. I tell him to enjoy it, make the best of it, but develop relationships with people that will last, so when things aren't going as well there's people to fall back on.

Mathew Horne, 30, is a comedian and actor best known for his roles in The Catherine Tate Show and the BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey. He now has his own sketch show, Horne & Corden, while his first feature film, Lesbian Vampire Killers, opened this week. He lives in east London

James dresses like the lead singer of a northern band, and he always has. It's the indie chic look: boots, scruffy jeans, unironed shirt, reasonably unkempt. We first met at a charity football match a few years back. I used to listen to him at college – I have all his albums – and I thought he had the most incredible soaring voice, so when I found out we were going to be playing against each other I was excited. It was a fairly tacky celebrity game full of ex-Big Brother people, and there was some sort of incident with James – I think I shouted "Handball", and after that he fouled me, and I said, "Oi, I bought your bloody album!" I couldn't believe he'd had a go at me. I didn't see him again for a couple of years.

Then last June I went to a Charlatans gig at the Hard Rock Café, and James was there supporting them. I met him in the toilets and we talked about that time we played football and had a laugh about the whole thing. We all went out afterwards with my mates and we just clicked, and we've stayed in touch ever since.

We hang out in the pub and go to see bands play live at various venues. As we both share a love of music we give each other a lot of recommendations; I took him to see White Lies last year at Radio 1's Big Weekend and just today he was telling me about the new Doves stuff.

I think we're very different on a lot of levels, though; he's relaxed and easygoing, which is nice for me as I'm really uptight. And while he's younger then me, he seems a lot older; he's had success quite early on. The past year has been by far the biggest of my life career-wise, and I've found the fame quite overwhelming – there was a period just after the Baftas when it all went a bit silly – but for James, I'm not sure the fame has affected him that much; he's so chilled, he's almost horizontal.

It's a young friendship and as we've both been so busy this past year, we've not seen as much of each other as we'd have liked, but there's a real connection. We're both from the north and there's something about northerners living down south – a manner or a way – and it's a common theme between us. We like to have a joke, too; he talks about the bands that are more successful than him and how bitter he is about it, and I laugh at him and tell him he should sing better.

'All the Plans', by Starsailor, is out now on Virgin Records www.starsailor.net). 'Horne & Corden' is on BBC3 on Thursdays; 'Lesbian Vampire Killers' (15) is in cinemas now

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