My Secret Life: Carl Barât, musician, 32

My parents were... two very different peas in a pod, I'm not sure quite how they ever ended up with each other. I love them dearly.

The house/flat I grew up in... A pretty generous council house outside of Basingstoke. There were a lot of us kids – it went between The Famous Five and Ken Loach.

When I was a child I wanted to... My father has told me I wanted to be a lawyer, but I think life told me otherwise.

If I could change one thing about myself... I'd change most things.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at... The things that I think I am very good at and the things I am actually good at are quite different. I thought I was very good at badminton, but I recently went to play and I wasn't very good at all.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... badminton.

At night I dream of... I have very filmic dreams, they're kind of like that film Inception – they travel through a lot of layers. I'm sure my subconscious is a lot more intelligent than my actual consciousness. I'm a genius encapsulating the universe at night-time, but then in the morning I'm a total dunce. It's a shame to have to return to that.

I wish I'd never worn... a ponytail; a long, maybe slightly greasy ponytail that I think presented me with two years of accidental celibacy.

My favourite item of clothing... My Doc Martens boots, although they're on their way out.

I drive/ride... I don't really. I guess I ride a bus.

It's not fashionable but I like... turn-ups.

My house is... clean, airy, and well lit: a perfect environment for a child. Our cleaner's been today, though, so I don't know how long it will last.

A book that changed me... Catch 22 was one of the first books I read that I really lost myself in. Having only read it once, I find that I still miss the characters to this day.

My favourite work of art... Hogarth's Marriage A-la-Mode. There's just so much going on in it – over the six panels you see the humour and the skill, and how it was obviously so socially relevant and important at the time, but it is so whimsical and humorous now.

The last album I bought/downloaded... Jackie Wilson's Ten Greatest Hits, because people keep stealing it from me.

Movie heaven... From Chaplin, and Powell and Pressburger, to Terminator and Back to the Future.

My greatest regret... Not knowing what I had when I had it.

My secret crush is... Driver Bob Parkhurst, in Blackadder Goes Forth.

My real-life villains... The Ant Hill Mob.

The last time I cried... I think it was watching an episode of Quincy the other day.

The person who really makes me laugh... Russell Brand.

My five-year plan... To write the perfect song, and forget the past.

What's the point? To bring people together.

My life in six words... Well, it seems fine so far.

A life in brief

Carl Barât was born in 1978. He studied drama at Brunel University, but dropped out after meeting Pete Doherty, with whom he formed The Libertines. They released two albums, Up the Bracket in 2002 and 2004's The Libertines, before disbanding that year. In 2005, Barât created the band Dirty Pretty Things. In 2010, he released a solo album, published a memoir, acted alongside Sadie Frost in the play Fool for Love and joined indie supergroup The Bottletop Band. Barât is supporting the Philips "Obsessed with Sound" campaign (

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