My Secret Life: Ray Davies, Musician, 66 - Profiles - People - The Independent

My Secret Life: Ray Davies, Musician, 66


My parents were ... working class, but very supportive of our family of eight children. They moved from the city to the suburbs after the Second World War to give us a fresh start. They were both from Islington, and the street they lived in had been bombed during the war.

The house/flat I grew up in ... was crowded, as you can imagine, but it meant there was always someone on hand to talk to. Everybody shared good times and bad. My parents encouraged music around the house, and my six sisters were a lot older, so I heard a lot of music from their post-war generation: Fifties pop and big band music.

When I was a child I wanted to ... run faster than anybody at school.

If I could change one thing about myself ... it would be my tendency to worry about nothing.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... listening to people's problems, and cooking. I'm a vegetarian, although I eat fish occasionally. I have a couple of vegetarian dishes I've patented. I love to surprise non-veggies – they say: "That was incredible", and then they're totally shocked to hear that there's no meat in it.

You wouldn't know it but I'm no good at ... appreciating my own abilities.

At night I dream of ... various things, but usually a world where everyone is content. You can imagine how disappointed I am when I wake up.

What I see when I look in the mirror ... is an often misunderstood, uncomplicated man.

I wish I'd never worn ... our first stage clothes: leather trimmings and kinky caps.

I drive ... a Fiat.

My house is ... cluttered with bits of paper I do not need and lyrics written on receipts.

My favourite work of art ... is an image of my daughters when they were around five years old playing on slides and swings at the local park.

It's not fashionable but I like ... tea and biscuits – not Jaffa Cakes, mind, I'm more of a shortbread guy.

My favourite building ... is no longer standing: Highbury Stadium. It was built in the art deco style, and for a football stadium it was a beautiful design – not like the Lego sets that go up today. The building was so familiar to me as a child, from being taken to see Arsenal play.

My secret crush is ... Glenda Jackson MP. My ex-wife. Jeanne Moreau. Actually, Jeanne would win hands down. She asked me out to dinner once, and I couldn't do it. I've always loved her films – she had the greatest face.

Movie heaven ... Greta Garbo, Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant and Lauren Bacall. Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, Walter Matthau and Billy Wilder. To name just a few.

A book that changed me ... George Orwell's "1984", and "Under Milk Wood" by Dylan Thomas – because they both frightened me.

My greatest regret ... giving [the album] "Working Man's Café" to a record company that in turn gave it away with a Sunday supplement.

My real-life villains ... most politicians and authority figures.

The last time I cried ... when Pete [Quaife, the original bassist for The Kinks] died.

My five-year plan ... each year to be a better, more contented person.

My life in six words ... competitive, ambitious, understanding, joy, acceptance, love.

A life in brief

Ray Davies was born in Muswell Hill, London in 1944. In 1964, The Kinks – the band formed with his brother, Dave – signed with Pye Records. The Kinks' string of successful singles and albums helped define the era. Davies has also recorded and performed solo since 1985. In 2003 he was awarded a CBE for services to music. His new album, "See My Friends", a compilation of Kinks tracks recorded with collaborators such as Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, and Mumford & Sons, is out now

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