My Secret Life: Suggs, 51, musician


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The Independent Online

The household I grew up in... a very nice flat above Maples the carpet shop on the corner of Tottenham Court Road with my mum. It was a 10-minute walk to the heart of Camden Town and 10 minutes the other way to the heart of Soho.

When I was a child I wanted to be... a footballer.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... sculpture.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... beekeeping. My wife and I tried to keep bees and they all died. I think it's a Europe-wide problem – I'm not taking it personally.

At night I dream of... I have very vivid dreams, and recurring anxiety ones about going on stage and losing the microphone or my trousers falling down.

I wish I had never worn... brand-new hiking boots when I did a charity walk from Canterbury to Whitstable. Everyone else was in trainers, because we were walking on the road. I made it as far as the first station and then suffered the ignominy of turning up in Whitstable on the train.

What I see when I look in the mirror... An old man who is getting older all the time.

I drive/ride... a Vespa scooter.

My house is... a terraced Victorian house in north London.

My favourite building... A beach hut. Sitting in a beach hut making a cup of tea is a great pleasure.

A book that changed me... Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. I never realised that anyone could describe so clearly the ups and downs and bleakness of the transition between teenage and adult life.

Movie heaven... Oliver!

The last album I bought/downloaded... Paul Weller's new album, Sonik Kicks.

My secret crush... Spongebob Squarepants.

My favourite item of clothing... Florsheim brogues. Americans call them Wingtips.

My real-life villains... The people who designed those horrible shopping centres in most of the towns in Great Britain.

The last time I cried... Watching MasterChef. I just get so involved! They put so much effort in and then you've got the two pantomime dames – John and Gregg – egging it all along beautifully.

My five-year plan... To replicate myself a trillion-fold and send myself to all the habitable planets in all the known universe and report back in case I've missed anything.

What's the point? To really appreciate the odd days of unbridled joy that pop up along the way.


Graham McPherson was born in 1961; his mother was a jazz singer and he grew up in London's Soho. He began calling himself Suggs while still at school. He was asked to join a band as a teenager – they went on to become the successful ska band Madness. With Suggs as their frontman, they released hits such as 'House of Fun' and 'Baggy Trousers'. Madness go on tour from November. Suggs is the ambassador for the new Camden Town iPhone app. He lives in north London with his wife