The 5-minute Interview: Mike Oldfield, Musician

'People think I'm an old hippy and that I smoke dope all the time'
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The Independent Online

The multi-instrumentalist and composer, 54, is best known for his ground-breaking concept album, "Tubular Bells". He lives in Spain and has just released a new album, "Music of the Spheres".

If I weren't talking to you right now, I'd be...

In the marina, playing with one of my two boats. There are dolphins that come into the bay. I'd take a big bag of sardines down and feed them.

A phrase I use too often...

I can't say. It's got lots of rude words in it and my wife would tell me off.

I wish people would take more notice of...

The real environment that we live in, and not just the world around our houses – the planet in general, and the universe.

The most surprising thing in my career was...

Tubular Bells being a hit. People thought it was a ludicrous idea, an album without vocals or drums. I became despondent; no record labels would take it on. Then I got the call from Richard Branson, and it became a worldwide smash. It's the all- time No 1 in the instrumental album chart.

A common misperception of me is...

That I'm an old hippy. It was a label given to me by the culture detectors, who didn't know me and weren't particularly nice about me. I like helicopters and boats and technology. People seem to think I swing beads and smoke dope all the time.

I am not a politician, but...

I'm an ardent Trekkie and I look forward to the United Federation of Planets.

I'm good at...

I think I'm a good father, but that's taken a lifetime of experience. I'm also good at meditation. It involves doing nothing and everything at the same time. I'm good at that as it involves doing very little.

I'm bad at...

Handwriting. It ends up as just one big wiggly line.

The ideal night out is...

Sitting on my big boat and having a nice meal on with family and friends.

In weak moments I...

Would reach for a bottle of wine, but your troubles come back the next morning. So now I reach for the milk and chocolate.

I am a musician but in a truer life I'd have been...

I thought I'd join the RAF and become a wing commander. I realised this wasn't possible, although I do have a pilot's licence.

The best age to be is...

Now. You lose vitality, but you're not insecure and never get embarrassed.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this:

Get your youth over with quickly, but have a good life because before you know it, it's closing time.

Lucy Kinnear

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