Gary Numan: Lord of the swords

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Where does an Eighties electro-pop star recharge his batteries when he's not on tour?

Gary Numan's electro-punk hits "Cars" and "Are 'Friends' Electric?" have been sampled by everyone from Basement Jaxx and Sugababes to Nine Inch Nails. As he prepares for a UK tour, he talks about the Sussex home he shares with his wife, Gemma, and his daughters, Raven, four, Persia, two, and Echo, eight months.

I was 21 when I had my first number one, and living with my parents near Staines. My record company called to tell me, and although it had been something I had been waiting for all my life, I didn't know how to react. I think I told my parents and then went back to watching telly. I wanted to be a pop star from a very young age, probably around seven or eight.

My interest in music came as a by-product of my fascination with being a pop star. It was more of a lifestyle decision. I wanted to have lots of girlfriends and loads of money.

For a short time in my early twenties, I lived the dream in LA, staying in a flat not far from the Hollywood hills, while the rest of my band had a huge place near Sunset Boulevard.

When I moved back to England, the first house I bought was on the edge of a golf course in Surrey. I thought it was the countryside, but it was suburban. After that, I bought a place not far from Stansted airport. I lived there for 17 years, and then with the expansion, they bought me out. I was glad to leave. We'd had our first daughter, Raven, and we thought we should go to the area we love the most: the south coast. Now our home is surrounded by 12 acres of grounds and it is just a half-hour drive from the beach.

I could never live in a city. There's too much noise - I'm too vulnerable and it's too unpredictable. You are very much at the mercy of other people. When I have space and peace, I can think and write.

I think this place is fantastic. I couldn't imagine living anywhere other than here. It is a four-bedroom house with three bathrooms that we changed from six bedrooms. The only drawback is the house sits on the edge of the land. It would be much better if the house was in the middle of the land and we were surrounded. Still, when you go out and walk in the grounds, it is almost like walking through a setting for The Lord of the Rings, especially in summer. There's a stream that runs all the way through the gardens and little bridges that we can walk across. I love it.

When we moved here in November 2005, we made a lot of changes. The plan was that it would be ready to move into by January, but we kept changing our minds - we experimented with an awful lot of different colours - and when we did move in, there was still a lot to do. The people who had the house before us had painted it red, then they'd painted it white to sell it. But then we painted it red again.

We have Thai-style portraits in the sitting room that we bought in Eastbourne, and next door I have a small study that is covered in pictures of my other great love, which is flying.

I flew around the world in a little plane in 1981. We started making a film about it, but we got arrested in India under suspicion of spying and smuggling and they took it from us. We had a second attempt, then wound up in Bangkok for a night.

Our bedroom is one of my favourite rooms. It is very calm and relaxing. It is painted dark red with lots of low glitter lights and is at the far end of the second floor. A huge Louis XIV bed dominates the space - it was one of the first things we bought for the house. Unfortunately, we didn't measure it, so we had to sleep for months on end on a mattress, until we had knocked down enough space to accommodate the bed. We were probably here six months before things started to take shape.

Most of the things we did were small and not structural, but it seemed to take for ever. We put in new doors everywhere and fencing all around the garden to protect the children.

On the ground floor, we put in a new fitted kitchen, and next door we have an adjoining dining room. We weren't going to have a dining room - we're not really sit-down-at-the-dinner-table types of people - but we went to Camden one day and happened across a closing-down sale and we bought this amazing dining table and chairs. They look rather Gothic, so match the rest of the house.

I'm very much into The Lord of the Rings, and I love all the swords and things that go with that. The hallway leading down from the first floor has a range of swords hung upon the wall. My wife usually gets me them for birthday or Christmas presents - usually they are film replicas - but I love their look.

Underneath the stairwell, we have a stuffed white Alaskan timber wolf, which is rather unusual, considering we are both into animal rights. I had to save him. I was coming back from America after a tour and the plane had stopped in Seattle for a while. I saw the wolf in the airport shop with children playing on it, and I just thought, "What a horribly undignified way to end your life." So I bought him, with the intention to build a tundra setting around him complete with mural and ice. Then we got this house and we didn't have room for all of that. But he's a happy wolf now and at least he has our own two dogs for company, Puddle and Bear Cub. Maybe one day he'll have his own ice surround.

Gary Numan performs his album 'Replicas' on a 15-date UK tour that starts in February (

Where does an Eighties electro-pop star recharge his batteries when he's not on tour? For Gary Numan, it's a gothic-themed estate in Sussex

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before