Alex James: A dedicated follower of farmyard fashion

Rural Notebook
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The Independent Online

I've felt it about the whole of Manhattan, parts of Paris and one or two restaurants in London. Bournemouth beach in high summer has it. So do helicopters, Daylesford and a six-foot circle around Stephen Fry: Glamour. Places that make the whole of the rest of the world seem rather flat, dull by comparison. Not always, but now and then, the farm has glamour. Sometimes all it takes is for the sun to come out.

There might be no one else here at all – just me, the dogs and a handful of sheep in the middle distance and suddenly it seems that the whole of the rest of the world is irrelevant, unappealing. Rain can make this magic thing happen here too, when the fires are blazing, and so can good company.

We did a live broadcast from the farm on Friday. The breakfast show of Shaun Keaveny went out live from the kitchen on BBC 6 Music. It had started to feel extraordinary the afternoon before, when the outside-broadcast truck wobbled up the drive and a team of riggers began to turn the lounge into a stage. The kids were too excited to sleep. By 9am the next morning, the place was brimming with folk minstrels and wise-cracking presenters, the house full of laughter and song.

I'm not sure if there was any good reason behind this little "Harvest Festival" or not. It was one of those things that just happened. I suppose the farm is the natural habitat of the ageing rock gentleman, and in the same way children go to farms to learn where food comes from, perhaps music fans are happy to be connected with farms in the sense of their being the places where rockers go out to pasture. Who knows? But I've never seen so many happy faces around the place.

Out of my shell in London

Some dazzling starry nights this week. I look out there and wonder if I'm like a limpet in a rock pool in Lyme Regis, a limpet that's trying to understand London. We are strengthening our grasp on the furthest reaches of space and time, but sometimes it's nice just to gawp and wonder like a limpet that's just arrived in Leicester Square.

Glowing report on new stove

I've installed a wood-burning stove in one of the sheds. I stoked it up properly for the first time on Saturday, really got it humming. After an hour or so, the whole thing was glowing red, temperature off the scale. Even with the door open, the top oven was cooking pizzas in under 45 seconds. Heaven.

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