Alex James: Down at The Depot, where there's a proper tealady

Share
Related Topics

The house sold, we bid farewell and left Covent Garden for the last time at midnight. It's a midnight kind of place. One of the chorus of Jerry Springer - The Opera was leaning out of a dressing room window as we packed the contents of the fridge and various other overlooked whatsits into the car. "Where you goin nen?" he asked. "We're gonna miss you."

I wondered if this was because there were no curtains on the arched part of our bedroom windows, meaning the dressing rooms on the upper floors of the Cambridge Theatre could see just what we were up to in the bedroom. There were no curtains on the dressing rooms either.

"Oxfordshire," I said.

She'd had us down for Provence but I'm not ready for that yet; we were off down the A40 - after a quick detour to The Depot. If Top of the Pops and CDUK are the shit-eating grin of showbiz, then The Depot in Brewery Road, London N1, is rock's tradesman's entrance. It's a huge, grimy, grey warehouse where you can stage anything from a band practice to a full production rehearsal or even a TV series. It's like a Hollywood lot. When you book The Depot, you get everything that you don't see on the telly and nothing that you do. It's the bare bones. Instead of Cat Deeley, there's a proper faggy tea lady. I love The Depot. There are a lot of men with Maglites and hangovers, a lot of stairways and goods lifts. Who knows what it was originally, or who it belongs to, but there are as I write probably more famous people in The Depot than there are in the Wolseley.

If you ran a live feed from Studio 2 you'd have a sort of reality celebrity music programme. Could be good. A lot of bands store all their gear at The Depot. Flight cases, amplifiers, weird guitars and effects boxes. Music's ephemera are all there. I wanted to poke around Blur's cage to see if there was anything I could throw on the removal lorry. There was a flute I'd bought in Seattle and completely forgotten about, a weird member of the bass family made mainly out of pigskin - can't remember what it's called - various unfashionable guitars, and most importantly, Lovetone Meatball, which I thought was lost. They don't make these guitar effects pedals any more.

Ah, the music warehouse. It's like a Santa's Grotto. We went upstairs to listen to Mel C's new band rehearsing through the wall, and passed cages belonging to The Darkness and Primal Scream - I spotted two Meatballs in their storage area.

All that gear. I often find myself bewildered by my lack of knowledge about it, but actually, all you need to make music is confidence - that's about 90 per cent of it, unless you've got a good haircut, in which case you don't need so much confidence.

At the other end of the A40, in 200 acres of sheep, are new vastnesses of bewilderment. When I bought the farm I had been a vegetarian for 20 years. But I realised I would need to learn about getting rid of death-watch beetle, woodworm, rooks, rabbits, rodents, ragwort, dock and thistle: you name it, I controlled it. It's going to take a little while.

Land management amounts to a benign dictatorship; Old Testament God striking down with great force on the enemy species. In London, pigeons are a real nuisance. Here too, they prevail, but they're not too much of a bother. I found myself taking imaginary aim at a couple in the garden only to discover they are an endangered species of dove.

To get what you want out of the land, you have to affect the flow of nature and to do that without guilt, you have to believe that the human race is the greatest thing in the universe. I think my vegetarianism may have had something to do with having a downer on mankind, slightly.

I'm such a townie, but I'm told it's new farmers serving niche markets that are doing the best business. Posh potato anyone?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - Midlands

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Don’t pity me for eating alone, just give me a better table

Rosie Millard
Aerial view of planned third runway at Heathrow  

Heathrow expansion: This final 'conclusion' has simply fanned the airport flames

Chris Blackhurst
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map