Alex James: The Great Escape

It's twins! I'll never forget the moment
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The Independent Online

There was never a sweeter holiday. We have been at home on the farm and I have been happily observing it all in a benevolent stupor. As soon as the first picture came up on the ultrasound scanner a month ago, it was obvious that not only was Claire pregnant, but that it was twins. The man said "Yes it's twins, but you can't tell anyone yet." It was excruciating. I'd already stuck my head out of the door and told the lady on reception. It's hard to contain news like that. It was all we could both think about. We got the all-clear the day before Christmas Eve. We thought we'd tell the grandparents on Christmas Day, after the goose and before the cheese.

First we told them that Claire was pregnant. They all stood up and there was hugging and the little hankies came out. We had to get them all sitting down again to tell them it was two. Our friends in Miami, who have twin girls, said it was important to make sure the grandparents were sitting down. I filmed it, and both the grannies' reactions are similar. Their jaws drop and they put their hands on their ears, which I'm sure is how I reacted. It was the moment of a lifetime.

Claire has become a rock star kind of person. Everyone is talking about her. We went to the neighbours on New Year's Eve.I was pouring myself some tea in the kitchen, discussing the football match that had just taken place in the garden with a willowy grand dame with the brightest eyes. I said my name was Alex, and she said: "Oh, you're the one who..." At this point people usually say: "who used to be in that Blur band". I was all ready to say: "Actually we've started making another record and it's brilliant," but she said: "Oh you're the one who's wife is having twins." Suddenly I'm second fiddle. Wait till they arrive! I'm going to be way down the pecking order.

I put on four stone last time we had a baby. We had taken it in turns to wait by the trolley in the enormous queue for the checkouts on Christmas Eve. Claire came back to the line with a couple of tubs of ice cream. I said: "No ice cream!" a bit louder than I meant. It was a knee-jerk reaction.

I felt the whole queue focus its bad-tempered boredom on us. She said: "It's just two tubs and its organic," and put it in the trolley. I said: "NO ICE CREAM!" thrusting it back at her. The rest of the queue was having a great time watching Scrooge denying his wife this small pleasure at Christmas. We had to abandon the trolley for a while, to have a proper row, but when we returned, everyone let us have our place back without a murmur. I could see them all looking for the ice cream, though. It was worse because I had bought all the Vacherin cheese in the shop, about 20 boxes. We were providing the cheese for the new year party. Next year we'll do the fireworks instead.

alexjames@independent.co.uk

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