THE DIARY: Rock, and the world rocks with you

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SUNDAY. Get up, go to the gym. They are playing bad pop music which annoys me, but it's good to work out sometimes. Go a bit over the top and when I get home my hands are too stiff to do some riazs. Go down to rehearsals: it is the first day and I am a bit nervous about whether the string section will live up to the Madras Philharmonic Orchestra. I ask them to practise on their own first, then join us - it sounds great. It is good at last to have a chance to play with Steve White (a great drummer, who usually plays with Paul Weller). All of the band have wanted to play together for ages. Oroh keeps asking us to pinch him, he is so happy he thinks it must be a dream. Rehearsals rock. I rush back to the studio to meet some friends, hang out and play some music. My mate Dion brings some food that Simon has made; stuff myself with excellent lamb. I rush home to Dyson my house before my friend Ajay (vocalist on the album) arrives from NYC.

n

MONDAY. Ajay arrives and we are whisked off to rehearsals. I have a chat with Cleveland Whatkiss (vocalist on the album) and explain the arrangements of "Traveller" which Brad and I have cut from the original 12 minutes to four minutes. Rehearsals go really well - Nunu looks after us at Music Bank (rehearsal studios) and the energy is right. It all comes together. I don't want to rehearse too much so that we don't lose the edge for Tuesday night. I go back to my studio to shape some tunes with Ajay and talk, exchange and inspire.

n

TUESDAY. Have a good six hours' sleep, rush myself into the gym to get loose. Finish in the gym and rush over to the Grosvenor House Hotel with the clothes the band will wear for the finals of the Mercury Music Prize. We all meet up in one of the suites. I find myself having a discussion about bhindis in the make-up room. We rush back upstairs to get changed. My manager, Amy Coffey, can't decide what she should wear, a leather dress or a graceful sequin number. We all vote for the second. As we try to get down to the Great Room, a sudden spinal deja vu kicks in - the lift never appears and we're stuck on the sixth floor. We finally get down and go straight on stage.

The set starts off with a short tabla solo, and just as I finish I try to grab my mallet to strike the huge 40in gong behind me which looks like a Quadraphenia mod target. I realise the mallet is stuck. I take a deep breath, receive my chi and strike the gong with the palm of my hand and take another deep breath as the strings of "Traveller" rise.

Our table at the awards is full of my friends, the Anouka collective, my manager and members of today's band which includes Cleveland whom I have shared music with for well over a decade.

When I manage to escape upstairs to the toilet I find Amy on the same quest; we are diverted into a press conference and speak to a host of journalists, both forgetting the original purpose of our escape.

Back down at the table there's suddenly a riot and I am pushed towards the stage to collect my award. Get bombarded by the press without even having a second to contemplate what's just gone on. We eventually end up in one of the suites clutching a bottle of champagne and the award. Just chat with friends, talking about music.

n

WEDNESDAY. After a couple of hours' sleep the interviews kick in. A full day of trying to acknowledge what happened the night before and trying to explain the feelings of elation to everyone from Radio 1 to London Tonight. End up going to "Swerve", Fabio's club, the only club I've been in this year.

n

THURSDAY. Order some tea and get rushed out to my publishers for lunch at Dakota in Notting Hill. Work the cellular talking to journalists from around the globe. Go back to the hotel. More interviews. I find myself looking at my drums and thinking, yes, that's what it's all about. I play for about 20 seconds and feel it all coming back to me again. Feels like I've just had a two-hour massage.

My Psion goes off to remind me of a meeting with Andrew Lloyd Webber at his home. We reach his house, have coffee and I get wired up again - four more interviews after a fantastic chat with Andrew. Pop into Harvey Nicks to get something for my sister's wedding next week and find myself in the corridor talking to Indian TV news via Nokia. Rush back to Brick Lane to get real and cut some pub plates for the Saturday DJ slot at Mass in Brixton. Meet up with my family. My dad says Tuesday night was the proudest moment of his life. A deep feeling of joy wells up inside.

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