My Secret Life: Dave Stewart, Musician, age 55

Interview,Charlotte Philby
Saturday 21 June 2008 00:00 BST

The house I grew up in... was on a street exactly like Coronation Street. All the kids played outside and you could run into any house if you were hungry and get jam and bread. It was brilliant.

When I was a child I wanted to be... a sportsman. I invented rollerskates with big bed springs on them, and a long piece of bamboo from carpet to make a pole vault. Then I broke my knee.

The moment that changed me for ever... followed a huge car crash I had driving between Holland and Germany. I'd taken masses of amphetamines, flew on to a motorway in the wrong direction and had a head-on collision at 90mph. I punctured my lungs and went cold turkey while recovering. Then it all came into focus: I had to seize every moment in life.

My greatest inspiration... is Sam Roddick, Anita's daughter, with whom I co-own Coco de Mer [the erotica shop in Covent Garden]. She's intent on bringing eroticism out into the open.

My real-life villain... is apathy.

If I could change one thing about myself... I have this unfortunate thing where I sneeze when I get incredibly excited, which can be awkward.

At night I dream of... whirling, swirling dreams that start as a vortex of letters and words, spelling out something I'm trying to work out, and then I head through a whoosh of galaxies into someone's fabulous arms.

What I see when I look in the mirror... I see someone bursting with enthusiasm, but slightly anxious.

My style icon... Bryan Ferry still cuts a dash. I always feel like a tramp around him. Though I was slightly taken aback to see him doing M&S adverts.

My favourite item of clothing... are my very floppy shirts that make me look slightly thinner than I am.

I wish I'd never worn... a top hat 10 years ago. I think that was a mistake.

It's not fashionable but I like... slippers. Mind you, they're so out of fashion that they're probably in fashion.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good... with children.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... going into crowded rooms. Bars, restaurants – any place I have to go into without knowing anybody. I come over with massive anxiety.

My favourite work of art... Damien Hirst's 1994 piece What Goes Up Must Come Down. It was a table-tennis ball hovering above a hairdryer.

If I have time to myself... I've got such bad attention-deficit disorder that I'm never bored. I'm like a 12-year-old kid: texting a friend while i-chatting with another and watching a video. I get excited and think loads of people are around me, having a party. Then I realise I'm on my own.

I ride... a tandem with my daughter, which was a present from Simon Fuller.

My house is... minimalist but also cosy, which is something that is quite hard to pull off. My back garden leads on to a lake, where the kids and I fish or go boating.

My most valuable possession... my fingers.

My favourite building... La Coupole in Paris used to be great. It has glass front windows and great art on the walls – and as I'd approach, the barman would have my drink ready for me.

Movie heaven... Any outtakes Martin Scorsese shows me from the cutting-room floor.

A book that changed me... was Wind in the Willows, when the car comes along and Toad says, "here today, and next week, tomorrow!" I remember as a kid thinking: "Oh, yeah. You can actually go different places in life."

All my money goes on... other artists or mad schemes. Then there's George Best's quote: "I spent 90 per cent of my money on women, drink and fast cars, and all the rest I wasted."

The last album I bought/downloaded... was the Mystery Jets' latest album.

The person who really makes me laugh... is Jack Nicholson, in real life. He says such great one-liners, summing up a whole situation. Once we were with Harry Dean Stanton, who was saying he was fed up with acting and was getting into Mexican folk songs on guitar. Jack quietly said: "Diminishing returns, Harry".

The best invention ever... the Flutter. A very small vibrator; it's curved and egg-shaped.

In 10 years time, I hope to be... in the Caribbean as often as possible. I love the whole vibe and music. Within 24 hours, I'm walking slowly.

My greatest regret... is not having enough sex early on in life. Or not sticking up for myself more when I was younger.

My life in seven words... changing, flying, dreaming, compact, fiery, reasonable – sometimes.


Born in Sunderland in 1952, the awardwinning musician, songwriter, music producer and sometime photographer, Dave Stewart is bestknown as one half of the now disbanded musical duo Eurythmics, which sold 80 million records worldwide. His first feature film, Honest, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000 and his photographs have been displayed at Paris Museum of Modern Art and the Saatchi Gallery in London. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their four children and is an ambassador of O2 Undiscovered 2008.

Visit for information and a chance to play live at the O2

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