My Secret Life: Chrissie Hynde, musician, 57

Interview,Charlotte Philby
Sunday 23 October 2011 08:04

The home I grew up in ... was my grandmother's house. It was on a red brick road in Akron, Ohio. One day city planners put the house on rollers and moved it up the hill. They put in a super highway where my home had been, and destroyed the town.

When I was a child I wanted to be ... a cowgirl.

My greatest inspiration ... is morning time. I wake up early, and if I'm not too hungover I like to get up and go for a walk.

The moment that changed me for ever ... was becoming a vegetarian aged 17; my whole life changed. I spent a lot of time hanging out in the woods near my house and felt a connection to the birds and trees.

My real-life villain is ... McDonald's.

I drive ... a Smart car but don't use it much. My favourite ride is the bus; I like to get involved in the human pageantry.

If I could change one thing about myself ... I wouldn't, I'm just trying to be myself.

At night I dream of ... I have recurring dreams of walking through empty houses.

What I see when I look in the mirror ... The same haircut, the same face.

My style icon ... I don't have one.

The shop I can't walk past ... is Stella McCartney.

A book that changed me ... was the 'Bhagavad Gita' – the jewel in the crown of ayurvedic literature. I keep it near me at all times.

The last album I bought ... was by the psychedelic band Big Linda.

The person who really makes me laugh ... is Steve Coogan.

It's not fashionable but I like ... opera.

My favourite work of art is... a man.

My favourite item of clothing ... is the pair of skinny jeans I pick off the floor next to my bed every morning. I don't know what I'd do without pockets.

You may not know it but I'm very good at ... sewing.

You may not know it but I'm no good at ... reading instruction manuals. If I see a hole, I'll stick something in it – if that doesn't work, it will sit and gather dust. My TV didn't work for months; my daughter had to plug it in.

All my money goes on ... cinema and boots.

If I have time to myself ... I'm very good at doing nothing, which I learned from years on tour and in hotel rooms. A fly on the wall might easily think I'm dead.

My house is... on a nice, fairly quiet London street. There is a little garden where I like to sit and have a cup of tea. It's quite basic, it's not a tribute to anything.

My most valuable possession is... a box of photos of my kids growing up.

My favourite building ... I'm drawn to buildings, I like to get inside them. When I first moved to the UK, I'd never seen mansion blocks before. If someone left a door open, I'd dart in and look out across the rooftops. Sometimes I'd get stopped and I would say I'd lost my cat. My favourite places are where people practise religious ritual. I can't pass a church without going in to sit and meditate.

Movie heaven ... It would be watching the Swedish art-house vampire film 'Let the Right One In' for a second time.

The best invention ever ... is the toothbrush – I wouldn't want to be without it.

I wish I'd never worn ... not much; I mostly wear the same thing.

In 10 years' time, I hope to be ... right here.

My greatest regret ... taking drugs with people who ended up dying of overdoses.

My life in six words ... I've been 12 a long time.

A life in brief

Chrissie Hynde was born in Ohio on 7 September 1951. She is the lead singer of The Pretenders, whose hit singles include 'I'll Stand By You' and 'Back on the Chain Gang'. She has two daughters, one by Kinks frontman Ray Davies and the other by Simple Minds singer Jim Kerr. She lives in London. The Pretenders' latest album Best/Break Up The Concrete is released on Rhino; Hynde will play Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park with Neil Young on 27 June

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