The rock legend and keyboardist, 69, at his ‘home from home’ – the Old Granary Studio in Norfolk
1 SPIDER MAN
I record my albums in this converted 18th-century barn near my house. When I play live, I still like to wear a cape. I’ve worn them since the early 1970s after a critic said that as I played the keyboards during a gig with my arms and legs flying about I looked like ‘a demented spider’. The capes helped keep my limbs under control! They’ve since become synonymous with my shows and this is my favourite. I had it made for me in America during my days with the band Yes.
2 FOUNTAIN OF JOY
I’ve been collecting fountain pens since the 1970s when I was given one for Christmas. It’s so much more satisfying writing with one rather than with a ballpoint pen. I’ve amassed a collection of around 600 and I’m very fond of this one by the pen manufacturer André Philippe, which I bought in Budapest. It was originally especially designed for someone who never collected it, so it was put up for sale and I was in the right place at the right time to snap it up.
3 LIFE’S WORK
Several of the discs celebrating my album sales have gone astray or been nicked over the years – I’ve even seen them for sale on eBay! But I’ve still got a few and looking at them every now and then reminds me I haven’t done too badly in life. Among them is one for $1 million worth of sales in the US of my 1974 solo album A Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. It was inspired by the Jules Verne book – I’ve loved his work since I was a kid.
4 A PRINCE AMONG MEN
I’m a royalist and a big fan of Prince Charles in particular – I like the way he speaks his mind. In 2009 he wrote me this letter thanking me for being in a charity concert at Selly Oak Hospital where wounded servicemen and women are treated. I’m also a proud member of the Grand Order of Water Rats, the oldest entertainment order in existence. We’ve raised thousands of pounds for entertainers or their widows who’ve fallen on hard times.
5 WISE WORDS
In 1980, when I was 31, my father Cyril died at East Acton Underground station on his way to work after having a heart attack. He was 64. To say it came as a shock is putting it mildly. In a weird way, I feel closer to him now than when he was alive – as a typical bolshie teenager I ignored just about everything he said then, but after his death I began to realise the value of the things he told me. He’s been a guiding light.
6 KEY PLAYER
The Minimoog changed the face of pop. Until the synthesizer came along in the early 1970s it was difficult to amplify a piano or keyboard if you were playing live. And then ‘boom!’, Dr Bob Moog invented this, and every keyboard player discovered they could make as much noise as the loudest rock guitarist. I played my Minimoog on all my Yes and solo records, and while they’re very much collectors’ items now [production stopped in 1981], I still love it to bits, and couldn’t imagine being on stage without it.