SHRINK RAP

The note­wor­thy Gareth Malone

The Mail on Sunday - Event - - CONTENTS - In­ter­view by Gwen­dolyn Smith

Gareth Malone OBE, 41, is a choir­mas­ter and TV per­son­al­ity best known for his ap­pear­ances in pro­grammes such as ‘The Choir’. He lives in north Lon­don with his wife Becky and their two chil­dren.

What is your ear­li­est mem­ory?

Be­ing sick on the car­pet at my third birth­day party be­cause I was overex­cited.

What sort of child were you?

Cre­ative and dex­trous. I was al­ways mak­ing Lego mod­els and pulling out those safety plugs from sock­ets. I was ab­so­lutely lost in my imag­i­na­tion. If I went to a new place I would knock on all the walls to see if there were any hid­den pas­sage­ways.

What has been your most em­bar­rass­ing mo­ment?

When I was nine I fell into the pond at school. I went into the shower to clean up, and a girl ran in, pointed, squealed ‘Ha­ha­haha’ and then ran out again. It af­fected me in all sorts of ways that I can’t be­gin to de­scribe. I now have a patho­log­i­cal fear of ponds. And nu­dity.

What is your great­est fear?

I have this pho­bia of the un­der­side of ships – the mas­sive pro­pel­lers on cruise lin­ers. I hate the idea of be­ing sub­merged in wa­ter and look­ing up, see­ing an enor­mous ship over­head and know­ing that you’re go­ing to get chopped up by a pro­pel­ler, eaten by a shark, de­stroyed by the pres­sure, or just sub­sumed into the dark­ness.

What is the worst thing any­one has ever said to you?

An ac­tor I’d in­ad­ver­tently crossed said, ‘You will never amount to any­thing.’ He was in a pro­duc­tion I was in­volved in when I was 22. He’d done a small film and said in an email to the cast: ‘I don’t want any­one to be wor­ried by the fact I’ve been in a film’, and I replied with some­thing like, ‘All right Mr Hol­ly­wood Bigshot, I think we’ll be OK.’ I wrote the email in haste, think­ing I wouldn’t send it be­cause it was a bit harsh, but I shut the com­puter and it au­to­mat­i­cally sent. He drove 60 miles to be­rate me.

Tell us a se­cret about your­self

I’ve been learn­ing to ice-skate. I go to Alexan­dra Palace and I’ve got so into it that I’ve bought my own skates. When I was a child, all the cool kids in Bournemouth went ice-skat­ing on a Sun­day af­ter­noon, but I wasn’t al­lowed. I’ve been wait­ing for a point in my life where I could change that.

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?

Pick­ing up cig­a­rette butts from the beach in Bournemouth when I worked as an ice­cream seller dur­ing the univer­sity hol­i­days. Every­one was sit­ting out en­joy­ing them­selves and I was root­ing through the sand.

What one law would you change?

I’d ban piped mu­sic in pub­lic. Only live mu­sic should be al­lowed. If you want mu­sic you must have a pi­anist in the cor­ner.

When did you last cry?

Two days ago. I called my wife by my daugh­ter’s name in a mo­ment of men­tal aber­ra­tion, and was re­minded that my grand­mother called me by the dog’s name. It led to a very pow­er­ful rec­ol­lec­tion of her.

What was the best kiss you’ve ever had?

The last one. I al­ways think that’s the best one, be­cause it’s fresh in your mind.

Who would be your dream din­ner date?

Bach, plus a trans­la­tor. My Ger­man is poor.

What is the most ro­man­tic thing any­one has ever done for you?

My wife once met me at King’s Cross af­ter I had been work­ing away. She had tick­ets for the Na­tional The­atre – she’d queued all day for re­turns to the adap­ta­tion of Philip Pull­man’s His Dark Ma­te­ri­als. The scenery got stuck half­way through be­cause it was a pre­view, but that made it more ex­cit­ing.

What song do you want at your fu­neral?

Wake Me Up by Avicii. No, I’m jok­ing. The Bea­tles’ Black­bird, or any of their songs.

What’s the best thing in your life?

Mu­sic. Mak­ing mu­sic gives you a re­lease, but it’s also an ad­dic­tion. It’s like a mas­sive bag of sweets: in­cred­i­bly mor­eish. Gareth Malone tours the UK in Novem­ber. Visit fane­pro­duc­tions.com/gareth­malone

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