THE GH CHECKLIST
Gareth Malone reveals all
The Choir’s Gareth Malone lives in north London with his wife Becky, daughter Esther, seven, and five-year-old son Gilbert How tidy is your house?
I hanker after a hyper-organised house. The reality is somewhat further from that than I’d like, but I think we’re getting there. We’re in the process of paring our lives down to the bare essentials.
When was the last time you personally cleaned the bathroom?
I did the toilet yesterday. I like to clean toilets, I think it’s important that they are clean.
Cook for friends or dine out?
At the moment, as we have young children, it’s just nice to go out. So we tend to eat at restaurants. There are two things that I like to do most – eat and listen to music.
What food can’t you live without?
Sushi. I absolutely love it! When I go out for sushi I’m like, ‘Let’s just order some more yellowtail.’ It’s very clean, fresh and full of good fats.
Who would be your dream dinner party guests?
I would like to sit down for a meal with Paul Mccartney and pick his brain. Nicholas Hytner, the former artistic director of London’s National Theatre, would be interesting, and I’m a big fan of actor Kenneth Branagh. For female singers, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday would be fun. That would do me – it would be a good night.
Are you a saver or a spender?
I think I’ve found a healthy balance. I like to save and I do worry about the future. Being a musician, I’m always thinking, ‘This could be my last job.’ But every now and then I’ll splurge on a piano, for example. If I have a spend, it tends to be on something that is music related.
Have you got a health motto?
Don’t get ill! In all seriousness, I think that it’s important to have balance and acknowledge that we are all mortal and that life won’t last for ever. It sets you free to a degree. I believe that we should
aim to be healthy – I like to go to the gym and go swimming – but that shouldn’t be at the expense of enjoying my life.
Where’s your happy place?
At the piano. I play it every day. If I walk past one and I’m unable to play it, I feel a magnetic pull. For me, the piano is my reset place.
Is there any advice that stands out from your parents?
My mother and father instilled a sense of possibility in me. They gave me many opportunities to try lots of different things. When I said that I was going to do a drama degree, they were very supportive. Then when I said, ‘Actually, I’m going to do music’, they were fine with that, too. They always had faith in me.
What is your best advice?
When advising people on how to sing, I encourage them not to be afraid of being themselves in a performance situation and tell them that it doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s nice if it is and it’s good to aim for, but it doesn’t matter if it isn’t. No one’s going to die.
What’s the secret of a happy house?
Lots of noise. I feel sorry for my neighbours. Music is the secret to a happy house for me, so there’s plenty of singing and lots of kids running around.
What’s one thing you always have in the fridge?
It’s important to have milk in the fridge and recently we’ve been very happy about having glass milk bottles delivered, as opposed to getting plastic ones from the supermarket. It’s been a small contribution towards helping save the environment, but it’s so nice.
What lifts you out of a mood?
If I’m down, I’ll listen to music that is quite bleak. That’s the great thing about classical music, it can take you to intense places. Once I come out of that place, I can put on Michael Jackson.
For me, music is the secret to a happy house