Gareth Malone re­veals all

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Contents - ◆ Gareth Malone is ap­pear­ing at The Cu­ri­ous Arts Fes­ti­val in Hamp­shire. The event takes place 20-22 July – visit cu­ri­ousarts­fes­ti­

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

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