Date : June 2001
How did you find the go-karting?
I couldn't believe how fast the other teams cars were going, they were hurling around at like
60 mph. They were nutters. One car flipped up in the air and turned over about three times. I was
put off a bit about getting in the car and it wasn't helped by wearing a pair of overalls that
would usually fit a 6ft man. You could have fitted all four girls in there and there still
would have been room.
Sounds cosy. Are you a bit mad behind the wheel?
I'm not really a speed demon, but within a week of passing my test I was driving between
London and Liverpool. I'm one of those people who likes a good sing in the car, although when I get
to traffic lights I still want to carry on singing - so i just have to make my mouth a
little smaller as I belt out the words. Jamie is not very good when he's sitting with me, he's
always going; "What are you doing? Why are you turning around? Watch out for that!"
Like any man who has the unfortunate experience of being driven by a woman?
Ha ha! He doesn't realise why I should feel the need to do an eight-point turn...
Do you get road rage?
I'm a pretty considerate road user. I don't mind waiting if someone is taking ages pulling
out of a drive or whatever. But I hate it when people shout at me, it's really upsetting.
Depending how big the main is shouting at me will decide whether I have a go back, ha ha!
Have you been to Dubai before?
I'd actually visited in January with Jamie for a bit of a holiday. We stayed in this lovely
hotel in the middle of the ocean. The first time I went I was a bit nervous about the dress code -
I didn't want to get carted off by the police. It's not like I wanted to walk around in bikinis,
but you have to be a bit understanding towards their customs.
Did you have fun in the sand dunes?
It was so hot and the sand was blowing everywhere. The photographer wanted to take some
shots of me lying down in the dunes, but I was thinking, "My God, I'm going to get burnt
all down my side." I've never felt sand that hot. If you lost your shoe in the sand you'd have
to be carried to safety - you couldn't walk on it with bare feet.
The Arabic man is well known for his exotic, well groomed moustaches. How would you
feel if Jamie came home sporting a coiffeured lip wig?
I'd be like, "Where did you get that, and when is it leaving" To be honest, I
think it's fine if men are getting older and maturing - Tom Selleck looks cool with his - but
they don't look right on young men.
Your soon-to-be-released greatest hit album is your last record with EMI. Why did you part company?
Well, I'm releasing a greatest hits album later this year and I'm doing a couple of new
tracks for that and then I'm starting a new album. It's kind of an end of an era with EMI, I guess
we'll see what happens. I made five albums with them so it's time for a change and some fresh ideas.
The papers sid you were dropped - were you hurt by those stories?
It was only one newspaper - The Daily Mirror - and it is hurtful when they write
such nasty things. But at the end of the day EMI were only my distribution label - I'm signed to
First Avenue Records. Of course I'll miss the personal relationships I've built up there, but
it was time to move on.
You wrote a lot of the tracks on Elbow Beach, are you planning to do that again?
If I'm totally honest I'm not that worried about doing it. It was a great learning
experience, but it didn't do that much for me. If a song comes naturally then great, and I would
like to write some tracks on the new album, but there are so many great writers out there, it
will be nice to be able to pick really good songs.
Would you consider a career in acting?
I'd love to do some acting if it came along and was the right part. I love British comedies,
so I'd like to do something a bit batty - maybe play someone like one of the friends in Four
Weddings And A funeral or Notting Hill.
Perhaps you could appear in that stalwart of the British comedy movie - a Carry-On film?
As long as I don't have to do a Barbara Windsor's part, ha ha!
There's a feature in this month's FHM about getting fit for summer. Do you have any
tips for the blubbery reader?
I've got to be honest, I'm not a big fan of the gym. The minute I walk in there I have no
motivation. Yesterday I went running for the first time in months and I woke up this morning
and ache everywhere. I go through fits and starts. I can't get up and do hours on a treadmill, but
it's important to do some exercise. I have to be careful with what I eat - it's very tempting,
when I'm at home on my own to pig out while I'm sitting watching Richard And Judy, which
is the biggest excitement in my life at the moment, ha ha!