BEST known as the bassist of the band Blur, Alex James is an English Musician, Songwriter and Journalist. Blur were really huge in the nineties – they still are – his excessive pop star lifestyle was succesfully described in his first book called A Bit of Blur.
But Alex grew up, fell in love and got married. He bought a Farm in Oxfordshire and he became a Farmer! And Cheesemaker! He now lives there with his wife and children.
And he wrote another book, trying to explain how he transformed from a pioneer of the Britpop movement in the 1990s, to a gentleman farmer, and father of five.
All Cheeses Great and Small: A Life Less Blurry is the follow-up to his first book
This second book of memoirs, picks up from there:
A new era in his life starts when buying an old farmhouse in Cotswolds. A two hundred acres farm that represents not just a new house for Alex, but also a new career.
He decided that the best way to learn about farming is the same way he learned most about music: by jumping in and doing it.
As he breathes new life into the old farm he will find out all the problems a new Farmer could meet.
But he will also discover the unexpected joys of country life: finding the first egg from your very own chicken, coming across a bush laden with blackberries, roasting home-grown pears on an open fire…
The twelve Chapters of this Book are divided into Four Seasons: Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer, as he probably now uses a Farmers calendar.
We got excited by two of theese Chapters: Chapter 6: Cheese and Chapter 8: Food!
Chapter 6, Cheese, talks about him coming across an unexpected calling: making cheese. You ‘ll read about how he met a local Cheesemaker that got him into this. Of course he did’t have to try hard as Alex is a loves Cheese!
Paddy said: “Do you like Cheese?”
I told him I did. I did in fact, probably more than anybody else I’d ever met, like Cheese and it hadn’t gone unnoticed.
Chapter 8, Food, talks about… Food! And we are not talking about Blur’s Record Label wich was also called Food – is it just a coincidence?
We will read about how he started growing his own plants and animals. Something that did not appear easy.
“For reasons that were hard to fathom to begin with, it was more expensive to grow your own food than to buy it” says Alex, adding that “Animals were even more ridiculus than plants”.
However, even if “It’s cheaper to run aeroplanes than cattle” Alex learned that “It’s hard work, but making stuff, especially food, made me feel very good indeed”. And what is food if it’s not the most basic human pleasure? “Food is the music of Love”.
More than a decade on, Alex is a big cheese in the industry:
His cheeses, Blue Monday, Goddess, Farleigh Wallop, Little Wallop and Good Queen Maude have received widespread media interest and are now sold through many outlets.
He sometimes hold an annual food and music festival, he still deals with food production.
So we will definitely be back!
Links: Alex James presents Artisan Cheeses, Blur, Buy Book, Harper Collins Publishers
BOOK: All Cheeses Great And Small: A Life Less Blurry
Writer: Alex James
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers, 2012
ISBN-10: 0007453140, ISBN-13: 978-0007453146