The Steeple Times asks bass-baritone singer Stephen Bowman: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
Gravity mainly, followed by a healthy fear of dying young. Avoiding skydiving tends to keep both of those fears at bay.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
“Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day” – I’m very sure it’s a brilliant ancient proverb, but I stole it from Withnail and I.
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?
Kerry Katona has redeemed herself greatly since 2007, so I’d say that after his little tantrums in London recently, Justin Bieber is the next in line who needs a little humility injected into his life.
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
I miss long misspent summers in the south of Spain. Long, lazy, hazy days of doing nothing more than sleeping off hangovers and chasing girls. Both were far less painful as a teenager and much less expensive.
What might you swap all your wealth for?
A trip to the moon. I wanted to be an astronaut just before I wanted to be a rock singer; 4-year old children can be so flippant about career choices.
Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?
The stupidity and greed of the few created a bed that the rest of us sleep in every day. It’s affected every industry, including music. We now perform most of our big private shows overseas, the UK is very slow and no one wants to be seen spending money on entertainment.
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
“It’s like…”: Massively overused and makes it near impossible for half the population to explain what a simile is.
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
Once you have a smidgen of public profile you have the opportunity to help charities with fundraising and it’s something I jumped at. Over the last 6 years of Blake we’ve got behind many amazing charities, including the British Legion, Variety the Children’s Charity, War Widows’ Association, Help For Heroes, Make A Wish and Nordoff Robbins to name a few. It’s great to think you can make any difference.
The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?
I travel by tube quite a bit, where you regularly see the scary sight of an entire carriage of commuters with heads bowed in deep reverence to their ‘iThingamajigs’. The art of conversation on the tube has all but been lost. No one ever looks up long enough to make eye contact. Sad.
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
I’d invite the top 50 speakers from TED, the best panel from QI and Emma Thompson. Between them I’d have enough fantastic conversation to last a train journey to the moon and back, although I’m sure at least a few of the TED company would quickly explain that said journey wouldn’t be technically impossible.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
The finest meal I’ve ever had was at a restaurant in the Philippines called Antonio’s. It’s up in the jungle surrounding a mighty volcanic crater in the Tagaytay region about an hour from Manila. The owner is obsessed with sourcing the best meat and vegetable produce in the world. A meal is in the region of £120 a head in a country where £120 rents a room for a year. If it was my last meal though, what the hell!
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
Sadly alcoholism runs in my family, so when it comes to how early in the day you can drink, I’m rather conservative on the subject. As a rule I’d say that a gin and tonic at 6pm is a safe start. Earlier, not so.
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
I’d be lying if I said I knew what either was, showing my lack of knowledge in both classic cocktails and speciality teas. I must study harder in both areas, but never before 6pm for the former of course.
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
Over the last 6 years with Blake I’ve been to some truly wonderful parties, including film premieres, summer car festivals and polo days a plenty. The best yearly event for me is the Audi Royal Polo. We watch the Audi team lose to William and Harry (every year, strangely), Blake perform a cappella on the mainstage (a yearly tradition now, always after a few drinks and with a few slight ‘alterations’ to the lyrics of our songs) and finally dance till 1am. We go all topped and tailed with a private chauffer from Audi there and back. I have an Audi S8 as my personal ride and these parties alone warrant the investment into their fine automobiles.
Who is the most positive person you know?
A rather wonderful lady who works as both celeb booker for Variety the Children’s Charity and as Mike Oldfield’s personal PA. Caroline Monk can giggle you out of the worst depression and bring sunshine to your dullest day, a great friend and an amazing lady with many stories to tell. She’s battled many things in life and will help you find some perspective on those days when all seems against you.
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Have you ever stumbled across one of those really old episodes of Top Gear on YouTube, with a silly number of views and thought: “Who the hell watches this stuff”? It’s me. I’ve got this thing about watching old car reviews, convincing myself that it’s developing ‘automotive knowledge’ when in fact it’s as pointless as watching ‘talking cats’. Although I can tell you what Jeremy Clarkson’s hair looked like in any year of the last two decades, admittedly a skill in short demand.
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
Probably the Maserati or Alfa Romeo badges. I’ve almost got petrol running through my veins, such is my love for engines and speed. I might as well wear the permanent mark of the two marques who in my opinion and have made the most beautiful machines ever to live.
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
I’d love to be a Maserati, but in reality I’d be one of those cars made in a barn by an eccentric German, using English body parts and a teutonic engine; generally reliable but with occasional breakdowns.
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
I’m no where near as ‘British’ as the PR and marketing of Blake would have you believe. My father is German, my mother is English but descended from the family which Napoleon married into. I got married to a Guatemalan girl when I was 21, divorced when I was 26 and have only dated 2 English girls in my life. All the others were Latino. I almost turned full-tilt ‘Eurotrash’ in 2004 when my hair reached my shoulders in a swept back slick hairdo, a style low point!
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
As I travel the world singing with Blake (we’ve sung in 22 countries to date) we meet fans who present us with ever more unique personal presents. On my mantelpiece I currently have a Russian Babushka doll with my face painted on it, alongside a crystal reproduction of my Honda Fireblade superbike. Both were given to me by a fan from Russia. I also have ‘fans’ from fans in China and Japan, along with a wooden ‘love spoon’ from the Mayor of Cardiff. It’s useful for tossing salad apparently.
Stephen Bowman is a member of the Blake, the vocal group widely known for having been formed on Facebook in 2007.
View Blake’s official website at: http://www.blakeofficial.com
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