Adrian T. Bell. Navigation officer, singer/song-writer in The Prostitutes, painter, landscape designer, Creative Director (in that order). Born in the U.K.
How many children have you got? How old are they and what are their names?
Is that a trick question? The last time I looked there were three but they move pretty fast. Maybe there are more of them.
What do you like doing together the most?
It’s not really a question of what I want. Louis is two and likes playing in the sand. I’m not really into it that much; there are only so many sandcastles that you can build. In fact after about ten minutes I get bored stiff and have to drag him home screaming. Sometimes I stay a bit longer because I am being stared at by the other mothers. I like playing football but he isn’t very good at it yet and keeps missing the ball. He’s not very good at passing either so I put him in goal and take shots at him. He stops the ball quite often. Timmy (10) likes fighting me but we had to stop because he kept getting injured.
What was the first nice word your children said?
Já chci mámu! But with Louis it was Banksy!!!
What are your children into now?
Sophie (12) sings in a choir, she has just started playing the piano and loves music and she studies very hard. Timmy (10) likes scouting, kung-fu and rock climbing. They all love the internet. And Harry Potter.
What are your children addicted to?
We have to keep them away from the computer as much as possible because they get stuck there for hours and then are really annoyed when we have to drag them away. It’s a bit like watching Gollum from Lord of the Rings. You have to be careful.
What does mummy dislike seeing you do?
If I tie the kids up when we are playing cowboys and Indians and leave them for a couple of hours as hostages and she comes home and finds out then she gets rather annoyed. So I have to bribe the kids with KFC and they don’t say anything.
What was the greatest trouble you got yourself into?
Lots of them, but two stick out in my mind. I went to a catholic school run by nuns. I once climbed over a wall at the back of the school with a three meter drop over the other side along with another three boys. It was banned but one of the other boys dared me so I had to climb over or I would have never heard the end of it. I grew up in quite a rough neighborhood. Anyway I was then caught by one of the nuns (the others got away with it!!) and was taken round every class in the school and given the leather strap over my hand as an example to other children. The strap they used was called “The Buffalo Hide” on account of the fact that one of the teachers had been to America and it had been given to her by a Cherokee Chief. It had mystical powers (she had probably got it from the local tanners) and the mere thought of it would terrify the kids. We were threatened with it from five years old and I don’t think any of the children had seen it before let alone seen it used. I didn’t cry once and needless to say my hero status in the school went up by about 1000 percent and I never felt the same about Catholicism after that. Strange?
The other was when some of the boys had borrowed a service truck from the railroad yard. It was small but heavy and used to be pushed in front of the train and inspectors would sit on it and inspect the tracks. Where the hell they had got it from I haven’t a clue. Anyway, the idea was that we push it down the hill and the last one to jump off would win. I wanted to win so badly I jumped off too late and the thing toppled over and crashed on top of my head knocking me unconscious. Not one of them tried to help me. My mum said that when they found me semiconscious and throwing up all over the place the boys were just sitting there at the top of the hill like monkeys open mouthed just looking. Any way I was lucky enough to get away with a serious concussion and had to visit the hospital for six months after. I was never friends with those kids again.
What is your strongest or nicest childhood memory?
I used to love driving around Northumberland with my Dad. He used to play cricket and would take me to a match somewhere out of town, in the country. He was an architect and at one point was quite successful and had a Mark II Jaguar. The kind the baddies drive around in The Professionals. Anyway, he would try and beat his time between villages in Northumberland. The roads were pretty empty apart from the odd sheep and he would make me belt up (it was still legal not to wear a seatbelt in those days) as we were leaving Newcastle. Wink at me – and drive like the devil through Northumberland down old country lanes. I would count the time on the clock and would sometimes get out of the car feeling like throwing up. Also going down to London during the summer holidays to see my grandma was a big adventure.
What was your favourite childhood toy?
I had this dog Penny, a little mongrel, and used to take it for walks every morning and feed it. Once the police found me in a park at four in the morning. It is light in the summer at the higher latitudes in England and apparently I was sleep walking. I can’t remember it anyway. The dog apparently was barking like mad and the police had come to investigate the noise. The park was apparently frequented by paedophiles and drug users. I think the dog saved me. They got my address from the dog’s collar. It was run over a couple of years later because it used to love chasing the wheels of large trucks and one day wasn’t too lucky. I was heartbroken. But they got me over it by buying us a new puppy about two weeks later.
Did you collect anything? What?
We used to collect birds’ eggs. We used to try and find a nest and take away the eggs and show them off at school. The rarer the bird the better. Some of my friends used to carry the eggs home in their mouths and try and hatch them under a sixty watt light over a shoe box. I don’t think they were too successful.
Where do you like going with your kids?
Anywhere where we are having fun. The park, the cottage. The countryside.
Have you got any message for future fathers?
You can’t explain the feeling of having your own kids. It’s something you have to live through and find out for yourself.
Would you choose to take a maternity leave?