In this feature we ask an artist to bring us “Through The Keyhole” of their personal living space and let us know what it’s like at ‘Chez Artist’…
The next edition in the series sees us take a guided tour into the humble abode of our favourite expat Man Power. Now based in Mexico he resides amidst the hills amongst a climate far more tropical than our own.
Share with us your favourite recipe. What is the go to meal/ or perfect romantic fine-dining experience for yourselves? How did this recipe come about and any tips for our readers?
I'm a fully fledged step dad now, so normally it's some kind of salad for me and my wife, as I find it almost impossible to keep weight off now I'm getting old (and she just likes salad in general) and then some kind of kid friendly meal for my step daughter. The last proper meal that I really slaved over was a lasagne, but that was off a Jamie Oliver video. He makes a sauce with leeks instead of bechamel though, so I had to do that stage using a video by that Gennaro fella who sounds like the Italian captain from Allo Allo. He actually doesn't show the making of the bechamel, which means I then had to then watch Gordon Ramsey being all hilarious with Jonnie Vegas just to see the physical process of a roux sauce. I'm actually not a bad cook, but classic methods like that I'm rusty with. In fact, I took home economics at GCSE, but that was just because I thought it would be easy and the class would be full of girls. Turned out it was just full of boys who thought it would be easy and full of girls.
What’s your favourite room in your home and why?
We have 2 living rooms. In Mexico they always have a reception room as well as a smaller TV room. I like what I guess is our reception room as I don't watch much TV, so I prefer having the telly in the room I spend more time in. It's open planned, so I get to sit at the desk in my office space and pine over the couch. We just got a load of prints from my friend Stevie Anderson (who did my Album cover) so we're in the process of adorning the walls too.
What’s in your fridge right now? How often do you clean it?
There's a spanish Fritatta thing, some spinach, Phladelphia and Lurpak. I just came back from a trip away, so we had a clear out. It's very clean though. We have a lady who comes to the house twice a week to help with the cleaning, which all seemed very bourgoise to my Geordie sensibilities, but I really appreciate now. She cleans the fridge.
How would you describe the decor in your home?
Chic and reflective of my wife's vastly superior taste to mine.
Are you handy at DIY or do you get someone in?
I'm shit at DIY. I used to work as a labourer doing odd jobs and household renovations, I got great training but I'm still shit. I tend to put it off for as long as possible and then have a flurry of activity. I usually just get someone in to fix my mistakes instead.
What do you eat for breakfast?
I bring Crumpets back whenever I come home from tour, as the girls are addicted to them. When they run out, it's usually scrambled egg tacos
Do you have a nutri-bullet? Have you ever used it? If so, any health boosting juices you would recommend?
I have a juicer. I think it's probably a snidey nutribullet. I do Kale, Apple and Pineapple because it was the first one I googled and I only do them to make sure we're not wasting a wedding present.
Who is your neighbour? What do they do? If you’ve not talked to them… maybe now would be a good opportunity to.
I still haven't learned enough Spanish yet, so I tend to skulk away whenever my neighbours are in sight, just to hide my gringo ignorance. I spoke to one woman with a small dog, but I think she just thought I was weird. It was quite awkward.
Have you ever locked yourself out? What did you do?
The door to the terrace has a habit of locking you out at the back. There's a small balcony at the back of our room, so I just climb up there and jemmy the window. I'm remarkably proficient at getting in to buildings which I'm not supposed to get in to, but probably best to leave that there.
Bath or shower?
Showers are the norm here. We have 4, but no bath. I'm a bath person though.
Has your neighbour ever seen you naked, accidentally or on purpose?
I have no idea, but seriously doubt anybody would put the effort in to deliberately seeing me in the buff.
It’s a lazy evening, no time for cooking. What’s your takeaway option? Who do you use? Do they know you and expect the usual order from you?
Monterrey is food heaven. There are millions of options for amazing food here. That reduces the chances of getting "the usual" though, as we order from a lot of different places. Delivery is normally reserved for hangovers, so usually it'll be spicy sea food, as that's the best option I've found over here. Shrimp Empanadas, plus Baja style fish tacos, Octopus and cheese Tostada's and Ceviche was what we ordered last night. (and chips).
Do you eat your dinner at the table or on your lap.
At the table now we have one. Like I say, we don't have TV in the main room, so less temptation to munch in front of the Telly. Plus, me not speaking Spanish makes the TV here a bit too mind bending.
Do you have a local shop or are you a supermarket whore like the rest of us?
Where I live in Monterrey, San Pedro, is quite globalised, so its mainly big brands like Oxxo, 7Eleven, and supermarket chains. There's some amazing "local" type options, they just aren't physically local to me, so I'm generally a corporate whore.
Is there a piece of art or ornament that holds particularly fond memories for you, from childhood or travels perhaps?
I have a lithograph that my wife bought me soon after we first met, that had pride of place in my home in Berlin. It's currently at my mothers in the UK, but I'm going to pick it up next time I'm back as it has a very deep sentimental attachment for me.
Animals. We love cats here at R$N, but just love people with pets. Is there a special furry/ feathered/ scaly creature in your life, tell us a little about them?
I'm sooooo over the top for loving cats. I want to get kittens, but my wife has 3 cats living at her mothers. She wants to move them here, but I don't think its fair on them to move them from where they're settled (and I want new ones... which is kind of awful of me).
Are you a messy person? What’s the worst state your home has been left in after a party?
I'm naturally a very messy and lazy person, but I live my life as a driven and tidy person these days. At any given time there's just this gargantuan internal struggle to stop doing everything, sit on the floor, and chew on a pen lid for 12 hours.
I moved out of home when I was 17, and my first flat naturally became party central. That would have been the worst state of anywhere I've lived, as it was basically a 2 year party that didn't stop, the personalities involved just rotated like the components in the philosophers axe. It looked like a social club bookies that had been turned in to a shooting gallery. After a tornado.
What’s your most annoying habit as a room mate if indeed you do have a room mate?
I don't, but I've had plenty. The biggest upset to my aforementioned forced motivation and cleanliness is for somebody else to be there. The second they down tools then I'm the same, and it turns in to some horrible war of attrition, with the chief biological weapon being the mould from the dishes.
What’s the worst room-mate you’ve ever had?
I lived with a guy in Manly in Australia for a while who would be super nice during the day, then at night I'd hear him stamping around the house drunk saying how much he hated me and what he was going to do to me in my sleep. That was slightly awkward to say the least.
Is there a view from your window, balcony, front door, terrace? Can you share that with us? Who do you look for coming along the street.
We live in whats the closest to a leafy terrace I've found anywhere in Mexico, which belies the fact we're about 1 minutes walk to the main street and a bunch of Plazas and Restaurants. It doesn't matter where you are in San Pedro though, you can't miss the beautiful mountains. Nobody seems to walk anywhere around here but me, so it's only cars you find yourself waiting for. Invariably I'm waiting for my wife and step daughter to come home. Having a family is new to me, in a lot of the traditional respects, but it really is my greatest source of joy.
Pick 6 dinner party guests from history, real or fictional to invite to your home?
Hunter S Thompson
Bret Easton Ellis
Yossarian from Catch 22
Do you know the name of your postman?
No, if I did I may have got my Macbook back which has been lost in the post for 3 months now. Sore subject.
Where do you listen to music in the home and what’s the set up?
We've bought a vintage record player for the living room, but I'm too scared to put any records on it. The tape player works well though. I have a samsung wireless speaker and sub for checking things quickly, and general home listening, but I'm in the middle of planning a Mexican studio, so any audio purchases are prioritised for that for the time being.
What would you change about your home?
That my friends and family in Europe lived closer (which is more what I would change about their homes really).
Anything else we’ve missed about your home you’d like to discuss?
Errr, I'd just like to say "CHECK ME OUT!!!! I'M JUST SOME SHIT HEAD FROM THE ARSE END OF THE NORTH EAST AND I'M SOMEHOW LIVING SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE!!!"
Man Power will play at Alfresco Festival this summer HERE.