Mr. Smith, I've heard that you play music in your office every morning from 6 until 8 before everyone else shows up. What did you listen to today?
This morning I was listening to a little English singer called Jake Bugg, who sounds a bit like a young Bob Dylan. He's actually from my hometown Nottingham, so I know him and he's a very nice lad. I love my two hours of peace in the morning. It's heaven.
How do you pick what music to listen to?
It completely depends on my mood and how late I got to bed or what type of day I've got ahead of me.
What would you listen to if you have a hangover?
Something very gentle, like Dave Brubeck. Recently I've been listening to a lot of jazz, which I haven't done for years. I still quite like Van Morrison as well. The album Astral Weeks has helped me get around the world so many times. It's very easy to listen to. In general it's really varied. It's music from 30 years ago to a brand new band. Luckily I get sent a lot of music from a lot of the record companies because they know I like music and also because we dress a lot of the bands.
When you listen to music do you listen to CDs or to vinyl?
I've got both at my office.
You have practically everything at your office…I've seen pictures of how packed it is. It looks amazing and a little bit insane at the same time.
Yeah, the insane part is definitely true. If my wife comes here, she almost immediately has a nervous breakdown. "Oh my god, Paul, how can you let it get like this?" And then she goes to the girls in the office and says, "You have to do something about it! Because it's a disease!" (Laughs)
A true collector just can't help it.
Yeah, I definitely can't help it. (Laughs) But so many people know that I enjoy interesting things, quirky things, beautiful things so I get sent a lot of things too. That doesn't make it easier either. Some of the girls in the office were saying to me, "Paul, you have to try and control the office more because we have so many meetings and the table is always so full of things." And I said, "What can I do? People send me things!" And at that moment, the door opened and five huge boxes arrived from Italy with about 30 spinning tops inside. And I said to the girls, "Look! I never did anything, they just arrived!"
So it's other people's fault that your office is overflowing?
Exactly. Don't blame me! (Laughs)
What's the best thing and what is the weirdest thing you've ever received?
I have a fan that has been sending me things covered in stamps for over 20 years. I don't even have any idea who it is, there's never any letter. Around my desk at the moment I have a red watering can for the garden, a yellow sunflower, a bowling pin, a boat-shaped birdhouse, a yellow chicken and a long piece of wood, all covered in stamps with the address on it. So that's just one crazy thing. But I get all kinds of things—I just had a little book sent to me, a story about me by a 10-year-old schoolgirl.
Read more of The Talks with Sir Paul Smith.
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