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My Lockdown: Ricky Wilson

Time out: Ricky says lockdown
has given him a chance to reflect
on his success

We talk to the Kaiser Chiefs frontman about life in quarantine and discover he’s been rather enjoying the rest

What’s your daily routine?

I get up, watch Jeremy Vine, have a juice, do 40 minutes of Yoga With Adrienne on YouTube and walk the dog. Then I write children’s books for a bit — I’ve started doing that in lockdown — have a break to watch Judge Rinder, do a bit more writing, have tea and watch TV.

How has your working week changed?

I feel busier — but that’s because I build a whole day around making one phone call now! During the summer the band would usually be away every weekend doing festivals. But it’s given my body a rest for the first time in 15 years and reminded me how much I enjoy doing gigs. I’ll appreciate them more when they come back. We’re doing some drive-in gigs later this summer, so I’m looking forward to those. The band becomes so important in your head that you start to believe that you don’t know what you would do without it.

Having enforced time away has let me do loads of things that I kinda saw as hobbies. I’ve finished my kids’ book and been working on an album to go with it, and it feels great to have those initial excitement vibes of a new project again. I’ve not been doing stuff alone all the time, though, I’ve been doing my podcast with Tony Blackburn for four hours every Thursday. He’s hilarious, but it can be mentally draining — we try to beat each other’s puns for a whole afternoon. I always need a lie down after my recording with Tony! Pun-wise, he still runs rings around me.

How are you exercising?

I’m doing yoga, walking and running. I actually used to run everywhere, but for the first time in my life, I’m starting to feel old. I used to do 5Ks in 20 minutes but the last time I did it I came in at 23 minutes and I gave it everything. Now I run until I feel like heading home, which is a nicer way of going about it.

Did you panic-buy?

Not really — but a corner shop near me sells Ringos, which I think are the best crisps ever, but you very rarely see them. So I’ve been buying them out of salt-and-vinegar Ringos.

Have you joined the Zoom quiz trend?

My fiancée’s family have been doing talent shows instead. The whole group is assigned a talent we have to work on for the following week. We’ve done portrait painting, dance routines, rapping — it’s good because in the week you think: ‘Oh no, I haven’t practised my dance routine.’ I used to be an art teacher but I hadn’t painted for years. The portrait painting has got me back into it.

What do you miss doing?

When this ends, I’ll be driving down to Minorca. I’ve got a tiny apartment there overlooking the sea. I want to see if I can spend the last part of the summer there.

Back on stage: The Kaiser Chiefs will be performing live at a drive-in event this summer

Has social isolation caused any personality changes?

I’ve been trying to eke out the positive and be more optimistic, which I haven’t done before. It’s given me time to reflect on things. Being in the band was the most important thing in the world to me, but this has freed me up and I’ve been doing other stuff.

It’s been good to try to be more optimistic. Being in a band has always been about setting yourself ridiculous goals, always having hope exceed expectations. So no matter how brilliant things get, they never live up to your dreams.

At risk of sounding ungrateful, during the last 15 years, I’ve become expert at disappointment management. It’s taken lockdown for me to see how well we’ve done and how far we have come.

Will the lockdown change society?

I think people will walk away from this with something. I’m usually pretty private but this has made me want to be part of a community. When I’m walking the dog and someone speaks to me I’ll speak to them — whereas before I’d have kept my head down, walked the dog and come home.

I’m sure it will change people — we’re going through something that will become a moment in history and it’s forced us all to think about things that are important to us. It could make the world a happier place or I could be wrong and it could turn everyone into evil b*stards.

Ricky Wilson and Tony Blackburn’s Pop Detectives podcast is available from all usual podcast providers. Utilita Live From The Drive-In: Kaiser Chiefs comes to Lincoln on August 13 and Milton Keynes on August 14, livenation.co.uk