My haven: Songwriter and former chart-topper Gilbert O'Sullivan in the music room of his family home on Jersey
'I don't even let the housekeeper in here in case she moves things around,' says Gilbert of his music room
1 GOING FOR A SONG
It may look like chaos, but I know where everything is in my music room, and I’m always happy here composing on my little piano or writing new lyrics. All the notes are ideas for songs I’m working on – I’ve never used a computer. This is my filing system and it works perfectly for me. I don’t even let the housekeeper in here in case she moves things around. You could say I have a slight case of OCD, but I don’t see that as a problem.
2 ONE LUMP OR TWO
Every time I look at my teapot paperweight I want to put the kettle on. I couldn’t live without tea. I have two cups in the morning, one at lunch, two in the afternoon and one in the evening – Assam with milk and sugar. It has to be leaf tea – no bags – and drunk from a china cup. I always take a teapot with me on tour. I suppose it’s only natural that I’ve just written a song called Where Would We Be Without Tea
3 FAMILY MAN
My Norwegian wife Aase was a Pan Am stewardess back in the Seventies when we met. She was very attractive, and we became good friends, but I was travelling a lot and she was jetting back and forth across the Atlantic, so it was a while before we got together. We married in 1980 and have two wonderful daughters – Helen Marie, 30, who’s in publishing, and Tara, 26, who’s in PR. I’m very lucky to have three lovely ladies in my life.
4 GOOD AS GOLD
Our pet dog Rosko makes up the family. We named him after Emperor Rosko, the old Radio 1 DJ – we just liked the name. Like all golden retrievers he’s a wonderful family dog, and great around children. We’ve always had dogs – he’s our third after a collie and another retriever. I spend a lot of time sitting writing, so I love to walk Rosko every evening for an hour. It gets me out of the house and gives Rosko a chance to run around.
5 CLOSEST FRIEND
Bob Hook was my good friend who designed a lot of album covers for me, but tragically he died in his 50s about ten years ago. This photo of his wedding day always reminds me of him. I don’t have many good friends, but I met Bob at college in Swindon and we were close ever since. The first cover he did was Southpaw in 1977 – I’m left-handed and it shows a left hand holding a pen writing sheet music. That cover even won an award.
6 CUSHY NUMBER
I’m very fond of this piano cushion that a Filipino girl fan of mine, Charley, gave me in the early 70s. I went on to date her for a while and I’ve always treasured this lovely present. I have a lot of mementoes from those days but somehow this just brings it all back more than anything. There’s something really nice about it, partly because it’s so different. I’ve no idea whether she made it herself, but I was very touched by her gift.
Gilbert is on tour from 17 March-15 April and The Very Best Of Gilbert O’Sullivan – A Singer And His Songs is out now.