Real dilemmas, real solutions – from our real-life superheroes. This issue, just back from her world tour, Paloma Faith uses Tinder in entirely the wrong way and no longer chases idiots.
Q What makes you feel wild?
A It used to be very different. Let me give you an example. I went to my friend’s book launch, she’s called Alice Hawkins, and her book is called Alice’s Adventures, she’s an amazing photographer. I met her years ago with another friend when we all worked at Agent Provocateur. We’ve all gone on to do other things, and we’ve also all gone on and had babies. And at the book launch they were giving out gin and tonics in cans, and my friend was smoking a rollie, and said, “I’m drinking gin and tonic from a can and smoking a rollie and it’s making me feel like I’m in my twenties!” And it made me laugh because that’s how bad things have got; that’s our “wild” now. But the truth is I haven’t been out properly for a very long time, and now when I do go out, it feels like it’s 5am even though it’s only 11pm. It’s a bad time for me and being wild.
Q What one thing are you currently doing to make the planet greener?
A I try and do lots of things. I recycle, I do composting, I make sure the clothes I have get passed on or I donate to charity shops so they don’t get thrown away. I still often take the bus instead of taking cabs and driving. I switch the lights off when I leave the room. I don’t let the tap run while I’m brushing my teeth. Loads of little things.
Q Where does your soul most happily reside: city, countryside, or both?
A City. 100 per cent. In fact, since I was a child I’ve always said that when I die I want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered along the No 73 bus route.
Q The DJ fails to show up. What’s your go-to track to get everyone dancing?
A Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5.
Q Who is the hero or heroine you’d be tongue-tied to find yourself sitting next to at a dinner?
A Jeanette Winterson. I’m scared to meet her. It’s scary to meet your idols in case you sound stupid. I felt the same about meeting Hanif Kureishi, and when I did finally meet him I sounded like a moron. But now I’m friends with him.
Q The message to your younger self?
A Stop chasing idiots. It took me a while to get over that habit.
Q Which world conflict would you like to see resolved first and how would you do it?
A Does Donald Trump count as a world conflict? I’d get a re-count for the presidential election, and then gently tell him he wasn’t supposed to have been elected President, sorry. And then hopefully Hillary could step in. It would all be handled very quietly and politely.
Q You’re on a raft adrift in the ocean and the sharks are circling. Who is your companion to get you to shore safely – and who would you feed to the sharks?
A Trump can go to the sharks, that’s easy. And then my companion to get me there safely? Barack Obama. No wait, let’s have Michelle Obama. Even better.
Q What do you look for in a deputy?
A I don’t have one. But I do have a PA, a manager and an assistant manager. I look for efficiency and a calm response to any mayhem that surrounds me. Which happens often. I think that’s what I am – efficient but calm. There is no point in worrying.
Q What’s the key requirement for a lifetime partner of the romantic kind?
A Open dialogue and empathy.
Q What’s the retirement plan?
A Rent a flat out.
Q What’s your favourite lazy-at-home dish to cook?
A Roast chicken thighs. Something where I don’t have to do very much to make it taste delicious.
Q Career advice for the Paloma wannabes?
A You don’t have to be very talented, you just have to be resilient.
Q What do you wish you had said to someone who has departed this earth? And what do you wish they had said to you?
A I wish that I had told the boyfriend I lost my virginity to, “Thank you for making that experience so kind and sweet,” but unfortunately he has since died. He was just so lovely. It’s not until you get older and you swap stories that you realise how horrific that very first time can be.
Q The last time you prayed, who did you pray to and were your prayers answered?
A When I was a teenager. It was probably something like, “Please get me out of this detention.”
Q Who do you currently have a crush on?
A I don’t have room for it at the moment, but I do like D’Angelo circa 1990.
Q What would your Tinder profile say?
A Tinder is the most exciting thing! Although I’m probably not meant to use it the way I do, which is to log on to my male friends’ accounts and write completely inappropriate responses, thereby getting them banned. If I had an account myself I’d probably tell people not to write to me unless they had a sense of humour – “Humourless humans can f*** off”. (I know that’s a bit aggressive but my nanny just let me down, and I’m stuck at home when we were meant to be doing this over dinner.)
Q What superhero power would you most like to have and why?
A I’d like the ability to diffuse conflict and aggression. In any situation. I’d probably have to use it on individuals, one by one. But if I was quick enough I could potentially solve all the world’s problems with this one power.
Q Where do you get your therapy from?
A From my therapist, obvs.
Q Your book at bedtime?
A I’m reading two: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and The Good Women of China by Xinran. But as soon I open them I fall asleep. Not because they’re not good, but because you do go a bit brain dead for a while after having a child. Have you seen The Letdown? Isn’t it good?
Q Your epitaph?
A I told you no f****** photos.
Q What did you learn from the toughest time in your life?
A That I can survive anything.
Q And from the happiest?
A That it’s all worth it in the end.
Q You’re blowing out the candles on the birthday cake. What one thing do you wish for?
A But if you tell someone then it doesn’t come true, does it?