In the 1990's, Alex James was best known for his role as bassist in hugely successful Britpop band Blur, now he says he's as likely to hear "Don't I know you from somewhere? Ahh yes, you make cheese!".
Now a father of five, Alex bought his Oxfordshire farm whilst on honeymoon, saying at the time he thought it was a unique, romantic gesture, now he says "it's got trendy and isn't it just another thing old musicians do, buy a farm? Chef's are the new rock stars!"
Alex's passion for cheese started in the 1970's, when as a child he can clearly remember being taken to a party with his parents and tasting red leicester for the first time and 'being blown away by it'. Like many of us at that time he didn't know there was any cheese other than Cheddar.
Fast forward to the 21st century and today Alex thinks Cheddar cheese is the best in the world, citing Somerset's Montgomery's and Keen's as two of the best of the best. And the best thing to drink with cheese? "Undoubtedly beer," he says, " you can't get it wrong -bread, beer and Cheddar cheese, a winner everytime".
Alex has his own range of cheeses, sold in Asda. He says "the cheese world is intimidating, I wanted to produce delicious, affordable products that everyone can enjoy with their families. One day I mixed my kids three favourite cheeses and put them in the microwave to melt before pouring them on a jacket potato - I was inspired by a trip to France when I was about 16, the French serve jacket potatoes wiuth melted cheese - the result was amazing, addictive!" From this Alex developed Spudsworth, a mix of 3 cheeses, one tasty, one acidic and one unctuous, sold in cubes which melt well in the microwave, but don't lose flavour like grated cheese.
Asked about advice for cheesemakers on dealing with buyers, Alex says "First of all you've got to have something they want, and to have a plan; know what you are doing with your brand and where you're going with it. Don't see the buyer as the enemy, work with them to build an ongoing relationship".
And on whether Blur will re-form more permanently after their Olympic Closing Concert in Hyde Park? "I'm not saying no, but it depends on which band member you ask on which day!"