My First Crash

My lawyer sends me a fax every week saying: “Drive slower.” He knows I’ve had quite a few car crashes in my life. 

One of the worst ones was bizarre. I was doing a concert in Norwich and I came off stage at 11pm. I had to be in Birmingham for 7 o’clock the next morning so I set off about midnight for a four-hour drive in my VW Golf. 

I had just bought Kate Bush’s latest CD, The Red Shoes, and I was listening to a song on it called Moments of Pleasure — a very special song about Kate’s mother who had died before she made the album. It’s the most beautiful song in the world. 

Some of the roads I was driving while listening to this album were really bendy, but some of them were quite straight Roman roads. As Moments of Pleasure came on, and I was really howling at this song with the tears streaming down my cheeks, I thought I was on a straight road but suddenly this sharp bend came out of nowhere. 

I was doing about 75mph and I missed the bend entirely, shot over a ditch (which slowed me down a bit) and ended up in someone’s front garden. 

I must have slammed on the brakes when I realised I was leaving the road, but I pranged a tree or two before coming to a sudden stop. Then I just sat there for a minute listening to the song finish. 

The local people got up when they heard a crash and came to see if I was all right. The car didn’t come off too badly considering the speed — there was just a big dent down the passenger’s side and dirty great tyre marks in their front garden. I reversed out of the garden, somewhat embarrassed, and was able to drive it home with my tail between my legs. 

Sunday Times
15th July 2003
Thanks to John Shepherd