This month, Blur bassist turned cheese-maker, Alex James, visited UWE to show off his new range of cheese. WesternEye caught up with him to find out more…

From making music to churning cheese – it might sound like an odd transition to some, but for former rock bassist Alex James of Blur, it is a passion that developed after the purchase of his farm in Oxfordshire.

James’s fusion of different flavours and creative ideas has formed a completely new market for cheese since its inception.

The exciting and unique tastes were recently brought for student to sample at Red Bar by Mr James himself.

The former Blur bassist told WesternEye, without even the slightest hesitation, that his favourite cheese is in fact cheddar and that the production of cheese has always interested him: “Making cheese has always been a passion of mine,” he said.

“Everybody knew me as the band member who adored cheese! Fans used to throw it at me on stage.”

It seems, then, that in this odd career move the burning question to ask is: Where has his decision to go from musician to cheese-maker came from?

Speculation may suggest that there was a gap in the market, but for James the idea was far simpler, telling WesternEye that he simply just loves cheese.

James commented that he has “gone from ‘studio’ to ‘foodio’,” continuing: “British chefs in this day and age are more famous than rock stars. Making cheese, for me, is as creative as making music.”

The cheese has also shown to be a huge success with critics, with his goats cheese winning ‘Best Goats Cheese’ in the 2008 British Cheese Awards  –  a success that is no small feat in such a competitive business climate.

And so on Wednesday 9 November, a swarm of students arrived to taste the cheese and meet the man himself. James shared with WesternEye his top tips for starting a business: “Make sure you’re passionate in what you want to do,” he stated.  “Plan ahead by knowing what you want to achieve; and it’s all about the people around you. If I’m honest they give you drive, determination and satisfaction.”

James, a reformed hedonist, is now a happy family man and told of how his children were his number one motivation, giving him the encouragement needed for such innovations.

The rock icon also explained his visions for the future, which are seemingly ever-expanding, stating that he would like to unearth some undiscovered cheese, claiming that there are ideas up his sleeve.

Perhaps the former Blur bassist will be the next Prime Minister?

“My ‘Spudworth’ melting cheese cubes are the answer to all the world’s problems,” he stated – and maybe, just maybe, he is right.

Grace Maddox