Private Passions - Ben Howard

Ben Howard will always love Devon
Private Passions - Ben Howard

The first time I went to Devon I was probably two or three-years-old; we used to go down there for family trips. When I was eight or nine we moved there to a little place called Dartington and I thought it was totally backwards.

My earliest memory was on the north coast of Devon and it was the first time I went surfing as well; it was a surf camp and I hated it. It was in the autumn, I just remember being a little kid and I was with my sister and it was cold, bleak and raining and the thought of going in the sea when it was pissing down with rain was the last thing I wanted to do. I hated it.

But as soon as I made a few good friends and figured out the ropes I really started enjoying it. Probably my teen years were the best days of my life; you had very few responsibilities and you had a ton of countryside to go run around in. Get a couple of mates and just go trekking, pick magic mushrooms or go fishing. I think they’re quite good at underage drinking in countryside towns, so I started going to the pub and drinking about sixteen - it’s also where I played my first open mic.

A lot of the nice places where I grew up as kid and where I used to go surfing have turned into old people’s residential homes so that kind of pisses me off.

About eighteen months ago we built a raft around the river Dart - we were like The Goonies, building it out of all sorts of little nonsense. The raft fell apart and we got marooned in the middle of a stream.
    
I listen to the stuff I’ve got out now and I realised it’s got a stamp on it - with lyrics you always tend to sing about what you know - it wouldn’t make sense if I was singing about some urban place which I haven’t really experienced much.

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