Chris Stewart shot to fame with Driving Over Lemons in 1999. Funny, insightful and real, the book told the story of how he bought a peasant farm on the wrong side of the river, with its previous owner still a resident. It became an international bestseller, along with its sequels A Parrot in the Pepper Tree, and The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society. His latest book is Three Ways to Capsize a Boat.
In an earlier life, Stewart was the original drummer in Genesis (he played on the first album), then joined a circus, learned how to shear sheep, went to China to write the Rough Guide, gained a pilots license in Los Angeles, and completed a course in French cooking. He lives in Spain with is wife and daughter.
This biography was last updated on 12/27/2010.
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A Conversation with Chris Stewart, author of Driving Over Lemons
Let's first get some background -- how did you first get started in music?
Music, well, it was a long time ago. I'd have been about 13 when I saw Summer Holiday and the Young Ones, starring Cliff Richard. (For the benefit of your people, Cliff Richard is a sort of sanitized British version of Elvis Presley -- looser fitting trousers and rather more modest movements of the hips.) I wanted to be Cliff Richard, a ridiculous ambition engendered by his apparently phenomenal success with women, as portrayed on the screen at any rate. I saw this odd trans-substantiation as being the key to finding a mate, a quest which from the age of 12 started to occupy my every waking moment. The first step was to buy an old Spanish guitar.
I was quite devoid of musical talent, couldn't even tune the thing, but in the knowledge that a minimal mastery of this sonorous wooden box would secure me all the sex and love I could cope with, I persevered. I practiced till the blisters beneath the blisters on my fingertips were blue. In time, I achieved a certain pathetic proficiency; I mastered a Bourrée by Bach, a couple of simple pop songs, and found myself a ...
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