Newmarket: James Blunt talks taking on Twitter trolls and touring - plus, win meet and greet tickets for his show

James Blunt, playing Newmarket Racecourse next week

James Blunt, playing Newmarket Racecourse next week - Credit: Archant

If you want a lesson in dealing with web trolls, as well as a laugh, check out James Blunt’s Twitter feed.

Joining the social network site was his record label’s idea. It’s one they may’ve come to regret.

“I chose my own Twitter handle, which wasn’t @JamesBlunt (as it is now), I was called dirty little blunt,” the singer laughs mischievously. “I was slightly messing around, then I thought one day I might as well just enjoy it and say it how it is...The second time I posted two of them (his comebacks) I got a phone call from my record label, from the marketers, saying ‘please don’t do that, that’s a really, really bad idea’. Suppose I didn’t stop.”

Most of the people he follows are journalists, Twitter being the fastest way of hearing news. The rest, he says, is people either marketing themselves or just opinionating.

“For some reason, human beings can’t help themselves but be horrid about others behind their backs,” he laughs. “I think it’s worth laughing at, that someone should take their opinion so seriously that me, as a reader, should even consider being offended by someone taking their opinion so seriously.

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“I’m having fun with it. The moment you make a joke about it, other people seem to relax too.”

The former army officer who, as a member of the Household Cavalry, loves horses is performing at Newmarket Nights on June 27. He was in Darwin, Australia, when we spoke as part of his Moon Landing tour which started in Shanghai, China, on New Year’s Eve and travels the world until the end of next March.

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“In reality I don’t really get to see much (of the sights) if I’m honest; I’m a great practitioner of speed tourism,” he laughs. “You get a feel for the character of a place by the audience I play to.”

Blunt, who spent a lot of his childhood in East Anglia and whose uncle worked for The Jockey Club, is enjoying music again not just as a job but as a hobby. Being thrown into the spotlight after the success of his debut album Back to Bedlam, he perhaps thought about follow-ups All the Lost Souls and Some Kind of Trouble too hard.

“With the second I fought against being in the public eye and wrote quite a dark album, you can tell by the title it’s not especially happy. The third I wrote thinking ‘well, I’ll embrace it’. I wrote songs to fill the arenas I was in with sound, I picked up an electric guitar rather than an acoustic. This one, I didn’t think about it so much, instead I just enjoyed it for the reason I got into music in the first place.

“Because I didn’t think so hard about the audience but instead just enjoyed music, I suppose people have probably come back and said well, they can hear it’s a bit more genuine. The response seems to be really warm.”

Blunt says Moon Landing has been more natural, more fun to make in many ways. He especially loves touring.

“It’s nothing to do with the industry, it’s just to do with the job of being a musician. I get up, every night, with my band, on stage and play songs I love from all four albums,” says the singer, who’s planning an arena tour in November. “To do that every night with an audience who turn up, sing with us and who enjoy it... I love every minute of it.”

Not a great player of lots of B-sides, he describes himself as a person who makes sure an audience walks away having heard the songs they wanted to hear.

“I can really genuinely say people are surprised by my live show. They expect one man and his guitar singing very weepy songs and being over-emotional. If I had a whole gig of that it’d be a mass of blood from slit wrists from the audience.

“Of course there’s a quiet moment of Goodbye My Lover and You’re Beautiful is a bigger song now than I suppose it was when I wrote it. People are normally surprised by the energy. I don’t go to the gym, I run around and sweat on a stage and pretend I’m in a band,” he laughs. “It makes for a fun gig.”

Event has teamed up with Newmarket Racecourses to give away a pair of meet and greet tickets for Blunt’s show. Email your name, address and a daytime contact number to by 5pm on Wednesday, June 25.

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