Alex James sings the praises of McDonalds, Greggs and KFC
Musician who moved to the country to make cheese and host food festivals stuns fans
ALEX JAMES, once the bass player with the country's biggest rock band, Blur, has been reduced to a laughing stock thanks to his new role as The Sun's celebrity food columnist and his sudden, slavering endorsement of fast food giants Greggs, McDonalds and KFC.
The former rocker appears to have had something of an epiphany since quitting London and a life of rock'n'roll excess at the Groucho club in 2003 to take up residence in the Cotswolds and make cheese.
In his latest piece, published by The Sun today, the rocker is pictured grinning at the camera from under various hair nets and posing next to trays of mass-produced sausage meat, burgers and drumsticks.
He enthuses about a "brilliant" day out at the McDonalds factory, says that he wishes his local village store in Kingham was a Greggs and looks forward to deep-frying meat, KFC style, in his own kitchen.
For the first few years after moving in with the Chipping Norton set (Jeremy Clarkson, David Cameron, Elisabeth Murdoch et al) James was a fixture in the broadsheets, waxing lyrical about his healthy new lifestyle.
Last year he even hosted his own 'Harvest Festival' which combined his twin passions of food and music. It featured chefs including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jay Rayner and proudly announced: "If you like food that goes 'ping!' when it’s ready, look away now... fine food is the alter we kneel before and the chefs below are the deities that make us sing Hosanna."
In The Sun he sings a rather different tune.
"My day with McDonald's was absolutely brilliant," he says of a visit to a burger factory in Scunthorpe. "When you go to the docks it smells of fish. This was the same but with an overpowering smell of beef - a beefy docks."
He then visits a McDonalds in Leicester where he notes: "In some ways it's very similar to a Michelin-starred restaurant. When it's busy in a Michelin kitchen, all the chefs are doing is putting pre-prepared parts of a meal together, which is essentially the same as McDonald's."
James even gets a present. "They gave me a bag of the seasoning which goes on a Big Mac and I've been using it to flavour my home-made bread," he reveals. "It's awesome and, according to McDonald's, contains just salt and pepper."
While at Greggs he bizarrely claims: "In the age of the internet, hot food businesses are thriving, because unlike music or media you can't get a hot pasty for free online.
"Yes, big business can be a bad thing, but only if it's bad," he explains. "The little bakery in my local village offers goods too sweet and sugary and is massively over-priced. I can think of much worse things than a Greggs opening up there."
He is even impressed by KFC, announcing: "You would be mad to eat there all the time but there's nothing wrong with it as a treat.
"A clever recipe, cutting-edge technology and good training," he concludes. "Plus, they put it in a nice box."
Since joining The Sun last year he has sung the praises of Little Chef and Krispy Kreme Donuts, but his latest piece has led to a day of sustained abuse for the former rocker on Twitter. Kevin Cummins, using the handle KCMANC, appeared to sum up the thoughts of many when he commented: "Alex James. What an utter tool the manboy is..."