Chris Madden: I don’t know why I said that

Chris Madden.
Chris Madden.
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Chris Madden remembers hiding from the rent man with his mum in their Leeds home, but he grew up to party with the lead singer of a supergroup - and insult him. Jayne Dawson finds out more.

Chris Madden, 48, is a clinical hypnotherapist . He has three children aged 21, 11 and four and has been married to his wife Helen for seven years. He worked in the music industry but retrained as a therapist after recovering from a life-threatening illness

My first job was as a paperboy delivering the Yorkshire Evening Post when I was 13. That was in Horsforth and I had the longest round ever. I couldn’t wait to be 15 so I could get something that would earn me more money.

If I was ever given any good advice I certainly didn’t follow it. My earliest memory is hiding from the rent man with my mum. My parents were teenagers when they had me, and we lived in Bramley.

I don’t have a guilty pleasure, life should be all about pleasure. The nearest I have is some of the music I like. There was a point when I thought I couldn’t tell people I like The Carpenters, but as I’ve grown older I have realised there is no such thing as cool.

I do have a pet hate though. I can’t stand the way football supporters are now called “fans”. It suggests someone young who doesn’t know any better. Football supporters are not like that, they are stuck with their team whatever happens. I’m stuck with Leeds.

I would like to meet the Dalai Lama, Nigel Farage and the writer Robert Anton Wilson. I would put them in a room together with me and hold a Chinese tea ceremony.

My favourite weekend is always the next weekend coming up. I love them. Ideally I would have a lie-in - but I have a four year old daughter so a lie-in means 8am. Then there would be newspapers, sunshine and food - I do the cooking.

My teenage self was insecure, a typical teenager. Those are they years when you are changing week by week, when you are trying on different identities. I was a bit of a headbanger so the first band I attached myself to was Thin Lizzie, I would tell him not to worry because everything was going to be alright. In my job I work with people who are often suffering remorse and regret, I try to help them let go of all that.

I use Facebook , which my son tells me is now only for old people but it means I can reconnect with people I knew 30 years ago which sounds like a good thing to me, and I follow all sorts of people on Twitter, lots of writers - and Leeds United. Technology is speeding up so much, by the time I have caught up with my son he will be on to something else entirely.

My philosophy on life is that it’s all just a big adventure, and a bit of an illusion. My grandmother was a spiritualist and I used to watch her hold seances. She believed it and also saw the ridiculousness of it, so I feel a bit like that.

I couldn’t live without a sense of curiosity, it’s essential to life. I have done many different jobs and retrained as a therapist after recovering from an illness when I suffered a burst appendix and a collapsed lung. I had been working for a council but I didn’t want to wear a suit anymore. Now I am taking an MA in psychotherapy. The thing I am best at in life is connecting with other people.

My most embarrassing moment involved a band. I loved REM and I saw them at the Warehouse In Leeds in 1983. Many years later I was lucky enough to get in to their end-of-world-tour party in New York, thanks to a friend. I even got to speak to lead singer Michael Stipe but what came out of my mouth was: “you had more hair last time I saw you.” My Bramley background kicked in. For years afterwards every time I heard Everybody Hurts, I cringed.

I think it would surprise people to know I once presented a radio show called “Music for Prisons”. It was on a pirate radio station, Dream FM, and it was for the prisoners of Armley Jail. I used to play chilled out, soporific music, and we used to get some lovely letters from them.

I had a lovely childhood. My mum was 19 when I was born and my dad was 20, and they were quite funky. I have a younger sister, Angela, I’d say we are very different.

My first kiss was when I was 16 so I was a late starter. It was at a party and I think she felt sorry for me.

The first record I ever bought was by Ian Dury and it was called New Boots and Panties. - it was an album, I didn’t bother with singles. I took it straight to my grandma and grandad’s and played it on their stereogram while they watched When The Boat Comes In.

Leeds is a brilliant place, it has a great underground scene and it is very embracing of different cultures. It has good places to eat too, I like Red’s BBQ, the Aire Bar, Salvos, the Outlaws Yacht Club and Saffron Persian restaurant.

By Emma Booth.

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