Singer Paloma Faith, 26, would rule a most harmonious queendom filled with music and feminism… and a little role-play now and then
I would reign solo. That’s the type of girl I am. I wouldn’t want to share that responsibility with another person. I’m pretty into being the one who has the final say on things. Somebody else might complicate that. Then I would move the palace to Holland Park so I could be right next to Gelato Mio which would be really important. It’s an ice-cream parlour that does the most amazing Italian ice cream.
I would stress the importance of feminism. I believe in equality and empowerment for women and I hope that I embody that in the way I am. I admire people like Germaine Greer, Anaïs Nin; writers like Jeanette Winterson and Angela Carter. I love Mae West. She was one of the first real feminists. She was empowered by her womanhood. She didn’t feel hindered by her gender and that was really innovative and rare for her era [the Thirties]. She could sit and drink and joke with everyone and she was very funny.
We would all be considered equal. I deplore people from the upper classes looking down or frowning upon people who have been less privileged. It’s one of my pet hates. I’d make sure people were treated equally and the system was set up so the rich paid their way and the poor were properly looked after.
I definitely wouldn’t take away the NHS. It’s one of the things I’m really proud of about our culture. I know it’s not perfect and needs improvement, but it’s an incredible thing. We are one of the few places in the world that has it; that, and the benefit system. I’m proud to be British because they’re in place.
More orchestras for everyone! Something everyone should experience once in life is standing in the middle of a string orchestra. It’s incredible. I work a lot with the 54-piece Guy Barker Orchestra and I’ve never felt or experienced anything like it. I’m about to do it again and I feel like the luckiest person alive. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to heaven on earth.
We would live in harmony. If I could, I would stop all war and violence – completely. It’s pointless. Trying to solve things with conversation would be better. And I would eradicate racism and homophobia, particularly the sort that’s left under cover, which we still have in our semi-pretend liberal society.
My dinner parties would be epic. I would invite writers such as Anne Carson, Milan Kundera and Hanif Kureishi. Then I would have Nelson Mandela, Edith Piaf, Wong Kar-Wai, David Lynch, Isabella Rossellini, Grace Jones, Björk, Matthew Barney and Timothy Spall; I could go on. I would just sit there and wait and see what happens, because I’m sure so much would. I’m quite good at cooking so I reckon I could take the burden on. Just to be safe, I’d probably make a couple of paellas because it’s easy and serves loads of people.
I would run courses on decision making. I hate ‘sitting on the fence’. People who say, “I don’t want to get involved,” or shrug their shoulders and say, “Just let them get on with it” annoy me. Nothing ever gets done doing that; it’s completely futile. If I meet somebody like that, I immediately ignore them.
I’d moonlight as an actress, in Christina Ricci’s roles. If I wasn’t a musician, I’d like to be an actress. That would be my plan B. I’d want to be cast in the sort of roles that Christina Ricci gets – quirky, avant garde and a little bit disjointed. I really loved her in Buffalo ’66 and Monster. I’d probably have to look into theatre school first, though!
The curriculum would be brought up-to-date. A must-read book is Immortality by Milan Kundera. It’s kind of an existential book about everything and nothing. It’s so under my skin; my whole outlook on life changed when I read it – I sort of accepted myself; it really gave me an insight into just accepting flaws. For film, Mike Leigh’s Secrets & Lies. It’s a good moral lesson and quite relevant.
We would listen without prejudice. I wouldn’t ban any music. Everybody has the right to their own choice. But I’d encourage people to listen to Maria Callas singing an aria because when you crank it up really loud, it’s amazing. Edith Piaf’s Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien is another one. I will regret nothing. I try to live my life by that. Everything you do ends up contributing to who you are.
A little make believe would be encouraged. When I was a child, I used to eat my dinner on the pavement outside our house in Hackney. We didn’t have a garden and there wasn’t a lot of green space so my mum would put a little table and tablecloth out on the pavement and pretend it was a restaurant. A little imagination goes a long way!
Paloma Faith’s album Fall To Grace is out nationwide on 28 May