Me & my health: Grammy-winning musician Phil Coulter
'I've been trying to convince my friends that 70 is the new 40'
The 77-year-old Grammy-winning musician, songwriter and record producer, "from Derry/Londonderry as Gerry Anderson used to call it", is touring Ireland. He is married to Geraldine and has nine children across two marriages - Siobhan, Niamh, Philip, Danielle, Dominique, Daragh, Alexandra, Ryan and Georgina.
Do you take regular exercise and if so, what?
When my travel schedule permits I walk on Bray seafront every morning. Nothing too strenuous. In my youth I was probably the worst goalkeeper in the history of soccer. Funnily enough my son is now a professional goalkeeper but he didn't take after his father, I can assure you of that.
I'm a very keen horseman - I used to ride a lot - and I used to drive rally cars but I don't know if any of those qualify as healthy exertion.
What is the worst illness you've had?
I've had a few bouts of kidney stones that I wouldn't wish on Boris Johnson. It became so bad that I was on the floor eating the carpet. The first time, with the help of some pethidine painkillers, I passed the stones naturally but on a few other occasions I needed minor surgeries to remove them. They're not pleasant.
How healthy is your diet?
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Reasonably healthy. I try to avoid the bad boys - I haven't had a fish supper for ages!
It's very easy, on the road when you're doing a one nighter, to fall into the trap of getting fast food takeaway and so on, so we try to avoid that. If you're lucky enough to be playing somewhere like the Culloden, happy days, but if you're in one of the smaller theatres you can end up going to the chipper, so that's why you want to prepare ahead. We try to pick up a rotisserie chicken and a bit of salad beforehand and have that as our bit of supper.
Any bad habits?
Dark chocolate digestive biscuits. I have to instruct recording studio assistants not to serve them with cups of tea. I try to avoid them to excess, but a little doesn't hurt. I wouldn't want to paint myself as a fitness fanatic, but I'm aware of the fact that it's what you put into your body that is going to decide the state of your health.
Do you drink and smoke/ if so how much?
Thankfully I never did smoke so I can't claim any real credit for not smoking now! As for alcohol, I restrict myself to a few glasses of decent wine... champagne if I'm celebrating something important, like the release of my memoir 'Bruised, Never Broken'.
Do you take any supplements?
Yes, vitamin C and collagen.
How do you take time out?
Travelling to visit the kids in the four corners of the world, from New Zealand to Los Angeles. This Christmas we are doing our first London gig in 30 years. When that is over, one of the kids lives in Wisconsin and we are going to spend a family Christmas out there with three of the other kids coming in from elsewhere. When I've my time off, I'd be reading or listening to music. My days of driving rally cars are slightly behind me - I wouldn't have the nerve any more.
How well do you sleep?
Very well, except when I'm fighting jet lag. I have yet to find an easy answer to that one. For a while I was living in Beverly Hills scoring the Water Babies movie and probably once a week I was flying to from LA to Pinewood to meet the director and go through various stages and then I took those tapes back across the Atlantic to start working on the score. I was backwards and forwards across the Atlantic a couple of times a week. It takes a bit of time before your body can readjust.
Do you worry about getting old?
I've been trying to convince my friends that 70 is the new 40! I don't obsess about it. I'm lucky I still have my health and people buy tickets to see what I do. As long as they keep buying tickets and as long as my health keeps up, I'll do what I do. I'm very fortunate to have a career and a job that I enjoy and that keeps my brain stimulated. I'm still creative, I'm still doing orchestrations. I've a theory that it's a bit like an old banger of a car - if you park it outside the door, bits fall off but if you keep driving it, it keeps going.
What is your go-to product that keeps you feeling healthy?
San Pellegrino. You just cannot drink enough water and for my money San Pell is the best.
Phil Coulter is live in concert tomorrow at the Riverside Theatre, Coleraine