How the former tank commander and the most ridiculed man in pop conquered a new army of fans
James Blunt crowdsurfs at the Invictus Games Closing Ceremony during the Invictus pandora newest charms Games at Queen Elizabeth park.
The International pandora compatible charms sports event for 'wounded warriors' and organised by Prince Harry
It's taken ten years, but James Blunt tweet, if you dare is cool. A decade after the release of the former Army captain's debut album, Back To Bedlam, Blunt has enjoyed a remarkable year and a dramatic boost in the hipster pandora club australia opinion polls.
In the past 12 months he has turned 40, released his fourth studio album, Moon Landing, re entered the singles chart's orbit with Bonfire Heart, and married his girlfriend Sofia Wellesley, granddaughter of the Duke Of Wellington.
The 20 million careful owners of James Blunt's sensitive soft rock albums may have always believed him to be a name to drop in fashionable circles, but his brilliantly witty emergence on Twitter, the gung ho Top Gear appearances (he attempted to roll the 'reasonably priced' guest car, and raced the fastest lap ever recorded in wet conditions) and his unapologetic, latter day playboy lifestyle have sealed the deal for the singer whose hits include You're Beautiful, Goodbye My Lover and 1973. He is currently cooler than the other side of the pillow.
'I don't know whether to be insulted by the accusation,' Blunt puzzles, scratching his stubble backstage at an Austrian arena as he prepares to play his 131st show of the year. 'I genuinely don't know how to respond.
'I probably suffered from over play of over emotional songs,' he says of his years in the uncool wilderness.
'I found in my writing that I could express emotions that as an everyday person I have no interest in expressing. These strange things that girls talk about called feelings.'
Good mates: James has struck up a relationship with Prince Harry, both men having served in the same regimen
He is dressed in a T shirt, jeans and thick soled trainers.
'I'm a fairly unaffected human being,' he muses. 'I'm easy to talk to, I hope. I'm not too bothered about the clothes I'm wearing. I've been misquoted in interviews as to appear earnest. Which I am not.'
Blunt is far from earnest. He regularly cracks self deprecating jokes, often about his own diminutive build. No one takes the rise out of Blunt quite as well as Blunt does himself.
'I've had a lot of practice,' he sighs.
'Do people actually like James Blunt again? Like, seriously?' asked Emma on Twitter. 'Don't panic,' Blunt tweeted. 'It's just a glitch in the Matrix.'
I look at Blunt's eyes pale blue, level gaze and wonder what they have seen. Before his pop career, he served in the Army for six years, working as an armoured reconnaissance officer in the Nato deployment in Kosovo on the Madedonia/Yugoslavian border in 1999.
The day we speak, British troops leave Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, ending a 13 year war.
'The legacy of Afghanistan and Iraq', Blunt says, 'which we don't seem to be touching upon at the moment, is we talk about the number of deaths: 435.
'And while that is devastating to each family concerned, we're not talking about the number who lost limbs, and that is in the thousands.'
It was while in Kosovo that Blunt wrote the intensely moving No Bravery. Many anti war songs have been written but few from within a war itself.
'It was incredibly easy to write,' he recalls. 'Because it just describes what was around us at the time. It took no imagination.
'The things that were in front of me were absolutely abhorrent. What struck me most about that time is the imagination with which human beings can murder each other. It's a tragedy.'
'People want to ask: "How many people did you kill?" he said in 2007. "And it's desperately offensive. We saved thousands of lives in what I considered to be a just war. I think people are intrigued purely for the gore factor.'
Like many soldiers, he finds war hard to discuss.
'It's hard to explain,' he stresses, 'without making it sound inhumane or unempathetic.
'Kosovo is definitely not at the forefront of my thinking every day. Enough has happened to me. I did go back [in 2006] to try and find out whether our presence had been of benefit to the place.
'In some places it definitely had, and in other places where I know that we had invested so much of our energy and time the benefits were non existent. The point and the purpose had been to save lives. To stand between two people who were trying to murder each other and say: "Enough."'
At which point are you most frightened as a soldier?
'When politics gets involved and decisions are no longer based on what is happening on the ground. There was the experience I had in Pristina airport when [US Nato Commander] Wesley Clark told us to overrun and overpower 200 Russians because they'd beaten us to the airport,' he remembers.
'Fortunately, General Mike Jackson told us that pandora charms stores was not necessary. The consequences of overpowering 200 Russians seemed fairly clear.'
Jackson, Blunt recalls, famously closed the discussion by saying that his men were 'not going to start the Third World War' for General Clark.
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