Martin Fry: If I ruled the world
BY Becca Inglis
7th Feb 2024 Celebrities
3 min read
Martin Fry, who began his career as frontman of the new romantic four-piece, ABC, shares what laws he would lay down as the world's "benevolent despot"
Everybody would sing
I’m a singer and I have to say, after 40 years of singing, I find it very therapeutic.
I joined a band and I got forced to the front and centre, which is usually where the singer stands, and I became a singer by accident.
I think everybody should sing. I can see the benefits of it for your health and sanity. It doesn’t matter what voice anyone has. Some people say they can’t sing, but I don’t believe them.
I would ban Morris dancing*
I’ve always been a bit scared of Morris dancers. I would encourage all other forms of dance—like singing, dancing is good for you, and as you get older you do less.
But the one dance I would prohibit would be anything holding a stick and bells, and that will include Morris dancing—sorry, guys.
"I’ve always been a bit scared of Morris dancers"
Well, I’d soften the law on it. You’d have to fill out a long questionnaire as to why you want to do it. I’d have a committee to oversee everything, and if they were satisfied the Morris dancing could be done without any danger to the community, they would grant a license.
(*Read Christopher Somerville’s edict on Morris dancing, which Martin Fry is responding to, in his If I Ruled The World interview.)
Kindness would be rewarded with a points system
You know when you fly on an airline and they give you Avios miles? I will introduce those for people who are friendly to each other.
At infant school, they’d give you tiddlywinks or a gold star, so we’d develop something along those lines.
"I think we’ve all forgotten that we are part of one branch of a tree"
I’ve spent a lot of time being pretty sardonic and cruel, and when I look on social media I see a world out there where people seem cynical. I think we’ve all forgotten that we are part of one branch of a tree, rather than a separate forest.
I would ban weapons
I would dig a hole and bury a lot of weapons. It would be a big hole, but it would be worth doing, because where are we headed? It’s almost like people are getting nostalgic for wars again. Things are coming full circle.
Everybody would have an electric car
We’re overdue on rethinking fossil fuels. It seems like we’re moving backwards in that direction, so I’m happy to go compulsory—give everybody ten years to get it out of their system.
I’ve had the Tesla for seven years and have not missed that smell of petrol. I have navigated my way around the UK on electric.
I could see the occasional moments of charge anxiety, but it scares me when I hear people talking about how there’s not enough electricity to go around. I think there is.
We’d have a closer relationship with our seas and rivers
I spend a lot of time in Barbados, and it’s such a joy to swim in a sea that’s not as contaminated as here in the UK.
The sea is geographically an enormous part of the planet, so I’d like us all to become seafarers and keep it as biodiverse and clean as possible. Polluting the rivers and seas just seems suicidal.
"Polluting the rivers and seas just seems suicidal"
We’d have a new form of police. They’d be like a semi-aquatic police force—much more interesting than the police force today. Their outfits would be more like Aquaman.
My term would be limited
I’d do an eight-year sentence, then hand it over to somebody much younger. I’ve seen so many guys my age mess up badly. It’s time for a new generation to take over.
I don’t want a crown. Power corrupts anyway, doesn’t it? When you look across the world, every figurehead seems to run out of steam eventually—just walk into that hall of mirrors and get confused with their role.
So I should stress that my rules are there not to be broken, but at the same time I’m only going to be there a short while. I’m a benevolent despot.
ABC’s The Lexicon of Love: Orchestral Tour, with the Southbank Sinfonia, visits venues across the UK this February. The 40th anniversary reissue of The Lexicon of Love is out now
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