Ex Roses singer talks for the first time about life in Strangeways...

Ian Brown has spoken for the first time about his experiences in prison. In an interview that appears in this week’s NME, Brown maintains that he was forced to serve his sentence in a maximum security prison because of the attentions of the tabloid press. He also claims to have seen more drugs in prison than in all his time in the music industry.

“It just reminded, I suppose. I read this book Soul On Ice by Eldridge Cleaver and in it he goes to his education class and the teacher says to him, ‘I can walk, I can talk, I can see, I can hear – I’m a walking miracle’. And I related to that because that’s all you’ve got in there. So, I suppose it’s like anything, your suspicions get confirmed,” he said.

Brown also maintains that he was innocent of the charges that landed him inside.

“You can’t remain angry all the time. If you’re innocent you’re still better laughing all the way through it because it’s a laugh-or-cry situation. After three days I’d had absolutely nothing, and a kid give me an orange one day and I was looking at this orange for about half-an-hour before I opened it, just looking. The thanks I was giving for that orange. It was like a Christmas hamper!”

“In Strangeways they give me a job giving bread out at breakfast and dinner time. I could see who was the vulnerable prisoners, ‘cos they shake like on Roobarb And Custard. Then you get to hear about their offences and you’ve got to stand and give a guy a piece of bread when you’ve just been told he’s given an 18-month-old girl from Eccles 45 stitches. And you’re supposed to give these guys bread.”

Were the other prisoners alright to you?

“Yeah. The screws were giving me a hard time, so they all come on me side because they could see what was happening. You walk past them and they’re like, ‘You brushed past me’. Shouting in your face and trying to get you to respond. So then it’s 21 days on report. Even when you’re getting out they’re still working on you. They’re like children going, ‘You’re not getting out, you know. There’s been a mistake.’ The problem isn’t doing the time, it’s trying not to get given more time.”

Brown was offered heroin inside, traditionally smoked on the foil from a Kit Kat.

“I seen more drugs in jail than I’ve seen all the time in the music business, nightclubs, anywhere else,” he said. “They say it makes the walls disappear. But I was like, ‘No thanks. Not interested. I’ll just have the chocolate’.”

Brown also claims that he was set up by British Airways.

“When I came out there was a press release that I’d been banned from British Airways and they’d sent me a letter. I never received no such letter but three weeks ago I got a fookin’ thing for me air miles from British Airways, and ‘Would I like to enter into the free summer draw?’!”

You can read the whole Ian Brown interview in NME, on sale now in London and across the UK from tomorrow.

Click back tomorrow for exclusive details as to how you can win tickets to his first ever London solo show on November 10 which will be webcasting in association with VirtueTV and Carling Premier.

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