They were the baggy trousered bad boys of the 90s UK music scene.

As famed for their enormous intake of drink and drugs as their chart topping hits such as Step On and Kinky Afro, the Happy Mondays were Manchester's maddest musical export.

But these days their notorious maraca-shaking dancer Bez has swapped taking Es for keeping bees and lives in a remote location on the Welsh border where he brews his own "hedgerow booze".

"It's been a revelation to me - to the way I live and think," said the 57-year-old, whose notorious benders back in the band's heyday were the inspiration for tracks such as 24 Hour Party People.

Read more:Why Joe Mangel from Neighbours is now living in a remote farmhouse in the middle of Wales

"It's done me good and I've made some great friends. Everyone's treated me very kindly and it's been a really interesting place to live."

Speaking from his home near Monmouth, the artist better known off-stage as Mark Berry added that his love affair with Wales began many years before.

Having met up with some "aristocratic Welsh hippies who owned a bit of land" at 2004's Glastonbury festival he ended up living part-time on a commune near Swansea called Cwm Yr Hoel Farm.

There Bez learned to keep bees and became more attuned with the natural world around him.

Although, even far away from the temptations of the rock and roll touring circuit, he still managed to prove that old habits die hard.

"I started brewing my own hedgerow booze too, made from all natural ingredients, " Bez laughed.

"At one point I was doing all sorts - honey beer, cider and elderflower wine. The last one I did was like 22% proof or something.

He's swapped the wild life for country living

"It tasted more like a liqueur than a wine.

"This year's crop hasn't been as good though 'cos I've been busy and it's all gone off the boil a bit."

Probably for the best when it comes the old waistline though, he added.

"I'm a lot fitter now than I was at the start of 2021, put it that way," said Bez.

"By the time the first lockdown kicked in during 2020 I'd had a lot a friends staying with me and I piled the weight on - which is as you'd expect when you're drinking 33 pints a week.

"Luckily we didn't have to worry about waking the neighbours because we haven't got any. The main part of the house dates back to the 1600s and is quite out of the way."

Having already won Celebrity Big Brother in 2005, he's currently enjoying new-found fame as the star of Channel Four's Celebrity Gogglebox, on which he and Happy Mondays singer Shaun Ryder hilariously critique the week's TV.

Bez and Shaun have been a huge hit on Celebrity Gogglebox

"I get everyone from young kids to grandmas coming up to me to say hello, which is nice," he said.

"The accents can be a bit hard to understand round here sometimes, but that's okay 'cos I've had people struggling to understand me for years.

"Luckily, me and Shaun are still great pals too - he describes our relationship as being like a sexless marriage.

"I never thought I'd make it to 57 either.

"I've lost a lot of friends over the years and used to think reaching 40 would be an achievement.

"Although, in my head I still feel like a young man as I go about my business.

"I could never imagine being a boring old **** - and, happily, I'm not."

Bez's vocal debut can be heard on the new single, Flying Bus - a collaboration with acclaimed house DJ Doorly - which is available to download now.

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