This particular benefit was for children who, he explains, "were eating rubbish; had bad diets".He took to the stage and performed what he believed was an appropriate song for the event, a version of the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil".Though he balks at the terminology, 2011 looks set to be his big comeback year. Those pre-Christmas gigs acted as warm-ups for what he hopes will be a productive 12 months. "Look, I'm 56 years old and I was working my bollocks off up there.A shame, then, that the Garage show ended so dramatically. The crowd wasn't receptive enough, and I didn't like it." He shifts in his seat, and his frown deepens. etc etc was originally scheduled for release last year.
He was unlike anybody before him, and has influenced more or less every other flamboyantly inclined pop star since.
Two weeks later, and Ant is pottering about his mews house in South Kensington, west London, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.
While he prepares himself for our chat, I am shown into the kitchen by his Girl Friday, Georgina Baillie, the young woman who, two years ago now, was at the centre of the "Sachsgate" scandal.
He remains unrepentant: "Do you know how many people watched that show?
"He was born Stuart Leslie Goddard in London in 1954 of Romany gypsy stock, to an alcoholic and abusive father, who left the family home when Ant was seven.