Blur bass player Alex James says that that best thing the band ever did was split up and that Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher are now best mates who smoke cigars together.

Speaking ahead of Blur's gig at IMMA, Dublin on Thursday, August 1st with support from Bat for Lashes and The Strypes, James told Today FM's Ray D'Arcy about his new life as a cheesemaker and farmer.

"Blur came to an end in 2003 and at that point we'd been doing the same thing for 15 years and after that amount of time it does become cyclical," he said. "We needed to go off and do other things. We've all worked with other people since then. I think splitting up was the best thing we ever did."

During the interview, D'Arcy recalled having the old Blur vs Oasis argument with his friends "in Snaffles Nightclub in Kildare" and asked James who did he think eventually won The Battle of Britpop.

"It's funny because these days Damon and Noel are best mates," James said. "They go off and smoke cigars together. I think we realised we were all on the same side eventually."  

The 44-year-old father of five now lives on a farm in Berkshire and makes cheese. "People throw cheese at me when I'm on stage. Some musicians get underwear," he said. "Ireland is a fantastic place for cheese. I was over there last year looking at Bries.

"There are so many great Irish cheeses. Did you know Brie was invented in Ireland? The French monks took it back to Normandy. They stole it!"

Asked what was the most rock `n' roll thing he'd ever done, James said, "We sent a spaceship to Mars."