Did you know that Holly Johnson once shaved this eyebrows off?
Or that one of his eyes doesn’t work properly and that his neighbour once knocked his garden wall down? Bet you didn’t! Which is why Smash Hits reporter Tom Doyle has been poking his nose into Holly’s business…
“I’ve got my mouth half full of a cheese sandwich at the the moment, I’m afraid,” apologises Holly Johnson as he picks up the phone in his West London flat on a very pleasant Monday morning. “Can you give me a couple of minutes to finish it?”
No problem. (Very long pause.)
“All right then. What are we going to talk about? Nosey questions, hmn? Oh well, I suppose the best thing is if you just ask me them, isn’t it?”
Yes, if you like… Well firstly, have you ever had your fortune told?
“Hmmmn, never. I’m always too worried about what they’re going to say to me because I think they can have a psychological effect on you and you’ll start worrying about things. I’m too much of a coward. There is one certain person in Liverpool who wants to speak to me in relation to my fortune and sends me letters, but I just ignore them. Do I have any superstitions? Yes. Never talk to fortune-tellers. They all look like fairground charlatans to me.”
What do you do on a Sunday afternoon?
“I buy the Sunday paper. Which ones? Well I do like to get a wide variety, y’know. I occasionally get the Sunday Sport if I feel like a laugh, and often The Mail On Sunday, and then sometimes I’ll supplement those with either The Times or, very occasionally, the News Of World, depending on whether I’m in it or not. Then after a spot of lunch, I’ll maybe paint a picture or perhaps visit an art gallery, y’know.”
So you have extremely artistic Sundays then, Holly?
“Oooh, every day of the week is artistic for me…”
Is your fridge ever completely empty and how often do you defrost it?
“Well I very rarely defrost my fridge but it’s always got items in. Usually. Like yoghurt and cheese and milk and things like that. Basic food items. But it isn’t the kind of fridge that you’ll find lots of sausages or bacon in. I do savour the occasional sausage but not very often.”
Do you have an album of childhood photos at home?
“Yes. It’s full of photos of me in a variety of fetching childlike poses, y’know, with an ice-cream, and my shirt hanging out. I faithfully destroyed all of the ones from my teenage years, apart from one or two, because I discovered I had a bit of a problem with my early teenage childhood photos.
Have you ever sneaked a peek at someone else’s diary?
“No, never. And I wouldn’t like to meet anyone who had, if you know what I mean. A nasty thing to do really.”
Do you keep a diary?
“Oh yes. Faithfully? Absolutely. Religiously? Well, I wouldn’t say religiously. Mind you, last year I suppose I did keep my diary rather religiously. Sometimes I forget and have to write three days in one go, but if it’s longer than three days my mind usually fails me. Um, I put factual information in it like whether I got up early that day, if I had any appointments or whatever. I don’t keep a very emotional diary or anything. The time during my court case last year (when Holly tried to free himself from his contract with Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s record company ZTT when he decided to go “solo”) is a very interesting section…”
Do you buy ozone-friendly aerosols?
“Yes, and I’ve also stopped using shaving foam in a can and started buying the tube variety instead. Every little spray that isn’t sprayed is definitely a boon to the ozone layer. I became quite ecologically aware about two years ago when I met this person called Nancy Naturewoman who educated me in a lot of ecological matters. She advised me to eat organic vegetables and drink herbal tea and things.”
Have you ever shaved your legs or plucked your eyebrows?
“No, but I once shaved my eyebrows. Between the ages of 15 and 18 I had no eyebrows at all. I was trying to achieve a look, I suppose. I felt them to be superfluous. I regretted it later because since growing them back they’ve always remained on the spiky side. I wouldn’t advise it as an occupation for young people today.”
Do you have 20/20 (i.e. perfect) vision?
“Certainly not. I have very little vision in my right eye and pretty good vision in my left. When I close my left, the right eye shows a very psychedelic blurred haze of colour. When I’ve got both eyes open, the right one just refuses to work! It doesn’t worry me, no. In fact, it’s quite interesting really.”
Which record do you put on in the morning to cheer you up?
“Well I put the radio on, actually. I like the kind of random choosing of records. It makes me listen to the kind of records wouldn’t normally listen to. Since I’ve had a record out I’ve taken to listening to Radio One. Just to check if I’m on? Exactly. I’m just checking to see if the record company people who say ‘Oh, you got 18 plays on the radio this week’ are telling the truth! I listen out for every one and log them in a little black book beside the radio…”
Do you tip taxi drivers?
“Oh yes. Only when I don’t have any change would I lapse and not tip them.”
Have you ever “nabbed” them trying to take you the long way home to make more money?
“Constantly. On occasion I’ve told them to stop the cab and got out and hailed another taxi. But I’m very nice at tipping. If they’ve gotten me there in extra quick time without taking any funny routes, then I might give them as much as 30p haha…!”
Do you ever leave the washing up to pile up for days on end?
“No, I have a dishwasher. But unloading it is a particularly unpleasant task. I find it rather tiresome taking them out of the dishwasher and putting them in the cupboard.”
Have you ever had an out-of-the-body experience?
“No, I’ve always wanted one but I’ve never been gifted with that sort of experience. I do have a recurring dream where I can fly, however. I just lift my legs off the ground and I’m flying, y’know, up and down, over buildings and through clouds. I’ve never reached outer space yet, but I’m hoping.”Continue »
Have you ever had a furious domestic quarrel with your neighbours?
“Well, I had legal dealings with them recently when they knocked down my garden wall with a hammer. They were trying to build what they thought was a conservatory, but what in fact looked to me like a rabbit hutch. They had to completely rebuild it, however, after my solicitor spoke to them. They’re still planning to build the rabbit hutch, but let’s face it, they deserve a monstrosity in their back garden after demolishing my nice wall.”
Have you ever met them?
“No, and I’ve no desire to either.”
Are you wealthy enough not to work again?
“Unfortunately not haha. Are you? No.”
What is the biggest lie you’ve ever told?
“Well really don’t want to disclose that because it’s still having a great effect on other people…” (??)
Do you ever wish you weren’t famous?
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being famous. I don’t think I ever wish I wasn’t famous. Or maybe I do sometimes. I don’t really know. It’s quite life-enhancing and fun being famous. Maybe in the throes of the Frankie Goes To Hollywood hysteria I sometimes wondered if I’d done the right thing. When our limousines were being attacked by hordes of people and that sort of thing, it was all a bit unnerving.”
Are you afraid of old age?
“Em, no. I’m quite looking forward to it, actually, and quite hoping very much that I do have an old age. I wouldn’t like to die between now and then, put it that way. Do I worry about losing my looks? Well think gravity does its job on everyone haha. So it’s going to happen anyway. I just hope I keep all my marbles, basically.”