ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Holly Johnson isnt one of these pop stars who takes up art as some kind of pretentious hobby. “Nick Rhodes? His stuff was laughable, to he honest. Mines quite good”. Talking to him it becomes obvious that its a major part of his life. “Ive just done a series of religious paintings actually. I painted myself a guardian angel to put above my bed and Ive painted Marilyn Monroe as Mary Magdalene. Im very mean with my paintings. Ive only given two away—one to my sister and one to charity. I like my own work, I definitely paint for me, although I do paint with communication in mind—I will show it to the world one day.”


“Its definitely my favourite past-time, although I dont do it as much as I used to. Shopping is a bit of a crime really. When you first start earning money you do it a lot and then you do it so much that you cant really afford to do it anymore. I still cant go to the Kings Road on a Saturday without buying something special.”

Are you good at making decisions or are you an um and ahrer?

“Im a terrible um and ahrer. Ive missed fabulous things through indecision. I was at an art exhibition once and I was offered a great deal on these two paintings. So, I thought ‘if theyre so cheap maybe theyre not very good. So I went away to think about it for five minutes and didnt I bump into bloody Bob Geldof who chewed my ear off for half an hour. I went back and theyd gone. Bloody Bob Geldof!”


“I love pop music because it communicates to the most people. Snobs say its the lowest common denominator dont they? I think those people are missing out. Their lives are enriched by serious music. But, you know, I make serious music, its serious pop. Is there more value in a Kylie number one or a Morrissey B-side? A Kylie number one certainly communicates to more people. But, I know what I prefer. Its quite a dilemma really.”

Pop is…

“An irresistible sound… the latest sound. Pops life magnified. Its Coca-Cola, Pepsi. Its an alternative reality thats much more interesting than the real thing.”


“Last night I was crying over an Australian mini-series, it was terribly tragic. In my house the TV goes on at about six and stays on for the rest of the night whether yon watch it or not. I dont watch Saturday night TV ‘cause Im not really a fan of game shows. I watch them in America because theyre so over the top and sicko. Here, the prizes are so insulting.

You become the laughing stock of your neigbourhood if you win. A week in Yugoslavia for two—is it worth it?”

Is it worth kissing Leslie Crowther for?

“Nothings worth kissing Leslie Crowther for.”

Who is your favourite ‘Brookside character?

“Rod and Tracys gran—Julia Brogan. Shes such an un-holy cow. She makes me sick. Id like to stab her 62 times with a carving knife. I really would. Gladys Ambrose who plays her did a great advert for ‘Blast on the radio:” Holly does an impression—his own voice, only louder. “‘Dont let your kids near ‘im—that ‘Olly Johnson, the way he bumps and grinds. She sent me an autographed photo and I was really pleased, only the dog chewed her name off. I was upset for days.”


Whats your dog called?

“Funky. Hes a really nice dog. He doesnt care whether Im hip this week or not. Hes a poodle. I didnt know he was a poodle ‘till bought him. He doesnt look like a poodle ‘cause we dont clip him with that ridiculous haircut poodles have. Poodles are the most intelligent dogs, and they dont moult, which is handy.”


“I dont really think of myself as a famous person. Sometimes I play the role, but its not like ‘clear the room, Im entering. I think I was very famous during the court case. That was a terrible glare. Its been like two years of profuse ulceration. The News Of The World camping on the doorstep isnt very pleasant. But I wont really get that again now, unless Im involved in some sort of sex scandal—which is highly unlikely at my time of life!”

Do you feel as if youre being watched all the time?

“Sometimes I feel self-conscious, but only on the days where youd feel self-concious anyway. The last time I was mobbed was by this posse of German tourists while I was looking at second hand jeans. I fled Im afraid, smiled politely and fled.

“People always seem incredibly surprise when they see me. They seem quite shocked that I should be walking along the street with a Tesco carrier bag,” he pauses for thought. “Well… a Plaza Foods bag.”