ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Personal file : Holly Johnson

NAME: Holly Johnson. Thats what it says on my passport. My birth certificate just says William Johnson — Williams my fathers second name. I used to hate “William” until I was about 15. I never felt like a William. Its a bit kind of boring and I could never adjust to it. “Walk On The Wild Side” (an old single by arty-American-bloke-who-cant-sing Lou Reed) was a big record then and Holly (a person mentioned in the song) was one of the characters Andy Warhol used to use in his movies — I was very into that kind of thing then.

BORN: 9/2/61 in Liverpool. I dont know if I was at home or in a hospital. My mother cant remember the exact time — I keep haranguing her so I can get a star sign chart done but she just cannot remember, the poor thing. I was her third child and I think it was quite a painful experience.

DID YOU HAVE ANY NICKNAMES AT SCHOOL? I was called Billy a lot. Nothing else that Im prepared to admit. (Looks a bit embarrassed) Some of them were really bad. Joyful Johnson was one — thats not too bad, though I didnt love it. Why was I called it? Possibly because I was a rather happy sort of person ha ha.

HOW MANY BROTHERS AND SISTERS DO YOU HAVE? Two brothers and a sister. Oh God — do we have to talk about them. I feel guilty about involving them in my… my dubious profession. I always feel its a bit of an infringement on their personal lives. (After a bit of persuasion) My eldest brother is 32, my sister 30 and my younger brother 22. Its unfair to say more. They do regular work. Its difficult sometimes. I get on very well with my sister — I see her children and they come and visit me. When Frankie Goes To Hollywood were happening I think it put a great strain on my family and they got a lot of hassle off people there are some very nasty people in the world — so I try not to talk about them now.

DO YOU HAVE A TV IN YOUR BATHROOM? NO. I dont want one. Id spend too long in there Im bad enough as it is. I have a cactus in there and a Mickey Mouse set of scales. You step on it, it says ‘hyah-hyah-hyah-hyahhyah” and says something about your weight then it says “Pull my nose” and you pull its nose and its a tape measure. I got it for Christmas a couple of years ago off Paul Rutherford. What did I get from him this year? Nothing. We havent seen each other for quite a while. Were not not friends, Id just say no longer do the pathways of our life lead in the same direction.

FIRST CRUSH: Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

(Thinks a long while) I dont know if I can remember. (Thinks a bit more) I always fell in love with my English teachers, probably because it was the subject I was most interested in and they were always quite intelligent. I suppose they were role models — some were women or some were men but I always had a thing about them, whatever sex they were. Now? No, I dont molest them any more — I got over that.

WHAT COLOUR IS LOVE? What colour is love? Lilac. Because its a mixture of pink and blue. (????) And love can be hot, pink and passionate and… er… it can make you very blue. Sometimes.

HAVE YOU EVER MET AN ALIEN? Well… only on Sundays do I ever meet aliens. (????) All of a sudden on a Sunday I get up, go out and buy the papers and theres all these aliens in my living room wearing sexy rubber gear, whipping each other. (????) I ask them where theyre from, what their brothers, and sisters ages are and things like that. Their planet is technologically rather advanced but everything is light — everything is operated by light. Do I give them tea and biscuits? Absolutely. I wouldnt be a polite host otherwise.

WHATS THE MOST OBSCURE WORD YOU KNOW? Xanthyophyl. Its the yellow matter of a plant and no one ever knows what it is when I tell them about it. I think I was interested in chromotography (when you separate chemicals of different “molecular masses”, hem hem) when I was a child and thats how I know it.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU SEE YOUR MUM? Oh… not as often as I should. Thats all Im prepared to say. Do I feel guilty about it? Oh yes.

ARE YOU A MILLIONAIRE? No. Nearly? No. It would make life easier but I never paid that much attention to the business aspect — if Id paid more attention I probably would have been but its not really my main motivation in life.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN GOD? Yes. I believe God is the power of good, basically. All the life forces are combined into this one thing. Its a kind of energy rather than a being, I think. I havent always. When I was 16 or 17 I used to laugh at people who believed in God and think it was a ridiculous con. I still think organised religions are just big businesses. I pray sometimes — praying is a bit like wishing, you know (???)

DO YOU HAVE ANY PETS? No, unfortunately, but Id really like a dog. A Schnautzer or one of those terriers that look like them. Theyre very square dogs with little moustaches and big bushy eyebrows — theyre so cute. Ive seen them on TV. And I wouldnt mind a bull terrier but its so cruel to keep animals when youve only got a little back garden. I didnt have pets when I was young but I once took the school gerbils home for the holidays.

HAVE YOU BOUGHT ANYTHING IN THE JANUARY SALES? Yes, a couple of things in New York… shirts… a suit. Its quite a lab suit — a kind of a Tyrollean surrealist suit, green with velvet trimmings and a rather nice design on the fabric.

WHATS THE SECRET OF THE UNIVERSE? The secret of the universe is not saying horrible things about other people as I have done in the past. I really regret the last interview I did with Smash Hits when I was in Frankie Goes To Hollywood. It was on my birthday a couple of years ago and I was really nasty about The Mission and The Housemartins and I wholly apologise for it. I was in a bad mood that day… or was I in a good mood? I think I was feeling really cocky. I just said things like theyre ugly. Are they? Er… I think thats irrelevant…

CAN YOU DRAW A PICTURE OF YAZZ? Yes. This is Yazz as I last saw her — she was in the Comme Des Garçons shop (snoot designer clothes emporium) in London. I dont know her — I just said ‘hello. I dont have pop star friends. British artists are a bit pathetic — theyre all so engrossed in their own little thing.

Why dont I ask Climie Fisher round for tea? Er… well, I did rinq Andy Bell up once and had a conversation with him and he was very nice. We didnt meet — I think we were both too busy. (Carries on scribbling) I like drawing. I always did. Is that Yazzish? (Finishes) Is that it? That was painless, wasnt it? (?????)