ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

The nosey parker interview

HOLLY JOHNSON

Who are you then?

“Who am I? Hahumhmm… Well, I… its a birrova silly question, isnt it? Lets face it, you know who I am, I know who I am, and thats why were doing the interview, isnt it? Hmmmm…”

What have you got in your fridge?

“Oh dear… dog food, milk, orange juice, cheese, Evian water, em, ice cubes… uh, a pineapple, pesto sauce (spook Italian sauce, made with herbs), horse-radish sauce, mint sauce, apple sauce… Ive got a lot of other things in the fridge but as Im not actually looking in it at the moment its rather difficult. Oh, Ive got some Diet Coke that my nephew put there last time he was down and, uh, its still there. Like, lots of it. Like, yknow, eight cans of it. Im quite particular about sell-by dates on coleslaw and things, so I have regular fridge clearouts.”

Have you ever written an angry letter to a magazine or “news” paper?

“I dont think I have actually, because I never ever thought it would be printed. I dont know… would I write and tell them if I had something untrue printed about me? Oooh, Ive read lots of untrue things, so many that you become a bit used to it actually and you dont tend to bother.”

Do you have any interesting scars?

“Mmmmmmmm… well, it depends what youd call interesting really. I think Ive got one under me chin where a friend of me sisters was going to push me in a swimming pool and then grabbed me back at the last moment and me chin banged on the side of the swimming pool and I fell in, unconscious. I think that was when I was about eight. Have I any operation scars? (Sounds aghast.) What, you mean like plastic surgery?? Himhimhim! No, I did fall over a banister and land with one of my arms on one side of the door and the rest of me on the other side of the door and I sort of… ripped me armpit. This was one Christmas Eve when I was about ten. And I had to get it sewn back on. That was quite painful.”

Whose is the most famous persons autograph that you have?

“Eh, Bette Davis (much adored actress from the ‘40s who had startling eyes). A friend of mine who was buying the book that she wrote queued up in this shop and got a copy signed for me. It was very nice of her. Unfortunately it doesnt say ‘To Holly, its just her autograph…”

Do you always give money to people whore collecting in the street for charity?

“If Ive got some money on me, sometimes, yeah. But I always insist that they give me the sticker.”

Have you ever woken up laughing?

“Do I ever wake up laughing? I think possibly, I cant remember. I usually wake up in a complete daze to tell you the truth. Have I ever woken up crying? (pause)… Nooo, himhim.”

Have you ever been arrested?

“Ive never been arrested. Ive been picked up—hehehe!!—by a policeman, and taken home in a police car because I was wearing a pair of spurs on my cowboy boots. This was when I was 18—they were trying to say it was an offensive weapon. He was a really horrible policeman, actually. And I was pretty petrified, because I was wearing one of Vivienne Westwoods (hip “street-clothes” designer) Nude Cowboy T-shirts at the time, and I had to keep me arms folded all the time to cover up the naughty bits. Because if he was offended at the bloody spurs, he would have been extremely offended by the T-shirt… Theyre so macho, policemen, arent they?”

When was the last time you were sick?

“Sick? Like (squeamishly) vomit? Oh, not for years and years actually. Oh yeah, thats right—I came out of a Parisian restaurant and threw up, not due to drink, but due to food in the Parisian restaurant. Lamb chops it was. It was a couple of years ago actually.”

Are you scared of flying?

“Oh, no. I wouldnt say I was scared of flying. Ive had some not very pleasant flights, yknow, where we nearly collided with another plane and things like that, which I havent enjoyed. I tend to read a magazine and ignore it.(Pauses and decides to tell the truth)… I hate flying actually. Its horrible and vile. One day Ill say ‘Im never going on a plane again, and go everywhere on the QE2 hahaha!”

Have you ever had your fortune told?

(Sighs) “Yes I have actually, in Liverpool when I was 23. They told me that I was going to be successful (chuckles) in showbusiness. A girlfriend of mine at the time, an actress called Helen Martin, took me there as a treat. I wouldnt go now. Im not totally sceptical, but I often think that they could be psychologically disturbing, like if someone said, ‘Oh well, youre gonna die in, like, two weeks time, or something.”

Who first told you about the birds and the bees?

“Well, I remember sex education when I was at school when I was eight. And I can remember being well clued in before that, but I cant remember who clued me in. When I was told what happened I dont think I believed it—it was all so horrific. You just cant imagine your mum and dad doing that, know what I mean?”

When was the last time you blubbed in public?

“I what? Oh, cried. I think when I was about six or seven. Well, it depends what you call public. If its in front of more than one person then thats probably public, isnt it? Well, when I was six or seven then, and I was playing Good King Wenceslas in the school play and for some reason forgot me lines on stage and burst into tears…”

Have you ever peed in a bus shelter?

“Thats a really coarse question, isnt it? I cant actually remember an occasion, to tell you the truth, when I have. I think I would have been more discreet than in a bus shelter, to be honest. A bus shelter isnt my style, because I always find it disgusting if youre standing in a bus shelter and someone has peed in there. Telephone boxes are another, its really disgusting.”

When was the last time you went to church?

“The last time I went to church? Hmmm… Oh. I dont want to discuss this actually, do you mind? It was the funeral of a friend. If you want to know my religious ‘beliefs, I was brought up in Church Of England actually. Although I dont adhere to any faith any longer. I believe in God still and I sometimes read the Bible.”

Have you ever phoned up one of the perv phone-lines in The Sunday Sport?

“Huhuhuhuuu!

(cont.)
Yeah, I think I have actually. And then I put it down very quickly. It was just a person saying ‘Hello, big boy… Hehehehee!! I cant remember the rest of it. We were in the studio actually and we wanted to record it for the B-side of ‘Atomic City. Unfortunately it didnt make it onto tape.”

How often do you listen to your own records?

“Quite a lot actually. More than I used to. As soon as theyre on plastic I listen to them -I quite enjoy playing them. The ‘Blast album I play quite regularly, more than Ive ever played any other record Ive ever made. I listen to it and think ‘Oh God, how did I manage that? How did I get that together? And then I think ‘Oh God, Ive got to do another one now hehe. Have I ever gone into a shop and bought one of my own records? No, Ive always wanted to but Im not brave enough to do it.”

Whats 12 x 8 ÷ 6?

“12 x 8? Well, 8 x 10 is 80 and 8x2 is 16. Thats 96. Now whats the other bit? Divided by 6—6 into 9 goes 1… so its 16. I did that in me head! Im quite proud of that because I cant do me times tables!”

Have you ever been to the moon?

“Ehh hehehehe. Em, Ive been to The Hole in The Moon. Its a nightclub in Bold Street in Liverpool. I love the idea of space travel, Id be straight on that shuttle if I had the chance.”

Would you want to live forever?

“Now that is really a strange question. Sometimes, yes, I think I would. One of me favourite films is Highlander (film starring French “hunk” Christopher Lambert, about a mystic warrior who lives forever) and it does raise the question. I think if I did Id be an antique dealer and store things away sos I could flog them in 200 years time hehe! Its a difficult question and Id have to say I dont know. Id like to be Christopher Lambert though himhimhim!!”