The next biog thing!
A Bone In My Flute. Is it a) like Tennis Elbow; b) muso-talk for being “ready to rock”; or c) Holly Johnson’s autobiography?
You’ve already read a bit of Holly Johnson’s autobiography A Bone In My Flute —
So why write the book?
“I wanted to tell it like it was, to reveal rather than hide. I also didn’t want a dodgy pop biog knocked out at an opportune commercial moment, so I wrote it myself. Mainly, perhaps, to release any old resentments —
The picture of your dad is pretty harsh.
“I don’t think it is. I think my father comes over as a very hard-working provider, working two jobs to feed four kids and the wife —
Why say that Frankie were to the ‘80s what the Pistols were to the ‘70s?
“Because no other group made such an impact or were as iconoclastic in the ‘80s as Frankie. No one toyed with the taboos of a generation or created quite as big a media explosion.”
Boy George did, surely.
“Yes, but that only lasted five minutes. I love Boy George and I don’t want to demean what he did, but he came onstage as a pantomime dame, denying his sexuality. He wasn’t going, Well here you go, I’m a homosexual, lock up your sons! It was, Oh look at me, aren’t I androgynous, but aren’t I accessible at the same time and I would rather have a cup of tea than sex, so you don’t really have to worry about me threatening your lives. Frankie were just so much more subversive and more unapologetic.”
How have the other members of FGTH responded to your illness?
“One wrote me a letter —
Did the potential public reaction to the news that you are HIV+ worry you?
“I knew on the morning it hit the papers that I had to go out, take the dog for a walk and buy my newspaper and me pint of milk in exactly the same way as I always had done. Otherwise it would be more difficult to go out the next day, and even more difficult the day after that.”
You say you were sure you were a genius when you were young…
“That’s what I felt like as a teenager. When I was nine I felt I’d been put on this earth for a special purpose. Hmm, I feel even more like that now, but not with the religious connotation… I think the book, in a way, is demystifying homosexuality and what it’s like to be HIV positive. People with HIV and AIDS are rather marginalised by all these well-meaning organisations who won’t have us presented to Princess Di and so on. We should be employed by these organisations who collect revenue on our behalf. It would be much better if they gave us jobs.”
What did you leave out of the book?
“I didn’t leave anything out, but my editor blue pencilled a few things…”