My life in travel: Eddy Grant
'If I go anywhere more than a few times, I keep a guitar there
Saturday 28 June 2008
First holiday memory?
It was 1968, in a caravan in Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. I was with my girlfriend, who was about to become my wife. It was an excellent holiday and one that really stands out in my mind, because while I was there I had my first No 1 hit record: 'Baby Come Back', with my band The Equals. People were pointing at me and I didn't know why until I read about it in a paper later.
I'm always travelling for work, so life is like one big holiday. But I don't take holidays as such. A place that has impacted on me is Ireland. I like the people and their attitude to life. I'm going back to play there soon, which is exciting because I haven't been there for years.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
I've got a fondness for Hastings, on the south coast of England, where I've spent a lot of time over the years. My first manager was from there and he encouraged me to get to know the place.
What have you learnt from your travels?
You've got to meet the people to know the people.
Ideal travelling companion?
My wife, because I've spent so little time travelling with her over the years – she would look after me.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I like solitude, because I've spent so much of my life trying to please other people. Therefore I treasure any time I can spend quietly. Even when I'm in Barbados, where I mainly live, I go down to the beach and into the sea alone for an hour to clear my mind.
Greatest travel luxury?
If I go anywhere more than a few times, I usually keep a guitar there.
I'm a voracious reader; I'll read anything from a comic book to science fiction.
Where has seduced you?
Ireland seduced me for sure. Also Israel in the early Sixties, when there seemed to be nothing and nobody there. It was a very beautiful place back then.
Better to travel or arrive?
I enjoy travelling. In the early days, I was afraid of flying, but since I have no intentions of giving up my musical career, I had to beat my fear.
I am a very easy punter to please. Once there is somewhere to lie down, then I'm happy.
Generally, once hotels get past a certain decorative order, they are more or less the same. It's all about the people – that's what makes it a good experience for me and there have been many of those. It wouldn't be fair of me to single one out.
Favourite walk/ swim/ride/drive?
I walk a lot in England, particularly in London from the West End to my home in Stamford Hill, north London. It's a fairly long walk but I really enjoy doing it.
Best meal abroad?
I'm vegetarian and I eat very simply. I'd rather eat a bowl of fruit than burden my stomach with a whole lot of unnecessaries.
First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?
If I'm staying somewhere for a while, I unpack and hang my clothes up. Then I switch on the TV and see what's going on locally. Otherwise I live out of my suitcase.
I'd like to see one of the outer planets such as Jupiter or Mars. I realise I may have to wait some time, though.
I like London for its old architecture and that thing which only London has in Europe – the cultural aspects that make it cosmopolitan. I like Durban in South Africa for the same reasons. There's a certain classic-ness about the place, which makes me feel very comfortable. I am also fond of Johannesburg; it has got the energy of Jamaica or Trinidad, which I like.
I'm recording in South Africa at the moment, then I'm starting my UK tour in London, and then we're embarking on a world tour. We'll be on the road for a couple of years!
Eddy Grant is touring from 1 July (0844 576 5483). 'The Very Best Of Eddy Grant' is released on Monday
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