Passport: Leo Sayer - I saw my entire life flash by me when I thought I was going to drown
Sunday 22 February 1998
Previous touring took the pop legend around the world to Australia, the Far East, the Middle East and Canada. But when it comes to unwinding on holiday, Leo Sayer, or "Gerard" Sayer, according to his passport, thought he had it sussed.
"I'd booked a romantic holiday to the Seychelles with my girlfriend, Donatella, back in 1986," he recalls. "We'd got a couple of last-minute flights from cancellations made by Ringo Starr and we were looking forward to a quiet break. We'd booked a couple of weeks in this tiny island, Bird Island, through the Seychelles tourist office.
"It turned out, though, the girls at the office were fans of my songs. When we arrived at the airport lounge, they were playing 'When I Need You' over the loud speaker and there was a banner saying 'Welcome Leo Sayer'. Donatella looked at me and said she thought it was going to be a private holiday."
Still, by the time they'd caught a short flight to Bird Island, it was obvious that crowds of adoring fans were not going to be a problem.
"This island was amazing. There was one plane a week and you could walk around in 15 minutes. We ate only food and vegetables that were grown on the island, slept in huts and swam in clear blue waters all day. Sometimes, at five in the morning, we'd got out to sea with the local fishermen," Leo croons. "By the end of the second day, I was so relaxed I threw my watch into the sea. I didn't want to know the time. We were living by the sun and the moon." But all was not happy in paradise.
"Donatella and I went out snorkelling on a reef. We walked out about a mile on to it at low tide, but before we knew it the tide had cut us off. I can't swim and the undertow dragged me down. I promise you I could see flashbacks of my life. Donatella was trying to help me, but she was in trouble, too. She eventually fished me out on to a mushroom coral and we made our way back very slowly. Back on the beach an old man passed us in a tractor. He called out: 'Mr Sayer, we were worried, you almost missed lunch'. In fact, we were told later that people had drowned on that reef."
Maybe Gary Barlow was right: "The man's a god".
For details of Leo Sayer's UK spring tour, telephone Mark Borkowski PR on 0171 482 4000.
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