`Indian' of The Village People fell in love with Australia on his first visit 20 years ago - and he just keeps going back for more

The place that changed me has to be Australia. I have never been more impressed by a lifestyle. Australians know how to enjoy the life they have been given like no other people I know. I think their climate has something to do with it, but I also think that being as isolated as they are means they are somewhat distanced from the neuroses and scandals that trouble the world. It's not that they don't have their problems. We all do. They just don't seem to get as overwhelmed as the rest of us.

I went to Australia for the first time back in 1980 and I have returned at least 25 times since. We went there recently to shoot a film for Australian television. It was like The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert without the flash. Forget the dresses and the giant shoe and the drag- queens. We had to wait for permits to get on to the different "reservations" and we travelled in storms and even a hurricane. Not glamorous. But I can't wait to go back. Our 23rd- anniversary tour takes us back there this February.

My first impressions 20 years ago were through the eyes of a young pop star, and as such could not have been better. We were jet-setting around the world which was a real novelty and we were especially popular in Australia, so the reception was great. We felt like the most beautiful boys in the world. We toured like crazy, all over the country, but I still remember being struck by the relaxed lifestyle. It changed my attitude as to how one should live life. And I realised how much we worry, in the USA in particular. In New York, when I get home in the evening, I'm like "I gotta do this, I gotta listen to that". The pace is ridiculous and we live crazy lives. Australians just don't seem to stress themselves out about the little things in life.

And they are the outdoor life-style people, year-round. Compare them to New Yorkers who are stuck in their apartments all winter and you can see where the healthy attitude comes from. Who wouldn't be happy eating out in the sun all year?

In some ways, Sydney is very similar to New York - the "city" attitude and services are all there - but Sydney is far prettier. New York is turning into a zoo. The Times Square area is beginning to look like something out of Blade Runner. They are hanging these giant multimedia screens on every other block and 42nd Street is nothing like as "real" as it used to be. It's a tourist playground.

I'd move to Australia like a shot. I'm a Capricorn and Australia is on the Tropic of Capricorn. Everything seems to fall into place when I'm there. It's like going home. I have friends that stretch back 25 years and this is something I consider to be as important as a family relationship. And it's so easy to make friends there. Where a New Yorker's favourite expression is "Are you talkin' to me?", Australians will say "You wanna come for a bop and relax?"

Don't get me wrong, New Yorkers are nice people and if you're a tourist and you're lost they will help you out. But after that, it's like "Get outta my face". And they're certainly not going to invite a stranger to go dancing with them.



The single, `YMCA - The Millennium Mix' (Wrasse Records) is out tomorrow. The album, `The Best of the Village People', is out on 22 November.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Popes current and former won't be watching the football together
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
    Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

    Hollywood targets Asian audiences

    The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial