Rick Astley talks family travel and his forthcoming Camp Bestival gig

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Rick Astley

What was your first memorable holiday as a child?

The Norfolk Broads with my cousins. A boat holiday seemed really adventurous and things took an unexpectedly exciting turn when I was taken to see Jaws at the cinema. Looking back, taking kids staying on water to see that film perhaps wasn’t the wisest decision, but it certainly made it an even greater adventure.

Where else did your family travel to when you were young?

We went on a cruise around the Med when I was 13, and that was great as I got to see lots of places like Malaga and Ibiza. Also, my dad had a caravan and used to pull it with a pick-up which he’d drive to Scotland. We used to throw a mattress in the back of the pick-up, hop on and be driven around the country lanes – I imagine these days you’d be arrested, but it was great fun!

Where did you travel to with your daughter when she was younger?

She’s always travelled with us, from a really young age. When she was only two months old we took her skiing – her godmother from Denmark offered to take care of her so we could get an hour or two of skiing in. We’re lucky, as neither my wife (film producer Lene Bausager) nor I have 9-5 jobs. Lene took her to New York while she studied at film school. Lene’s from Copenhagen, so Emilie obviously visited there a lot, too – in fact, she’s ended up living there.

And do you still holiday together?

We do! Lene and I go on trips together, of course, but we also tend to go on a summer holiday all together, and Emilie brings her boyfriend if he’s around. We all went to northern Spain last year to Begur. It’s a fantastic little place and we had some amazing food at the Lighthouse at Llafranc.

Do you have a favourite destination?

When I was 22, my manager took me to LA and we stayed at the Sunset Marquis hotel. It’s the most rock’n’roll place, yet really laidback. I’d walk down to breakfast and there would be Bruce Springsteen, U2, Robert Plant and Depeche Mode. One night, I was at the tiny bar and Ozzy Osbourne started chatting, asking if I was going on tour and if I needed any contacts. I couldn’t believe he knew who I was. Sharon, his wife, turned round and said: ‘Leave the poor boy alone, he doesn’t want your long-haired motley crew on tour.’

Are you looking forward to playing at Camp Bestival?

Yes, it’ll be great. I really like festivals because you don’t feel so much pressure when you perform. You know that people haven’t bought a ticket just to see you…

What’s the most unusual souvenir you have from a trip?

Danish salty liquorice, which my wife brings back from Copenhagen and we always have around the house. I enjoy watching guests put one in their mouth and then look around politely for a bin or open window…

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

Sardinia. We used to go on holiday there with friends and their kids, and it was proper family stuff. We stayed in a villa and ate simple, fresh Italian food and drank average wine and had so much fun. Northern Sardinia can be very chi-chi and expensive. Where we stayed in the south was much cheaper – the veg and fruit we bought were grown in local gardens.

Is this your perfect crowd – parents who remember your original hits and a new audience of youngsters?

It’s nice to have people in the crowd who you know are going to sing along. Younger audiences seem to know who everyone is now, though – I think because the internet gives them access to everything. Rickrolling (a bait-and-switch prank which swept the internet using Rick’s smash hit Never Gonna Give You Up) was another reason. I’d never fool myself into thinking I have a whole new audience, though; I think my daughter would slap me if started thinking like that!

I read in an interview that when you’re 70, you’d like to have opened a bar on the coast in Italy or Spain!

It’s pretty true! We’ll have a bar, my wife’s a good cook, I could walk around barefoot, sing some tunes, maybe have a different-coloured velvet jacket every night…

With daughter Emilie, now 27

Rick is headlining on Friday night at Camp Bestival (26-29 July 2018)

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