Last word: Chesney Hawkes

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Last word: Chesney Hawkes

The boyish pop charmer has come a long way since he topped the charts with ‘The One and Only’. Here, the Manilow-inspired father of three explains his love of raw fish and transatlantic upgrades.

First record you ever bought
Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ (the Old Gold re-release). I still listen to him all the time. It’s all about Stevie.

The last time you were chatted up
Last night, by two 60-year-old Barry Manilow fans as I was leaving the theatre. Naughty girls!

First film you saw that really moved you
ET. I was 11-years-old and I now watch it with my kids.

Last lie you told
I have three young children, two of whom have entered the questioning stage of life. Like all parents I find myself now skirting around the harsher issues they raise.

First movie you ever went on a date to
Well, it should have been Love Story or Dr Zhivago or Casablanca but I went for Police Academy. Romantic, eh?

Last extravagant purchase you made
Bose noise cancelling head phones. Cost? £299. I left them on a plane the same day.

Last great meal you cooked
Marmite on toast times three for my kids this morning.

Last time you cried
Sunday, meeting my best friend’s baby daughter, Mabel.

First crush
Debbie Harry. Me and a million other young lads with their tongues hanging out.

Last book you read
Chart Throb by Ben Elton. A hilarious account of TV music talent shows.

First great piece of advice you were given
Well, maybe not the first but a current piece of advice I’m sticking to is ‘Follow the lyrics, and the key changes will look after themselves’ (Barry Manilow).

Last time you were star struck
Meeting Paul McCartney backstage at a concert back in the 90s.

First song you’ll sing at karaoke
I think everyone should have a karaoke song, I have adopted ‘Desperado’ as my first choice.

First thing you’d do if you ran the country
I’d get politicians to wear portable lie detectors on their wrists which would give off a loud bleep every time they tried to mislead the people that elected them.

Last time you exploited your position to get something
Getting upgraded on my way back from the States last month … and relaxing.

First time you realised you were famous
When ‘The One and Only’ was happening and I had to leave my house in the boot of my mum’s car to escape the paparazzi.

Last time someone criticised your work
This morning. I find myself in the middle of a stage musical for the first time in my life and I get ten critical notes a day. It comes with the job.

First three words your friends would use to describe you
Here, there and everywhere. (Hey, that would make a good song title wouldn’t it?)

First concert you ever attended
My dad’s band, The Tremeloes. I watched from the wings. That was the moment I knew I wanted to be a singer.

Last time you bought someone flowers
Yesterday was my wife’s birthday, the time before that was, let me see … a year ago.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning
Kids and coffee. They go hand in hand.

Chesney Hawkes stars in Can’t Smile Without You, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Mon 20–Sat 25 Oct.

Can't Smile Without You

A new Barry Manilow musical starring 'all' of his hit songs. Ex-popstar Chesney Hawkes steps into the lead role with Siobhan Dillon (from BBC's 'Maria') and Francesca Jackson (from BBC's 'I'd Do Anything') also performing.

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