Singer Rick Astley on red wine, riverside pubs and having dinner with Elton John

by John Koski

Rick Astley’s UK tour resumes at Bedgebury Pinetum, Kent, on 16 June

 

Guilty pleasure? Sneaking off to the local pub for a pint with my friend Simon.

 

Where is home? A big 1930s house near Hampton Court Palace in Surrey. My wife Lene, who’s a film producer, and I both work from home.

 

Career plan B? Some kind of outdoor job without the normal stresses of life. I love skiing, although I’m not good enough to be an instructor.

 

Who would play you in a movie of your life? Martin Freeman.

 

Biggest bugbear? After 30 years of living in and around London, the traffic still drives me mad.

 

As a child you wanted to be… A musician.

 

Earliest memory? A family holiday in Cornwall before my parents split up when I was about four.

 

Secret to a happy relationship? Trust, give-and-take and love – but love depends on the first two.

 

Your best quality? I’m a good listener.

 

And your worst? I can get impatient and angry, which I’m not proud of.

 

Most romantic thing you’ve done? Whenever our song – ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ by Crowded House – is being played, whether it’s in a shop or a café, I hold up my phone to the speaker and send a message to Lene.

 

Last meal on earth? Spaghetti vongole with bottarga, a glass of red wine and an espresso – preferably in Sardinia.

 

Dream dinner-party guests? Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, who are genuine icons, and my wife.

 

Advice to teenage self? Learn to play the piano properly.

 

Cat or dog? We have two cats, Charlie and Sky, who we got 17 years ago for our daughter Emilie, now 25.

 

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Someone who looks his age, which is 51. I was 21 when I had my first hits, but looked about 11.

 

Starstruck moment? Meeting Elton John properly for the first time, when he invited Lene and me to dinner in Los Angeles back in the 1990s. Forget all the extravagance, he’s just an incredible songwriter.

 

Big break? Meeting record producer Pete Waterman and going to work for him.

 

Career highlight? To have a number-one album last year with 50 was both amazing and weird. I set out to make some music for my 50th birthday and release it in a small way.

 

Favourite tipple? Red wine with my wife, a glass of white burgundy if I’m having lunch on my own.

 

Hangover cure? Fried eggs on toast.

 

Top of your bucket list? To rent a place in the Alps for a whole ski season.

 

Philosophy? ‘Have a good time all the time’ – a line from the keyboard player in the film This Is Spinal Tap.

 

Last film that made you cry? Hidden Figures left me a bit tearful. I like films based on true stories.

 

Where would you time travel to? Las Vegas when Sinatra was at his height, with the Count Basie Orchestra behind him.

 

First record you bought? ‘I Feel Love’ by Donna Summer.

 

Most extravagant purchase? A little boat moored on the Thames near our house, which I use to travel to riverside pubs.

 

Celebrity crush? Kim Wilde.

 

Happiness is… Lying on a beach in Italy with lunch nearly ready.

 


Rick’s UK tour resumes at Bedgebury Pinetum, Kent, on 16 June, rickastley.co.uk