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Monday, November 14, 2011

Johnny Mathis's holiday heaven and hell

What do you need for a perfect holiday?

I need good company, a golf course nearby and the sun has to shine.

What do you always take with you?

I always take golf clubs and a couple of golf manuals just to remind me why I'm travelling and to improve my game.

What's your best piece of travel advice?

The most important thing is to have an escape if you need it. I can drift off and take myself somewhere else mentally when I'm listening to music. I even bring food with me, things that travel well – chocolate and hard salamis.

And where do you want to go next?

I'd like to go back to Brazil. Dionne Warwick is a good pal who has a place there and she's always telling me to come and visit her. Other than that, I have no burning desire to see anywhere else. I've been lucky enough to have golfed all over the world, so I feel I've covered it.

What was your worst holiday?

I'm a keen fisherman and years ago a crowd of us booked what we thought would be a fishing holiday on a Caribbean island. We envisaged lots of fishing, followed by long meals where we would eat what we caught along with lovely fresh local produce. The reality was quite different: we discovered quite quickly that it was only local people who were allowed to fish. They didn't prevent you from fishing but there were no fishing amenities available and then to cap it all off, the local food that was available was mainly frozen. Looking back, we seemed to spend a lot of time defrosting food.

What was your worst experience on holiday?

Years ago I lost my luggage on my way to a concert in Arizona. I had to perform in a pair of cowboy boots, a leather jacket and a checked shirt, which was acceptable attire for a concert in Arizona, but as I sing romantic ballads rather than country and western songs, it was a strange look.

What's the biggest packing mistake you've made?

I often forget to pack a hand mirror, which I need to see what the back of my head looks like because often that's what the audience sees. I have one little spot at the back of my head where the hair is thinning and I need that covered.

Which is the worst hotel you've stayed in?

None stand out but small towns with wonderful performing arts centres often have lousy hotels. They're getting better because there's increased competition, but they can be poor.

What do you avoid on holiday?

I can only go a few days without a newspaper or television and then I need to plug back into the world and see what's happening.

What do you hate about holidays?

These days I don't go on many holidays. I live in southern California and find that it has enough diversity for me and my days at home are pretty full – by the time I've golfed, cooked my food and spent time with my friends, it's time for bed. I'm happy at home.

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