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'Limahl looking to the here and now'

LIMAHL, the lead singer of eighties group Kajagoogoo, is part of the never-ending nostalgia spectacular known as the Here And Now tour. He talks to Riazat Butt ahead of his visit to Manchester.

It's a long way from Pemberton to Primrose Hill. But pop singer Limahl, whose real name is Christopher Hamill and was the lead singer of eighties group Kajagoogoo, has experienced life in both places.

He grew up in Pemberton, Wigan, and remembers row upon row of terraced houses. Life was simpler, people had less money than they do now and it was part of a mining community.

His father, Eric, and older brothers, Paul and Tony, worked down the pits and Limahl reckons he would have followed in their footsteps had he not been bitten by the showbusiness bug.

Fast forward 30 years and he is now living in the leafy and exclusive environs of Primrose Hill, north London, which is home to the likes of Ben Elton, Noel Gallagher, Ewan McGregor, Kate Winslet and Jude Law.

"Oh I've seen Jude Law a couple of times," says Limahl breezily, "with his kids in tow, looking stressed. But I've lived in Primrose Hill for 20 years."

So, where Limahl leads, others follow.

However his other, slightly more dubious, claim to fame is showcasing one of the finest mullets in pop history and kickstarting a hairdressing revolution. A few years ago the Face magazine heralded Limahl's mullet as the best of all time.

"I had a mullet. It was quite impressive. The other guys in the band just had big hair. I was training as a hairdresser and used to work in a salon near Oxford Road station in Manchester. The salon's not there anymore. There's a coffee shop instead. I was really upset that it had gone."

Limahl moved to Manchester when he was 17 and soon found himself burning the candle at both ends. "I was working behind a bar, called the Piccadilly, four nights a week. It was ages ago.

"The Britannia Hotel was brand new, it was the place to stay in town, and there were no tram lines."

As Limahl is swept away on a wave of nostalgia it will soon be his turn to inspire warm and fuzzy memories in other people.

The 46-year-old singer is taking part in the Here And Now tour, which is in its fifth year and features major recording artists from the eighties. Included in the line-up is Belinda Carlisle, Kim Wilde, Midge Ure, Living In A Box and Bucks Fizz.

Whether you like Limahl or not, there is at least some dignity to what he's doing. He's not, mentioning no names, resorting to colonic irrigation or parachuting out of a plane to kickstart his career.

But he has appeared on a reality TV show, although not in the UK. Limahl made it to the semi-finals of a German version of Reborn In The USA called, funnily enough, Comeback. "I love the Germans and they love me," he says triumphantly.

He won't say how much money he's made during his career, which started in 1979 in the chorus line of Aladdin, but he reckons he's comfortable.

"I'm not as rich as I could be or should be," he says coyly, "but I've done well enough."

He is equally secretive about his private life. He has been in a relationship for 12 years with someone he won't name. Is it a case of Limahl being Too Shy?

"Ha, ha, very good. Pat yourself on the back for that one," he replies.

The Here and Now 2004 tour calls at Manchester on Wednesday, December 15.

Riazat Butt

Quelle: Manchester Online, 8. Dezember 2004