National treasure Cheryl Baker talks to us about sunbeds in the 80s, doing Poppers for the first time and why Madonna should have used Velcro just like Bucks Fizz.
JH: Let’s face it, Bucks Fizz has had more line up changes than Sugababes, there’s been 16 at last count! What’s happening?
CB: Well, you know what is crazy is those 16 changes can still call themselves Bucks Fizz. It’s not even Bobby G who owns the name, and he was one of the original members. It’s his wife, and she was 11 when we ran the European Song Contest. The law is the law, but it needs to change because it’s very unfair. You can’t say something is black and white. We go onstage, we are, as far as the audience is concerned, Bucks Fizz.
JH: Ooo errr. So are people like adopts Nikki Grahame style stance WHO IS SHE????
CB: She owns the name. It’s just… it’s wrong. The law is a mess, as they said in ‘Oliver Twist.’
JH: Don’t you want to change the letters around. There’s a kind of an “up yours.”
CB: What’s that called, a spoonerism?
JH: We’ve spoken before about what makes a great gay icon and you said that you had lots of lovely gay fans who called you Dame. We were thinking about it; wouldn’t you rather be a Lady? Lady Cheryl.
CB: They don’t call me Lady. They call me Dame. Everybody does. Gay or not gay, everybody calls me Dame Cheryl.
JH: How did that start, do you know?
CB: I have no idea! I’ve absolutely no idea. It certainly wasn’t because I asked for it.
JH: But you wouldn’t turn down a Damehood right?
CB: I’d like anything.
JH: Let’s keep it real! So Eurovision… Are we doomed forever?
CB: The one thing that really stands out is the camaraderie and the fact that everyone there is rooting for everyone. If Israel is on stage, you still see Greek flags and Spanish flags. They’re all just there because it’s such a joyous occasion. It just unites everybody.
JH: It seems as though it could be getting even bigger because obviously, we’ve got Australia performing in it now, and they’re broadcasting for the first time in the States. What’d you reckon if the States got involved? Could we have Worldvision?
CB: I think it’s long overdue to be perfectly honest. I mean, it is already the biggest musical event in the world. There is nothing bigger. So, yes, America… I should think they’re broadcasting it because they think, “Hang on, I think I see a trick here.”
CB: Yeah. Globalvision. That’s a good name.
JH: Just imagine the politics! We think it’s bad now. What happens when North Korea gets involved?
CB: Or maybe one day, there’ll be an Intergalacticalvision.
JH: Are you a fan of drag?
JH: Do you know what your drag name is?
CB: No. Do I have one?
JH: Okay, well I’ve got a little machine here that does it. I’ve put in your name, so we’ve got Cheryl Baker, and then what was the name of your first pet?
CB: Oh I see. Okay. It was a bird. It was a budgie called Billie.
JH: Now you’ve got to pick a favourite karaoke power ballad. There are seven choices. We’ve got: “Believe” by Cher, “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross, “It’s Raining Men,” “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.”, “Vogue,” “I Will Survive,” or “I Want to Dance With Somebody.”
CB: Oh, it’s gotta be Aretha.
JH: Oh god, love that. Right, so then you press the button called “Queen Me,” and your drag name is, I think we might actually get trademark on this, is “Venus Galore”, and it tells you what you’re famous for. You’re famous for giving gorgeous face. What’d you reckon?
CB: I think that’s me to a T! I’m changing my name.
JH: Speaking about a gorgeous face? Your Wikipedia page says you’re 62…
CB: It’s nothing I’m ashamed of.
JH: You’re looking fabulous for it. What’s the key?
CB: Nothing. There’s no key. I don’t do anything. I don’t ever use soap and haven’t done since I can remember, on my face but who does? I moisturise well. I buy everything that says, “Good for baggy skin.” That’s about it. I don’t do anything else. I certainly don’t have any treatments done. I mean, my Mum had good skin, and the one thing that I probably do, I am aware of, is the sun. I don’t sunbathe. I know the sun is very aging to your skin.
JH: Yeah, but that’s kind of a recent development in skincare. In the 80s, it was all like tan beds wasn’t it?
CB: I had a tanning bed.
JH: Did you use it often?
CB: Yeah. Of course, when I was young. You’d put olive oil on your skin and lemon juice. I mean, you literally put French dressing on your body to tan. I used to think, and most people of my age used to think, ‘what you need to do is burn the first layer off so it all peels off’, and then you get a really nice colour underneath. I mean, it’s ridiculous. How I’m left with any skin at all. I don’t know.
JH: Okay. We’ve got a Marry, Snog, and Avoid situation here.
a) Katie Hopkins,
b) Katie Price,
c) Katy Perry.
CB: I’m marrying Katy Perry.
JH: Are you going to snog Katie Price?
JH: And avoiding Katie Hopkins?
CB: Avoid, of course. Yeah.
JH: Not a fan, then?
CB: No. No. I wouldn’t really like to snog Katie Price to be honest. How about just marry and avoid and avoid.
JH: Do you know what amyl nitrate is?
CB: Yes, I do.
JH: Have you ever done it?
JH: What happened?
CB: I thought my head was going to explode. Mike Nolan gave it to me. We were sitting at a table in Germany with our record company, our German record company, and he said, “Drop your napkin on the floor, and let me go under the table. I’ll give it to you and then you sniff it, a real good sniff.” I was like, “What is it?” He said, “You’ll love it. It’s really good.” So I did, and I really sniffed in deep. I thought, “Oh god, my head’s going to explode!” Then, he put it back in his pocket, got in a taxi, and didn’t screw the lid on properly!! That was my one and only time.
JH: Are you a fan of Cher?
CB: Um, there’s people I admire. I won’t say I’m a fan. I do really admire her like I admire Kylie and Madonna, but I’m not a fan. I think that what they’ve done with their career is superb. I am a fan of her acting. I think she’s a brilliant actress, but I’m not much of a fan of her voice, and the way she’s kept her figure and her face… although it’s changed shape over the years.
JH: She’s had a bit of work done. I don’t know if she’s actually fessed up to that…
CB: Oh, she’s had loads done. Didn’t she have a bum lift? She’s had all sorts done.
JH: Would you have your bum lifted?
CB: If you saw my bum, you’d know the answer to that.
JH: What songs should go into Room 101?
CB: Songs like “The Birdy Song” and “Mr. Blobby” I hate novelty songs. All novelty songs.
JH: And what moment of Rock and Rock history should go into Room 101?
1) Madonna’s cape;
2) Miley’s tongue;
3) Kanye West’s stage invasion.
CB: Oh, Kanye West. (But Madonna’s) cape was unfortunate. What she needed, she needed Velcro. She needed a rip-off skirt moment.
JH: You’ve got your very own Velcro moment, probably one of the most famous Eurovision moments of all time – where did it come from?
CB: It came by chance. It’s because we wanted… I wanted a long skirt because I’ve got footballer’s thighs, and Jay wanted a short skirt. Because she’s tiny and always been tiny. We were having this discussion about the outfits, the colour, the style, and length of our skirts. I was exasperated in the end, and I said, “You know what, let’s have both.” The choreographer said, “Well that’s it! If you want to see some more, we rip the skirt off and the short one’s underneath.” Without it, we wouldn’t have won.
It opened the floodgates, ‘the Eurovision Gimmick Contest’.
Cheryl, Mike and Jay, formerly of Bucks Fizz, will be performing dates in August, September and October across the UK. Visit: www.formerlyofbucksfizz.co.uk
This interview was taken from Issue 21 of THEGAYUK – download for free today.
The editor and chief of THEGAYUK. All in a previous life wrote and produced songs on multi-platinum records.