Take me to Cuba! Dire Straits star John Illsley talks about travel, from an upcoming trip to Havana to his dream destination – Papua New Guinea
John Illsley checks in to our travel Q&A
This week, Dire Straits star John Illsley checks in to our travel Q&A.
He talks about the highs and lows of life on the road, his future travel plans and more…
I’m heading to Cuba where I’m looking forward to seeing Havana’s old architecture and exploring the countryside.
BEST FOREIGN CITY?
I was impressed by the Portuguese capital on a recent visit. It has a touch of faded grandeur about it, but it’s being tidied up. The people are lovely, too.
Travel as lightly as possible; I’m always amazed by the number of bags people take on planes.
Probably my iPad, because I’m a Scrabble addict.
EVER GOT IN TROUBLE ON YOUR TRAVELS?
When Dire Straits were crossing from Canada to America, we were given the third degree by customs officers who searched us rather too intimately for my liking.
FIRST HOLIDAY MEMORY?
As a boy, going to Trevone Bay in Cornwall, where my father had met my mother. We rented a bungalow near the beach and I soon got to know every single rock pool.
Shabby chic: John is heading to Cuba where he’s looking forward to seeing Havana’s old architecture (pictured)
FIRST TRIP ABROAD?
I didn’t have a passport until I was in my late teens. My first use of it, aged 19, was flying down to the south of France to join my brother. We stayed on a campsite and misbehaved for a month.
DO YOU ENJOY TOURING?
We toured as a band for around 16 years — I love the family atmosphere you get on the road. I still enjoy touring, but nowadays can handle only a couple of weeks at a time.
TOURING LOW POINT?
We only ever cancelled one gig — when a makeshift stage in Luxembourg collapsed.
Beautiful: John reveals his dream destination is Papua New Guinea. Above is Raja Ampat, an archipelago on the country’s western tip
AND HIGH POINT?
Playing London’s Marquee Club in the early days. One night it must have been over 100f and the sweat was pouring off us — that’s when Mark Knopfler started wearing a headband and I wore wristbands.
I’d like to visit a friend in Papua New Guinea because it sounds so beautiful, but it’s going to take some planning.
- John Illsley is currently touring the UK. His new album, VIII, is out now. For more information, visit johnillsley.com.