Shy Gilbert O’Sullivan gets a lot of letters from The Netherlands

“Preferably I would run away after any show”

European crusade of pop idol

He looks like a young American army officer (except for his long hair), in his light blue shirt in military style, with stitched breast pockets and two big copper G’s on the points of his collar.

Why so military, I ask the new Gilbert O’Sullivan, who sits easy backwards in his chair, drinking tea. “I love that”, the English singer of the often sensitive pop song, answers. “A nice young lady once told me: a uniform looks nice”, he adds smiling.

On his sleeves he wears big badges loudly proclaiming ‘Gilbert O’Sullivan’. So each mistake is out of the question.

This is the way the new Gilbert O’Sullivan appears, starting his enormous European tour on 9th May. On 12th May by night he sings in the Rotterdam Sportpaleis Ahoy. It is his only show in our country.

“In the beginning I was more popular in The Netherlands than in England”, he admits. “So I like to go there. I often get a lot of letters from there”.

“Unfortunately a venue in Amsterdam wasn’t available”, he goes on chatting. He is startled when he hears that Rotterdam will be a nightly show. “What with all these young kids?”, Gilbert sincerely worried asks. “It’s a pity”.

He just came back from Dublin when I spoke to him, and immediately after this interview a television show in Spain was waiting. For the rest he imprisons himself in his new home in Weybridge, little South West of London. There he writes new songs.

Above that he is busy recording for his new album. Eight tracks are already finished, it will be released end of summer. Gilbert’s new massive single ‘Get Down’ is #1 in England. In Germany some 80.000 were sold within two weeks.

Although this pop idol also is surrounded by publicity people, he manages to keep his disarming, fresh honesty. “My big, old fashioned schoolboy’s cap, the complete old image, was frightening. But that was my natural me. This Gilbert is a pin-up. This uniform is just ‘fun’”.

What does he think about his fans,shouting and screaming? “If they want to pay for me and listen quietly or not, they have to decide that for themselves. For me it is not frustrating if they scream and do not understand a word of it. I don’t like it. For one reason or another they shout for you”.


Also the new Gilbert lives all alone by himself. He only has a cleaning lady. “I haven’t bought anything for myself, even though I could easily do that. No Rolls Royce. I turn down all kind of tempting invitations of rich girls. I never go to parties”, he says, and he pours himself a new cup of tea from an enormous pot.

“I am not engaged in matters of money. I am engaged in music. Above that, a lot of money go to taxes. Others take care of my money, at least I hope so”, he smiles.


Gilbert O’Sullivan keeps coming back to: “I am a person who likes to be on his own. I like going for a walk. If I could see what I do on stage, I wouldn’t believe it.

Gilbert O’Sullivan wants a cigar. They deliver a massive one. He finds it too big, he want a small one. His agent explains: “He cannot smoke a big one.” “I am really shy, Preferably I would run away after any show”, Gilbert adds.

Photo caption: “The new Gilbert O’Sullivan. “In the beginning I was more popular in The Netherlands than in England. So I like to go there”.

Translation by Rob van der Vaart