I’m so glad that pop legend (that’s right LEGEND!!!) Chesney Hawkes went ahead and opened the ice rink in Hastings, despite the barrage of complaints from Twitter users who had hoped that someone ‘more famous’ would be doing the honours. If by more famous, they mean some WAG or reality TV ‘star’ who would gladly attend the opening of an airline sick bag, then they could have had their pick of anyone. For me however, Chesney is still the one and only.
Rewind back to 1990, Chesneymania had struck and there was a new heart throb on the pop block. It seemed as though we couldn’t get enough of that blond mane and trademark mole as Chesney was EVERYWHERE! From appearing as the lead role in Buddy’s Song with Roger Daltry to topping the charts in 1991 with The One and Only, an alien from the planet Zyxzzkkot would have known who Chesney Hawkes was as there wasn’t a magazine cover his famous face didn’t grace or a television show he wasn’t due to appear on. The nation knew when he coughed, sneezed and what he ate for breakfast.
I get all sentimental over Chesney Hawkes for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, he’s a reminder of my teenage years. Secondly, he was famous during a period when mainstream pop was actually rather good, and my friends and I would watch Top of the Pops and follow mainstream chart music religiously. Thirdly, like most teenage girls, I did have his poster on my wall and daydreamed about how he would have to do battle with Jordan Knight from New Kids on the Block for my affections (a girl can dream!) Fourthly, we were reading the novel Buddy’s Song by Nigel Hinton in English when the film was released. This meant that although I had to read the book, I didn’t have to study it (and got to watch Chesney Hawkes over and over again. Great bonus!) And fifthly, he was responsible for one of the catchiest songs of all time. More than twenty years later, the aptly titled The One and Only still prevails.
That’s why the fuss about Chesney opening the ice rink at the Christmas market in Hastings was laughable. Admittedly, his celebrity status may have peaked in the early nineties but he’s still working as a musician and come on… everyone over the age of 25 (which is most of the population) has heard of Chesney Hawkes. Locals with a great deal of time on their hands launched a childish ‘Go Away Chesney’ campaign after learning that the star opening the ice rink was not going to be Suggs. “Why couldn’t we have Mick Jagger or Rod Stewart? Or even good old Cliff?” One local was quoted as saying. Goodness why stop at Mick or Rod? Maybe national treasure and future queen of England, Kate Middleton might have had half an hour free to perform the honours!
Chesney responded with dignity and good humour. Hawkes stated, “I’ve been booked to open the ice rink in Hastings and it seems that someone’s complained that I’m not famous enough. Well I am now. Whoever started this, please get in touch. The least I can do is buy you a drink. Look forward to seeing you next week Hastings.”
Looks like Chesney had the last laugh all right!