The shape I'm in: Barbara Dickson, singer and performer

LUCKY is a word that crops up over and over when Barbara Dickson talks about her life. 

She feels lucky that she has inherited good genes from her mum, lucky to have a family life, lucky because she’s never been seriously ill.

But mostly she feels lucky because, at 68, she continues to sing and perform decades after her career as a pop star came to and end.

“I don’t think everyone is able to do that. I don’t take it for granted,” she says.

“I think it has something to do with the way I chose to conduct my life. It helps me to remain vibrant and strong. It has nothing to do with image and looking like you are 25. I don’t care for that.”

With her roots firmly planted in folk music, her stellar career as a pop star — Another Suitcase in Another Hall, I Know Him So Well — didn’t knock her off course. “It was just another string to my bow,” she says.

“Since I retired from being a pop star, in about 1985, I have been doing thoughtful songs, playing the guitar, playing the piano and doing all the stuff I started off doing.”

Living in Edinburgh with her husband Oliver, they have three sons. Colm, 29, Gabriel, 27 and Archie, 25.

She gave birth to her youngest aged 42.

“I didn’t meet my husband until I was in my 30s. There wasn’t a choice really. I didn’t postpone it. And I was never a woman who would have had children on my own by choice. I would have wanted to provide them with a father as well as a mother.”

* Barbara Dickson is live in concert in Ireland next month: www.barbaradickson.net  for details.

What shape are you in?

I go to the gym. I try to go three times a week but only for 45 minutes. I’m not bathed in sweat. I can’t be doing with that. I just do a little bit of cycling. A little bit of the cross trainer and some lifting and that kind of thing.

What are your healthiest eating habits?

I have a decent appetite. I have porridge every day for breakfast. And I have a sandwich for lunch and I’ll have a meal at about 7pm, which could be anything at all. We eat a lot of Asian food.

What are your guiltiest pleasures?

I am not bothered by chocolate or stuff like that. I think guiltiest pleasures would be something like having a massage — and it’s not even guilty. All that kind of stuff that gets the circulation going is just good for you when you get older.

What would keep you awake at night?

Like every other mother, I worry about my children. Fortunately they are all well. I’ll probably worry about my grandchildren, too. But I haven’t got any yet.

How do you relax?

I find it difficult. it’s not that I need to drive myself on because I’m full of energy. I think the best thing I can do is to have a relaxing facial with a massage.

The other one, when I am lucky enough, is to go on holiday with my husband and sleep and read. Mauritius is my favourite destination.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

William Wallace our great Scottish patriot to see if he really was absolutely great and cultured and like Mel Gibson’s portrait of him. Elvis because he was only the most beautiful man who ever walked the earth. And the Dali Lama, his laugh is so infectious he would make me howl with laughter.

What’s your favourite smell?

Tar — I’ve loved it ever since I was a child. I also love the smell of aniseed. And lavender.

What would you like to change about your appearance?

I don’t believe in facelifts or cosmetic surgery — it’s a betrayal of the sisterhood and I’ll have nothing to do with it. I just want to be a really feisty, interesting old woman.

When did you last cry?

It’s not that I wouldn’t cry but it’s so long ago that I can’t remember. I am more inclined to be deeply moved by things.

What traits do you least like in others?

Rudeness and inconsiderate behaviour.

What traits do you least like about yourself?

Not taking the time to stop. In Lincolnshire, where I used to live, the farmers used to say take time to lean over the gate — I need to do a bit of that I think.

Do you pray?

Yes, quite a lot, especially if I am waiting. I just go into a mode where I say some prayers to myself and that gets me to calm down. And I always say a very, very swift prayer before I go on stage.

What would cheer up your day?

Somebody’s smiling face, sunshine, the change of the seasons. I’m also turned on by kindness, consideration, a bit of love, a bit of shared time. 


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