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Boyz (UK)
November 15, 2003

Tori Off Tour

Tori Amos tells Jack Hanley a few of her unique travel tales...

So we wanted to ask you about some of our favourite holiday destinations...

Well, they told me that's what you wanted, but I thought as it was for Boyz that you meant where I'd go if I were a gay man.

Oh, okay, so where would you go if you were a gay man?

Well, firstly, to keep it close to the narrative I know, which is to be born of my parents, I'd be a minister's son, the son of a preacher man. I'd be called Jonah, but I'd change that at the age of 17 to Xavier and keep Jonah as a middle name because of the way you hear it in church.

Erm...

So anyway, if I was single, I'd go to Miami because from Xavier's point of view, there are beautiful, multi-cultural men there. It wouldn't be about the Hamptons for him, he'd like Little Cuba. And the beaches are beautiful.

What does Xavier look like?

I picture him as an architect. Hair a little scruffy, glasses, about five foot ten with a shirt rolled up late 50s-style. He'd look like a Hollywood writer. In summer he'd wear flip-flops and shorts with pockets. Abercrombie style. Fairly casual, but he can push and Ozwald Boateng suit.

So what if he weren't single?

He'd go to Italy, because you just have to take your lover to the place where so many rules were made against gay men. It would be a celebration of their love. Walk in the moonlight, go to Tuscany, go to where the Pope hangs out and make love in that city. I don't mean go if you're just dating though, it would be a real commitment. You have to go where your confrontation stems from and especially with what has been going on with the gay priests; this is occurring now in 2003, not 50 years ago.

And Italy is a pretty romantic place too, right?

Well, it's romantic to go there and not be burnt at the stake. The doctrine comes from there - it's no different from America, where it comes out of Washington D.C. It's the eye of the needle. But of course, it is beautiful, too.

So what about Xavier's sister, Tori? Does she holiday much herself?

Usually we take a few days out in the middle of touring. We have a beach house a few hours north of Miami, and enjoy going there because we like playing house together. We like not having to interact with people. I think it's one of the most beautiful places, there's a lot of wildlife and if you're a boating person it's just great. I sit on the sun deck and watch the boats go by. My mum's not too far from there.

What was the last holiday you went on away from the beach house?

We went to Auberge du Soleil (www.aubergedusoleil.com) in wine country just outside San Francisco. You get a condo with a hot tub overlooking the vineyards and you can walk up to the restaurant or just get served in your room. There's something really romantic about not being in big busy hotels.

You must spend a lot of time in hotels though.

Well we're always in good hotels, but they're always big. They have to meet our needs on tour. I really like the Four Seasons in New York. If you're doing seven interviews back to back and you just flew in and everything's wrinkled, they can turn things around really fast for you, and the spa is pretty good too. It's not like a 'spa' spa though, it's very New York... it has a good workout room.

How about in Europe?

In Paris I like Costes. It feels like I'm having an affair with myself when I'm there. I open the shutters, look onto the courtyard and it feels very 19th century.

Do you take anything special with you when you travel to feel more at home, like scented candles or anything?

I take a humidifier for my voice, but otherwise I don't need much. Whatever's in my bags at the time. You have to be a loner, a lone wolverine to do this; you have to be able to prowl around the world. If everything was taken from me, I'd be okay. If I had my credit card, I'd be doubly okay.

You must spend a lot of time in planes. How do you cope with that?

Lots of water. And if I'm on a long flight I take certain herbs that bring me down. I don't think health food substitutes work always, but I have something from the Tea Garden in L.A. that slows you down in a nice way with no hangover. I always have a moisturiser and I never drink on a flight, as I like to be in control. I'll watch a movie, but I try not to talk to anybody.

But you aren't in Economy with the screaming kids I imagine, are you?

Let me tell you, there are some really rotten people in schmoozy class. This German guy came up to me once and started telling me everything I'd done wrong with my albums. He was drinking, and he kept pestering me. I was with my husband and trying to get my daughter to sleep and they had to ask him to sit down. He was a stalker in BA First Class. He was going on a golfing holiday to Miami. I don't think he would have bothered Xavier though!

Tales Of A Librarian: A Tori Amos Collection, featuring 20 of Tori's best-known songs as well as two new tracks, is released on 17 November on East West Records.


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