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 Park Engineering

 John Park, 32 the Loaning, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Strathclyde, Scotland, U.K. ML1 3HE

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Chris de Burgh

If It's Wednesday, it must be Stuttgart. Chris de Burgh could easily be forgiven for thinking like that because he has to be one of the busiest performers on the planet, filing huge venues from Kiev to Berlin to Los Angeles. 'It is hard to fit it all in, but I just love concerts and giving audiences a great evening,' says Chris, who also finds time for writing, recording  and the occasional concert in Britain, as well as relaxing for a little while back home in Ireland. Chris 67, has been one of our major sing stars for decades and, yes he's still asked to perform Lady in Red, a no. 1 hit 30 years ago, everywhere he goes. 'I enjoy touring and performing,'  he said. 'It's always a big kick to see all these people who've turned up to hear you play. 'I like solo appearances as they give me more intimacy with the audience, but there are still gigs with the band and orchestras. "I like to vary performances, but but always try to do songs people like to hear as well as introducing new ones. "I don't play about with the old songs as I know many of them mean something special to those listening. Lady In  Red is a classic example.  People want to hear it done exactly the way they first heard it and the way it found a place in their hearts. "I respect and understand that, so you will never hear me play around with it." Chris often appears to travel off the beaten track to give concerts, but that is a deliberate decision. He has a huge following all over the world (he's currently touring South Africa)  and often appears in places such as Lebanon. "I think it is important to to visit those places," he revealed. "I know I could just sit back and take note of the album sales and radio plays, but that's not the way for me. "I like to say a personal thank you by singing for them." Chris De Burgh is one of the most level headed superstars you are ever likely to meet. His songs get under your people's skin and that is perhaps in part because of his upbringing. "I think I have empathy with people," he said. "I don't write everything from personal experience, but I do feel the highs and lows, the emotional roller coaster ride of life which other people have to endure. "That is probably the secret of song writing, to be able to cry and to laugh with people and to feel what they feel." Chris has been on the emotional treadmill himself from a early age. "It has been said that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth," he said. "Nothing could be further from the truth. We were not well off and I can remember the leaking roof and other things which were by no means a sign of financial comfort. "I was sent to boarding school and I resented it. It took me years to forgive my father. "The result was we weren't very close until the last period of his life. One day I just realised that I loved him." What was the problem with boarding school? "I didn't like being sent away," Chris admitted. "My brother was a t school in Buckinghamshire, while I was in Wiltshire  --  I only learned years later that my mother had been left a legacy from an aunt, who specified that the money pay for our education. They could not have afforded those public schools otherwise. I don't recall great moments of unhappiness at Marlborourgh. In fact, I quite enjoyed it. It was being away from home. "There were no beatings. There was a total change in the 1960's as it was finally understood that if you teach children with kindness and encouragement, you get a lot more out of them. "Music was my first love, and at Marlborough, we put bands together and sang pop songs. "Although I couldn't read music  -- I still can't --- I taught myself to play the guitar and piano by listening to songs and working out the chords. "I don't pretend to play well, but it suits the way I write songs. "Unfortunately, at about the time I was sitting my A- levels, a new headmaster took over. "On my last report, he said I'd be lucky to pass any A- levels and that I should consider a career without university. "So I was in the depths of gloom. When my exam results arrived, I took them into the bathroom and nervously opened the envelope. "I'd got tow A's and a B. I wrote to the headmaster and told him. "So I then went to trinity College Dublin. My first big mistake was to opt to study French and Spanish. "I'd spend the first five years of my life in Argentina, but although I hadn't spoken Spanish for 13 years, I thought I would be able to pick it up fast.  "I was wrong, so I eventually switched to English, French and European history. "I made loads of English and Irish friends and all they wanted to do was have a good time. "So we partied a lot, and and I got involved with Trinity's Players theatre --- singing and doing silly sketches in student revues. "Despite so much fun, I must have worked hard as well, as I ended up with an MA degree. After University, I set out to see if I could have a career in music. Emotions run high at a Chris de Burgh concert or when listening to any of his albums. But they have probably never run so high as the night Chris will always remember. "I must be one of the luckiest people on the planet," Chris said. "I have toured the world and had many great moments, appearing in concerts in front of 100,000 people, but I don't think I have been more excited than when my wife and I sat in the audience in China and watched our eldest daughter, Rosanna , become Miss World.  "I leapt out of my seat when the result was announced. "It was unlike me, but it a moment so special, even more than a football fan celebrating his team getting the winning goal in a cup final. It was just fantastic. "I will always remember leaping into the air and then feeling the moisture streaming into my eyes. Life is about very special moments like this. Few can put these moments into song as well as Chris de Burgh.