19 Dec 2008
Festive Monkey business
Festive Monkey business
HE'S on a hiding to nothing against The X Factor's Alexandra Burke, but Manchester's own former Monkee Davy Jones has entered the race for the Christmas number one.
Jones has added his dulcet tones to It's Christmas, described even by its creators as 'the most annoyingly Christmassy Christmas song ever', replete with sleighbells and kids' chorus.
Davy, who celebrates his 63rd birthday on December 30, spoke to The Diary from snowy and extremely Christmassy Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he has a grand 20-room house, a stable of race horses and even his own race track. But that's not where he will be unwrapping his presents.
"I'll be on the beach in Miami on Christmas Day," says the perky pop star. "I'll be spending some time with my girlfriend's family."
Jones, who has four daughters from a previous marriage in the UK, has, for the past two years, been with 31-year old Jessica Pacheco, a Cuban-American actress and flamenco dancer.
"She's a great girl," he says. "She takes care of me and we're just having a wonderful time together, travelling and working."
They will be taking a couple of Jones's horses down to Florida to compete in race meets. All of which is a world away from childhood in Manchester, though it's here that Openshaw-born Davy first fell for his four-legged friends.
"My dad took me down to Manchester racecourse when we were deciding what I'd do as a little 13-year old," says Davy. "When I was 14, I spent the school holiday at the stables and it's been a passion ever since."
He has had to juggle that passion with an acting career - he was Ena Sharples's grandson in Coronation Street - and then life with The Monkees, the madcap, made-for-TV pop group derided by some as a "Prefab Four" despite racking up a string of hits. The band split in 1970 but have had several reunion tours up until 2002.
Davy still has family in Denton and Stockport, still keeps in touch with pals from Varna Street Secondary Modern, Openshaw, and still follows Manchester United from afar.
"I bought a ball at auction with Beckham on it and all the team when they won the big three, and it's going in my museum in Pennsylvania," he says. "I have an old church I have turned into a memorabilia museum and a sort of theatre."
Jones is still busy performing standards, show tunes and, yes, Monkees' hits across the USA. As for the prospect of all the Monkees doing it once more for old time's sake, he says: "We're all well into our sixties now. It would be a bit pathetic seeing us out there trying to do that."
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