A WEEKLY DIARY EXCLUSIVELY WRITTEN FOR MIRABELLE MAGAZINE
2nd March 1974
I'm going to tell you this week a little bit about my involvement with Lulu, who at the moment is exciting us all very much. Honestly she's such a great little artiste - I can still remember being in love with her performance of 'Shout', a record she made at the very beginning of her career when she was only about sixteen, and sang with a group called The Luvvers. She has such a raw, earthy voice and I soon became very keen to hear how she would turn out singing one of my songs.
I met up with Lulu at the beginning of last summer, when she came to a party in London that was being held for me. We started talking, and I told her how much I admired her voice and we discussed the possibilities of doing some recording together. I was leaving for a recording studio in France - The Chateau, to begin work on 'Pin Ups' and Lulu said that she would come down there as soon as she had a weekend free. The work was extremely rewarding and we eventually recorded Lu singing two of my songs, 'The Man Who Sold The World' and 'Watch That Man'. Ronno was, of course, at the sessions working on 'Pin Ups', and he soon became very involved in the Lulu tracks, adding all the guitar phrases and musical ideas at which he is so masterful.
We're all very, very pleased to see the single get Lulu the great success she deserves. Her record company threw a reception for her at the Les Ambassadeurs in London to celebrate its release. Due to my recording commitments I was unable to get there, but Ronno and Suzie went along with Corinne from my office. Lu was dressed in a beautiful white suit.
Ronno is going through a very exciting time at the moment, as so many things are happening for him at the same time. He has just acquired a fabulous mansion in the country, complete with swimming pool and tennis courts, and is planning to move into it as soon as possible. He has also released his first solo album and single, and has been spending a lot of time recently working on them. Ronno's sister, Maggie, has also been in London and you can hear her singing back-ups on some of the tracks for his album.
I think that that's about all I have space for this week.
9th March 1974
At the moment it seems that I spend my whole time at the recording studios. Sometimes I think I should just take my bed and live there for a while, as I never seem to have much time for anything else. Recording is, of course, a very important and natural outlet for me, and once I have got involved in a session, time just seems to rush past, and I realise that apart from slipping home to sleep at night, I haven't seen anything of the rest of the world for days.
Angie is still in America, continuing with her screen tests and career interests, and I'm really missing her very much indeed. For her own part, Angie has been pretty homesick as well, though we both understand that work has to force us apart occasionally. Last week she persuaded Daniella to bring Zowie over to visit her for a while, and so there was the usual pandemonium within the house while little Zowie's clothes were pressed and packed and all the travel arrangements were made. Zowie was, of course, very excited and went around telling everyone that he was going away to see his mum who was a long way from home. Eventually Daniella became nearly as excited as he was, and they were both rushing backwards and forwards in a panic! Angela has now taken a house in Beverly Hills, right next door to Carole King, so I expect Zowie will come home singing all of her songs and telling me how great she is. I've also heard that Angie and some friends had dinner with Warren Beatty just recently, and so when I speak to her tonight I shall ask her all about it.
Lindsay Kemp, who I expect you have heard me talk of and who is a great mime artiste, staged a production of a play by a great French writer called Jean Genet. The play is called 'The Maids', but it ran into a lot of censorship trouble over here. And so last week I asked a couple of friends from my office in London to go over to Paris to try to contact Genet and explain some of the problems Lindsay was running into. Genet is a great recluse and very difficult to get hold of, and I believe that they had a lot of adventures trying to track him down. My aim is for Genet possibly to come to London, as I am sure he will appreciate the production of his play, and help to get some of these silly bans lifted as I really don't like to see good art and theatre being lost through misunderstanding and bad publicity.
Anyway, I think I'll climb down off my hobby horse now and get myself ready to leave for the studio and get back to work. So take care of yourselves until next week.
16th March 1974
Well, it seems that recently, every week, when I sit down to prepare this column, I have to wrack my brains to think of something different to tell you about. I don't feel that I have done much lately that would interest you, as so much of my time has been taken up in the recording studios.
It also means that time seems to go incredibly fast, and it seems like only yesterday that I sat down to write to you last. When one gets down to an intensive recording project like I have been doing lately, it seems to take up all of one's time and energy.
As you all probably know by now, and hopefully managed to see - Mick Ronson made his solo debut at the Rainbow Theatre and was, of course, magnificent. Mick is a true artiste. He takes his work very seriously and an incredible amount of preparation went into his first shows.
Ronno decided that he had to be completely fit, as he had been off the road for some while, and spent a couple of weeks beforehand really getting himself into shape. He bought himself an exercise machine and worked on it for about an hour every day. You could almost see his muscles growing and developing by the day - he really believes in bodily health.
For any artiste to be able to give their all during a tough stage performance they have to be very fit and in complete control of their movements for the whole time.
He also got Suzie to choose him a new bicycle, and began rising early in the mornings and cycling off round Hyde Park for a couple of circuits. I don't think you would have believed it was Ronno if you had seen him! You see Suzie also bought him a bright yellow cycling mac which he put on and which would billow out behind him as he got up speed. He also cut down on his cigarette consumption by about half, so all in all Ronno got himself into the peak of physical health.
Talking of that, I think that I'll have to step up my own fitness programme, because as you probably know, I am working on some stage plans of my own at the moment which are going to tax the Bowie body to the full.
I'm working on a new musical which is going to be called 'The Nineteen Eighty Floor Show' - I think - at least that is the title it has at the moment. It's the music for this that I have been concentrating so hard on during the last few weeks. As you can gather from the title - it's to do with the future. I have always read a lot of science fiction, and that has given me a lot of ideas. In fact, it's been on my mind for some time now to work out some sort of stage show of this kind, and it's very exciting to be finally getting down to hard work on it - and seeing what were just ideas and thought develop into reality.
I will shortly be discussing plans for its stage presentation with some American colleagues, but as my plans are still in such an early stage, I can't tell you much more at the moment. Don't worry, as soon as I know a bit more myself, I will be telling you all about it.
Well, that's all for now.
23rd March 1974
I was just thinking last night about that incredible trip across Russia, which I told you about a while back in the column, and I remembered one rather funny incident which I forgot to tell you about at the time. The more I think back over it - the funnier it seems!
I had been travelling on that train for about two weeks I think it was by the time I arrived at West Berlin. Travelling with me was Lee Childers my photographer. Well, I think you probably got some idea of the sort of conditions we were travelling in. I mean we loved everything about the whole trip, but the fact is during those two weeks we were wearing the same old jeans which we practically slept in. We just about managed to wash, but our hair never got as far as the water and shampoo let alone the blow dry stage. In fact, really we had stopped worrying about even trying to look our best! Lee had an incredible very grand, beautifully designed, long raincoat - or so it was when we set out. By the time we arrived you would probably have had to look inside at the label to get an idea of what it was supposed to be like! So when we climbed off the train at West Berlin we had just one thought in our minds - how to get as quickly and inconspicuously as possible to a hot bath, a good hair wash, and a suitcase full of lovely, fresh, clean, beautiful clothes. But we hadn't reckoned on just one little very important details. Someone had slipped the news to the Press that we were arriving.
As we got off the train and looked down the platform, we saw this funny-shaped mass arriving at the barrier, passing through and travelling down the platform in our direction at an amazing speed. As it approached we realised what it was. It was a whole crowd of the most beautiful glitter kids! They were dressed from top to toe in incredible clothes - every detail of their make-up just perfect. As they got closer - every we could just make out the expression on the leaders' faces - and they could just make out who we were - well, I've already described how we looked! We could see them faltering, slowing down, mouths dropping open in astonishment, and finally stopping a little distance away from us - just staring in disbelief!
30th March 1974 - (David Bowie Special)
'I'm A Rebel!'
Now I've written the title down, I don't really know how to follow it up. I suppose I got the idea for this piece from the title of my latest single release 'Rebel Rebel', which I'm pleased to see you like.
There's quite a special story attached to the song and I'm going to tell you a bit about it now. It's only the second song I've written specifically as a single over the last couple of years. The other one was 'Jean Genie'. That may sound a bit strange, but at the time of 'Jean Genie' I was in the States, on which turned out to be my last tour there. Then the song happened. The inspiration came to me from various situations I was experiencing in New York and I wanted so much to put them all into a song.
Getting back to 'Rebel Rebel' it was all completed in three days. Some time at the end of last December, I came up with the song, idea and arrangement for it and I felt that I had to get it recorded immediately. That's the kind of way I work. I must do things as soon as they occur to me otherwise a great deal of the fire and originality gets completely lost. Unlike 'Pin Ups', which we had a terrific time recording in the Chateau in France, 'Rebel Rebel' was cut in Trident Studios in good old London town.
There's something about the record I'd like to ask you. Has the thought occurred to you that the song is slightly Stones-ish? A few people have come up to me and said that they think it has the same kind of feeling as some of the glorious singles that Mick and his gang got together. I think that's a tribute, because to me Mick and the Stones are still tops.
Even during The Stones' last appearance here I just had to follow the band around as much as possible.
Getting back to me talking about being a rebel - and that's what this piece is supposed to be about, your parents probably regard me as some sort of crazy fella so they find great difficulty in understanding. I can fully accept their feelings, so let's hope that given time they will come to understand the beauty and depth of feeling that goes into everything I do. Believe it or not, I do get get letters regularly from middle-aged mums and dads who seem to understand and fully appreciate the theatrics that go to make up the complete David Bowie.
But really there are certain faces of your good friend Bowie that aren't at all rebellious. I have got a super family life not only with Angie and Zowie, who, of course, are the closest people to me, but also with everyone who works in the Bowie organisation because they're all considered as being part of my family.
Now flashing back nearly three years, I suppose I was thought of as some kind of rebel when I came out with 'Hunky Dory', which is still one of my favourite albums. That was the first time I was able to get across ideas and conceptions to you, the public, which I had been working hard on for a long time. It was tremendous to be able to release them on you, but at the same time it was also worrying to a certain extent because I was one hundred per cent sure that you would accept them. When I first started wearing dresses there was a big outcry about them, which I really couldn't understand. There doesn't seem anything wrong to me in any guy wearing something which is both fashionable and comfortable. And if you cast your mind back in time you'll see that frocks or dresses were commonly accepted on men many hundreds of years ago.
Likewise with make-up. Stage make-up had been used widely by performers long before I had a chance to display it, but I guess I took the idea a little further by wearing my make-up where and when I pleased.
Now I've spoken about why I might be considered a rebel as far as my looks are concerned, I'd better say a few words about certain mental attitudes I deeply believe in.
Whatever I've been quoted as saying in the past, and I really don't want to go into all that now, I believe in most sincerely. If that's considered being rebellious, then I suppose I am. It's just that I'm the kind of person who doesn't believe in hiding what they really think behind a mask. It's not that I particularly want to influence you all to my way of thinking - but it is important to know that you all accept me for being me.
I suppose my attitudes to life can be summed up best by my approach to flying. Although this is obviously considered the quickest and most efficient way of travelling, I personally find that it is not worth the mental stresses to me and, therefore, although still achieving the same destination, I will find an alternative route and carry it out in my own good time. This basically, is the simplest way of explaining the Bowie code and lifestyle. I feel that I can always achieve exactly what I want in life, but it will be in my own way.
Well, there you are! You can call me a born rebel if you want, but I'll go on loving you all in the same way for ever.
|Created: July 1997 © Paul Kinder||Last Updated: 16/7/01|