A WEEKLY DIARY EXCLUSIVELY WRITTEN FOR MIRABELLE MAGAZINE
1st September 1973
I've just been recording a new album in beautiful summertime France. The studio is built in a lovely old chateau that once belonged to the composer, Chopin. It really is incredibly beautiful and wonderful here, surrounded by the French countryside, and working in such a romantic place.
I think I'm really very lucky to get to see and work in so many different kinds of environment and atmosphere. When I think about how different all the places are that I have been to in the last year, how different the people have been, the countryside and buildings, from one place to the next, it really amazes me.
This month I get to have my very first holiday in a whole year. Angie and I have rented a beautiful villa in Rome and we've invited all our favourite friends like Freddy (you remember, he designs some of my clothes) and Daniella (she looks after Zowie), Suzy (who does my hair) and George, and Birgit to join us for the month.
It will be like one big fabulous party every day, and I may even progress from my snow white skin, somewhere in the direction of a suntan.
As for September, it's back to work, we'll be working on Ronno's (Mick Ronson) first album. During the rest of the year we should be involved in a whole lot of work in films and TV.
So, you see, you haven't just lost a pop star, you've just gained an all round newly energised love, Aladdin Sane. You certainly won't be losing sight or sound of Mr. Bowie, with all the plans that he has for now and the future!
Well, I reckon it's getting pretty late, and I think I'll have a quick look around to see if anybody's making a cup of tea. I still have lots of things to say, as usual, but I'll save them for next week. I might even sit in the shade of an old Italian tree and write to you - long before the old dreaded deadline time - unlike last week. But I wouldn't want to miss out on any of that incredible Italian pasta. But, as long as I am alive, I will continue to entertain you, in - oh, so many ways...
8th September 1973
I've just remembered that I never told you about the party I had at the Café Royal after my last concert, so I'll make this week's letter about that...
Oh, what a night it turned out to be! Mick Jagger, Lou Reed, Jeff Beck, Lulu, Spike Milligan, Dana Gillespie, Ryan O'Neal, Elliott Gould, Ringo Starr and Barbra Streisand... all there at my last concert party at the luxurious Café Royal - everyone looking so lovely in their sparkling evening clothes and colourful make-up... dancing, sipping champagne and tasting delicious salmon and big fresh strawberries and cream. The disc jockey played lots of really good soul and rock 'n' roll records, and the dance floor was absolutely packed all night. Cherry Vanilla (my American publicist, a wonderful lady) fell off her gold platforms and split her strapless Chinese dress right up the front, but got up and just kept on dancing and grooving, black suspenders peaking out from newly-opened slit, and that ever wide smile on her face!
I got a little off balance myself when Mick and Bianca and Angie and I were all dancing together to 'Honky Tonk Woman' - but managed to stay on my high heels for a few more songs. Most of the evening I spent answering everyone's questions about my decision to stop touring and concentrate on movies and recording.
Angie and I arrived a little late because we had gone back to our hotel to change into our party clothes, and then got very involved in conversation with Mick and The Spiders and Gloria (my secretary) - you can't imagine how many telephone calls we received, even though we thought nobody knew where we were.
When we made our entrance, Angie in a brand new chartreuse and brown knit ensemble by Freddy, me in my ice-blue iridescent Freddy suit, they announced us over the speaker system, and everyone stood up and applauded.
Oh dear, I'm running out of space again. Looks like I'll have to save the rest for next week.
15th September 1973
If you remember, last week I was telling you about that incredible, wild party at the Café Royal, or at least I hadn't got very far in telling you, so perhaps you didn't realise how fantastic it was!
Well, I told you that when Angie and I made our entrance, everybody stood up and applauded! Although I'm certainly used to applause in a theatre and God knows I love the sound of it! - but in this instance I felt a little blushy and embarrassed - like the groom at a wedding reception. Angie held my hand tightly though, and gave me confidence (she always does) and together we walked to our places on the dais.
They had a big velvet-covered king's chair for me, but after eating a little salad and some sliced turkey, I went down to the far end of the table to talk to Lulu and Jeff Beck. Jeff had jammed with us at the concert and in the rush to leave the theatre, I hadn't had the chance to tell him how fantastic he had been. Mick Ronson is such a Jeff Beck fan, and he was thrilled to have had the chance to play with him on stage.
Lulu and I had a long conversation about her haircut, and about the possibility of our working together on a single, perhaps my producing her singing one of my songs!
We were soon joined by Lou Reed, one of the greatest rock 'n' roll songwriters and singers of our time. He was very excited about how well things were going on his new album, and invited us all to drop by the studio for his next recording session a few nights later.
Well, the hours rolled by, Cherry was still dancing, but Angie and I retired to our hotel suite where we ordered some tea and watched the sun rise over Hyde Park.
And before drifting off into a deep and peaceful sleep I said a silent prayer of thanks for you, my wonderful and devoted fans whose loyalty and adoration over this past year have given me true cause for celebration.
22nd September 1973
Well, friends, I don't feel I've done justice to that fantastic chateau we stayed at in France. I think I would like to tell you some more - quite a bit more - about it.
The Chateau D'Herouville was the name, and what a lovely place to record an album. Warm, summer sunshine, a lovely chateau and a fantastic 16 track recording studio. Enough to please any hard-working, city-weary, young musician. The chateau is in the village of Herouville just outside Paris. We spent three wonderful weeks there, recording my new album 'Pin-Ups'. It's all those fun and fabulous songs from the mid-sixties that never really got quite the attention their lovely easy beats deserved. Ronno, Trevor and Mike Garson were there with us, and Aynsley Dunbar came along to play drums.
There seemed to be an endless stream of visitors, like Jean Millington (Fanny), Nico, that really wonderful singer, with a friend of hers, Kid Jensen (of Radio Luxembourg fame) and a lovely French singer called Christine.
Angie and Zowie came down every weekend, and one day we were photographed together by Terry O'Neil for the Daily Mirror. Angie wore some lovely things from the Paris collections, and I wore my favourite Freddy suit. Oh, and Justin De Villeneuve photographed me with his favourite model 'Twig The Wonder Kid' (Twiggy) for a Vogue magazine cover.
Dinners were really momentous occasions, with everyone seated at a super-long table with candles and dry wine, delicious food and all those beautiful faces with their suntanned cheeks and twinkling eyes.
The food was very French... though they did seem to serve an awful lot of potatoes! The vegetables and fruits were very fresh and lush, though - and with that famous Paris bread, everything tastes great.
It's a good thing we had a nice big swimming pool outside to let everybody burn up some calories each day - everyone but me, of course. I only ventured in once when the heat of the day got to be a bit too much. But Ronno and Jamie (my road manager) had a few good workouts every day.
29th September 1973
Last week I had just finished telling you about the swimming pool in our chateau in France. I was just telling you how much Ronno and Jamie enjoyed swimming in it.
Well, that reminds me of the time that we were playing at Miami Beach in the States. Ronno was really enraptured by that place - he used to swim in the hotel pool and the Ocean every day.
California was like that, too, and I think that if old Ronno ever settles down and abandons this crazy life, it'll be in a pink stucco house with a piano and a pool and a continuous stream of beautiful young ladies to apply his suntan oil!
Anyway, back in France... we all had some sun and some fun and we came away with a fantastic new album to help you dance away your 'back to school' blues. We've still got a little mixing (on the album) to do, but sometime during October, you should be able to give a spin to some of my very favourite (yours, too, I hope) songs of the '60s.
Did you know (I think I may have told you before) that this chateau - the very same one where people like Elton John and Uriah Heep now record - once belonged to the famous classical composer Chopin, and was occupied for a while by the famous woman writer with a man's name, George Sands?
Actually we recorded 'Pin Ups' in one of the two studios which the chateau now houses, The George Sands Studio, which is where the stables used to be. The other studio, called The Chopin Studio, is located in the main house and the two buildings are connected by an arcade. The chateau is made of natural stone and stucco and is surrounded by high stone walls and huge iron gates.
There's a beautiful little French church just next door which looks as if it's been there even longer than the chateau.
There are lots of ducks, chickens and rabbits running around, and the moat surrounding the old abandoned tower out back is chock full of goldfish.
When we ventured outside the chateau, it was usually in our big green Cadillac Fleetwood Limousine. It really must be the longest car in France, and it was usually to a discotheque in Paris called the Malibu Club.
There we would drink and dance and party 'til 4 or 5 a.m., and one night I was just so in love with Paris that I sent the car home without me and checked into the beautiful Hotel George V where I had stayed during my visit to Paris last May.
Most nights, however, were spent in the studio where we'd drink French wine and record until dawn.
Lulu and her manager, Marion Massey, spent a few days with us, and wait 'til you hear her new recording of 'The Man Who Sold The World'. We all played on it, and I produced it with Ronno's arrangement, and Andy Scott, the house engineer, helped out.
Lulu is a fantastic singer and I hope you get as much pleasure from listening as I got recording, 'The Man Who Sold The World'. Marion was ever so nice, and she kept everyone interested and amused with her fortune telling cards.
I must say, everything she predicted for me was pretty right on, and she sure was fun to have around.
The first annual Chateau d'Hérouville Indoor Table Tennis Championships were really fun, too, and I think the title must go to Ken Fordham who spent a few nights recording the sax and flute tracks on 'Pin Ups', and every other waking hour, I think, over the table tennis net!
Well, it was really fun and I hope you just love the album 'cause I made it for you, my lovely fans.
|Created: April 1998 © Paul Kinder||Last Updated: 2/1/99|