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All Heads Turn For Bowie

By John Blake - Music Scene (August 1973)
Pictures: Mick Rock

Today for a transient moment, David Bowie is king of Britain's rock n roll castle. The glittering, dazzling, most outrageous star of them all has crowned his fairy-tale rise to fame with a number one album, a sell-out concert tour and a new single, "Life On Mars", released last month. Now he's the hottest, most loved, hated and despised star of all.

All heads turned when he minced into the bar of one of the smartest hotels in London to meet me. In his high heels he is very tall, thin as a blade of grass and his tinseled, sequined, dazzling outfit is topped by a bony, angular face and a mop of tangerine, obviously dyed hair. The fact that he is a bisexual as well as a husband and a father, is now common knowledge. Did he feel that telling the world about his unorthodox sexual habits had hampered or, in some strange way, helped his thrust to fame?

"I think it has done both.  Some places in America wouldn't book me because of it.  But, conversely, others asked me to play because of the outrageousness of it." "It has worked both ways - that's a very apt thing to say really isn't it?" "I don't regret it at all.  It wasn't supposed to be an admission in the first place.  I don't think there is anything to admit.  I mean newspapers turned it into an admission and really I was just talking about it". "I think it makes me look a berk sometimes, but it has been of very little worry at all."

His wife Angela is American, university educated and currently writing a book so complicated that he doesn't quite understand what subject it is about. His own education ceased when he marched out of Bromley Technical School at the age of 16 with O-levels in woodwork and art. How does his wife feel about his bisexuality and the fact that the whole world knows about it?

"Angie doesn't mind my talking about it.  Our environment has always been one in which we could move.  We never found we had any trouble or bother.   And the people we knew, the clubs we went to, everything around us was very much the way we were. It just put us on a much larger area when I was asked about it all.   it didn't affect our environment because our environment was already there"

David and his wife both lead fairly independent lives.  Does he see as much of her as he would like?

"We have done very well over the past six months.  We have seen a lot of each other but before then it was getting so I was always away and she was never seeing me.  Now she comes on one in every two tours.  She doesn't like touring but it is the only chance she gets to see me so she comes along.  Or else she will just drop in on gigs.  But I don't depend on her at all.  We have both always been very independent.

Photographed on-stage during his tour, the amazing Mr Bowie wears a
selection from his wardrobe.  It's Mick Ronson's guitar he's eating.

Before his British tour he spent a couple of months travelling across Russia and Europe by train with two male friends after a concert tour of the USA and Japan.

"We traveled most of the way by trans-Siberia Express.  It was a utilitarian train to say the least - it just got you from A to B with the least discomfort that could be arranged.  Russia was very drab and there didn't seem to be hardly any pretty girls at all."

When he arrived by train at Charing Cross he was mobbed by hundreds of Osmond-Cassidy-type screaming fans.

"Suddenly I was plunged into something I hadn't seen for many weeks.  It was like a culture shock.  I had been through all this depression and grey myself and suddenly I got off this train and all this was happening.  I didn't know things had built up to the way they had while I had been away.  Things had changed so enormously it was bewildering."

Of all of the dozens of countries he has visited this year Japan impressed him the most.  And that is why he has been wearing costumes of Kabuki, the traditional Japanese theatre on his British tour.  He is learning to speak Japanese and he says he would like to live in Japan one day.  "There was nothing about that country that I disliked in any way at all." he says.

But, though the Japanese love him, some people in Britain have said his camp, stripping act is almost indecent.  How did he feel about that sort of criticism?

"My act has never been obscene in any way, shape or form." "I'm not worried that I might upset young children.  I may offend their mothers - or more probably their fathers - but certainly not the kids."

Child psychology is a problem that I expect is going to occupy him a fair bit when his two year old son Zowie grows curious enough to ask: "Daddy, what does bisexual mean?"

"I love him, he's a great kid," he says. "But I wouldn't tell him how to live or what he should become." "All I aim to do is to make sure he can speak three of four languages because that will give him a good start in anything he wants to do."

Despite his lack of language David is doing alright for himself.   Apart from the records and the concerts he has been approached to star in a film by star director John Schlesinger.

"I am looking forward to it as a new challenge. It should be the most exciting thing I have ever done," he says.

 

---This page last modified: 30 Jun 2002---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)