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My World - Mirabelle Magazine

Ghost written by Cherry Vanilla - credited to David Bowie
(5 May 1973 - 15 October 1973)

"This was a time when I had decided to give my public life over to an extraordinary woman called Cherry Vanilla, an actress and performer whom I had hired to be my PR...when this teeny magazine out of the UK wanted me to write for them, I just passed the job on to Cherry. And of course, she just wrote about her own life, like what shows she was seeing, where she ate and all that. If Cherry loved or hated something or someone it was Ziggy/Bowie who loved/hated it.   Some of the events she wrote about did happen to me but you can assume that most of anything that is taking place in New York is happening to Ms. Vanilla. The cute thing is that every now and then she'd write how I had just come from seeing this great new performer whom everyone should know about...Cherry Vanilla." - Bowie 1998

"I was the tongue of Bowie when it really mattered.  The amazing thing is that it all worked. I established the MainMan newspaper and the sensational "My World by David Bowie" column in London.   I ghost-wrote it for David, telling all his little fans about all the places I had never seen." - Cherry Vanilla

5th May 1973

So folks, it looks like I'm going to be writing to you for a while and telling you some things about my life. I never have been much good at writing letters, but now I'm going to make a big effort. So I'm sending along the first letter, which I wrote after this fantastic party.

Aren't friends wonderful! It seems I've been away from home for so long. Tonight all my lovely friends got together and gave me just the best welcome home party ever. I always have a really great time travelling, and meet all sorts of fascinating people, also I usually manage to take a few of my favourite people along with me, but there are still people I miss, and it's really fantastic to see them all together in the same room having a good time.

It was so wonderful to see all the brightly coloured clothes and make-up... especially after travelling across Siberia for almost two weeks. Things are so colourless and cold in that part of the world and there just aren't any pretty things to buy even when you can afford them. The people are just like people anywhere though, and I think they got a kick out of my red hair and the Kansai clothes I was wearing. I suppose I might have come as quite a surprise to them! I would have loved to know what they were saying about it all.

Tonight at the party I wore a red and yellow satin costume. It's one of my lounging outfits, so you won't get to see it on stage. Kansai has made me so many fantastic costumes for my tours, and so has my childhood friend, Freddy, who is the other person who makes and designs clothes for me. You should have seen his girlfriend, Daniella, tonight at the party. Freddy had dyed her hair deep purple in honour of the occasion!

In Habalofusuku all the girls were running after my platinum blond photographer Leee, calling my name. We didn't know how to tell them he wasn't me, they seemed so determined in their mistaken identity of Leee, too determined to take a good look at him. It was really very funny at the time.

None of us have mastered the Russian language yet, though I'm making great progress in my Japanese. I was so surprised to think that people knew about me in such a remote part of the world. I really hope to do a concert in Russia some day. I'd love to give pleasure to those people who see so little of our Western art. I hope they would like my music.

I'm supposed to be telling you about my party, but I keep getting side-tracked! So now back to the party... Sue Fussey, my hairdresser, baked such a lovely cake with red and blue streaks and 'Welcome Home Aladdin Sane' written across the top. I do love the way people enter into the spirit of the occasion! I wish you could have seen little Zowie playing with the champagne corks and flirting with beautiful Mary Hopkin. I think Zowie enjoyed the party as much as anybody - probably more if anything! We couldn't bear to see him go to bed and miss out on all the fun, so we thought he must stay up and help to celebrate. Mick Ronson from my group and my wife, Angie, did such a fabulous funky dance to an Iggy and The Stooges record. In fact, the more I think about it the more I realise that it's great to be back home. Especially if one is lucky enough to have such incredible friends.

Well, it's been a very long trip and a very long and wonderful night. Zowie's been tucked in for hours and now I must get my beauty rest. I hope you've enjoyed this little glimpse of my friends and my party and I wish there were houses big enough to invite the whole world, but since this is the closest I can come to that, I give it to you...

12th May 1973

You know, learning a language isn't easy, but when you visit a country, with a tradition so beautiful as Japan and you want so much to absorb the flavour of that beautiful land - you just push and discipline yourself and carry your little pink phrase book everywhere with you, then bore everyone you meet with your Japanese greetings and your endless counting from one to ten until little by little you begin to develop the same feeling for the words as you hold for the country in your heart.

At least that's they way it is for me - me and my blossoming romance with Japan. And speaking about blossoming, the cherry blossoms were in full-bloom in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, when I performed there and they are such a beautiful sight to behold - especially against such a great setting as this lovely city.

Angie and I managed to squeeze in a whole afternoon of sightseeing there before boarding the train for Tokyo, and then from the train window we saw the most famous sight of all - the mighty and majestic Mount Fujiyama - standing so proudly high above the delicate Japanese landscape. I felt so good and so lucky to have the chance to travel as I do and to experience all these worldly wonders in such a direct and simple way. As each experience becomes a part of me, it can't help but flow back to you in my songs. Oh, you may not hear me speak specifically of Mt. Fuji or the cherry blossoms of Kyoto, but you will hear some of the influence and the feelings which they left in my heart and my mind forever.

Of course when you do get a chance to travel around this world as I do, the feeling that emerges most, the one that proves itself over and over, the most important feeling of all, is that we are all one.

We may not look quite the same as the people of other lands or speak the same language, but we are members of the same human race with very much the same human needs. And though we live on so many different levels on this one tiny planet, we all have a share in the brotherhood of man.

Angie and I have begun to take little Zowie everywhere with us now, so that he may have the chance to see and develop his own feelings about the world in which we live. He had a fabulous nanny in Japan who dressed him up in the most adorable little Japanese kimonos and he even had a go at chopsticks, though I think it will take him a little more practice before his technique is perfected enough for a formal Japanese dinner! The thing that thrilled him most was seeing his dear old dad on a stage for the very first time in his life. Angie and the nanny brought him to the theatre in Tokyo and they sat right in the first row where I could see them jumping up and down and clapping their hands wildly. It made me feel so proud and since Zowie didn't understand the words, and neither did the Japanese audience. I made all my movements very large and very intense and though I was singing the lyrics, it was just the sound of the words and the music and my elaborate movements to which they related and responded so well.

Japanese theatre is based so heavily on movement and while I was in Tokyo, I had the honour of attending a performance by Tomaso Boru, Japan's most popular Kabuki star. After the show we met and he told me so many fascinating things about the traditions and the development of Japanese theatre, and he showed me how to apply the beautiful Kabuki make-up.

It looks like I am running out of space which is a great pity as there are still so many things I want to tell you about my incredible trip to Japan. I think I'll save them until next week, so until then I will take my leave,

19th May 1973

Last week I was telling you all about Japan, and how I had the honour of attending a performance by Tomasa Boru (in case you've forgotten he is Japan's most popular Kabuki star), after which we met and talked, and he showed me how to put on the Kabuki make-up.

The next evening he came to my concert, and what an evening it turned out to be! This time the audience really went wild, so I took off my favourite white costume, the one that Freddy made for me with the big red lightning streak on the back, and I threw it into the audience and thousands of hands were reaching up to get it. Meanwhile, almost no one noticed that I was standing there on stage dressed only in my pink underwear with a few rhinestone studded scatter pins splashing down the front. Well, when they realised what I was, or should I say wasn't wearing, they all just stormed the stage. I got so scared 'cause there just seemed to be so many of them and then suddenly they began disappearing right before my eyes - and I was safe.

I didn't realise until long after the show that the whole floor right in front of the stage had collapsed and what actually happened is that everyone just sank about three feet, putting them below stage level and therefore out of sight. Miraculously, no one was hurt and I managed to escape.

The next day Angie and Ronno (Mick Ronson) and I visited the Imperial Gardens at the Emperor's Palace and took part in the ancient and exquisite tea ceremony.

We were served some very light and very weak greenish tea and tiny, thin wafers by a most delicate and graceful Japanese lady who knelt, bowed and curtsied and moved with grace and at the pace the whole country must have at one time moved.

The Asian 'flu sure slowed me down for a while in Tokyo. I stayed in bed for two whole days and then got up, fever and all, to do a show. I thought I was going to collapse at the end of it, and couldn't even go back on stage for my encore.

Angie made me promise to rest all the next day while she went out to buy me a beautiful red silk kimono for my long journey back home to England.

The next day she and the baby flew home and I (who don't like flying very much - except in spaceships!) boarded the ship, Felix Nzerjinski, at Yokohama which took me to Nakhodka where I caught the Trans-Siberian Express. Though it was raining very heavily when I left Yokohama, thousands of fans and friends showed up at the pier to bid me farewell.

Now it's late and I too must say farewell but not goodbye just... sayonara (that's the Japanese words for love and kisses!).

26th May 1973

I thought that this week I would begin to tell you about my trip through Russia. Russia is such a fascinating country, that I was very excited at the prospect of being able to see some of it for myself, and, just as I expected, the trip was a wonderful experience. Of course, I had formed impressions of Russia from what I had read, heard and seen in films, but actually going there, seeing it for myself, and meeting the people, made it into an incredible experience which I will never forget. So now I hope I can give you some idea of my impressions.

Travelling with me for the whole of this trip were Geoffrey MacCormack (my conga player), Bob Musel (a UPI reporter) and Lee (my photographer).

Our trip started on a boat, the Felix Nzerjinski, which left from Yokohama in Japan and went to Nakhodka, the seaport town on the far east coast of the USSR. That part of the journey took us two days, and I must say, I really enjoyed it. The boat itself was wonderful, and very 'plush'! I found myself giving a short concert for the other passengers. We hadn't planned anything, but it seemed a good idea, it was nothing very grand, I just accompanied myself on the acoustic guitar. I think they loved it, it certainly seemed that way from their response.

In Nakhodka we boarded the train. It was really fantastic - I wish you could have seen it! It was an old French train from the turn of the century, with the most beautiful wood veneer, decorated oval mirrors, and velvet couches. Really it was like something out of a romantic novel or film.

I'm always at home on any train, but this one was very comfortable! It was really one of the nicest trains I've ever come across, and by now I think I can say that I've travelled on a lot of very different trains. I was looking forward to a long and very pleasant journey through Siberia, but, unfortunately, there was a disappointment in store for us. One day later we found that we had to change trains, in Khabarovsk, just before the long eight-day journey through Siberia, and this new train was nothing like the old one. It was simple and practical, and very clean, but we had set our hearts on the beautiful, romantic French train!

Siberia itself was incredibly impressive. We rode for days and days across relatively untouched wilderness - great forests, sweeping plains, and glimpses of people living a very simple, peasant life, getting a living from the land. I could never have imagined such expanses of unspoilt, natural country without actually seeing it myself, it was like a glimpse into another age, another world, and it made a very strong impression on me. It was strange to be sitting in a train, which is the product of technology - the invention of mankind, and travelling through land so untouched and unspoilt by man and his inventions.

So that is what we saw outside the train, as for inside the train - we had these two fabulous attendants on our particular car, called Danya and Nadya. They served us tea when we woke up, and for that matter they served us tea all day long - the tea is truly delicious, really incredible.

We all grew to be very fond of Danya and Nadya, they were so charming, and always smiling and cheerful. I used to sing songs to them, often late at night, when they had finished work. They couldn't understand a word of English, and so that meant they couldn't understand a word of my songs! But that didn't seem to worry them at all. They sat with big smiles on their faces, sometimes for hours on end, listening to my music, and at the end of each song they would applaud and cheer! They were a wonderful audience - it was a real pleasure to sing to them.

I've got lots more to tell you about Russia, but I'll save that for next week.

2nd June 1973

As I promised this week I'm going to tell you more about my incredible trip through Russia. Last week I had just begun to tell you about Danya and Nadya, our wonderful attendants on the train, and how I used to sing songs to them late into the night and how they used to make the most delicious tea for us. As well as making the tea they used to get out at the various stops along the route to buy yoghurt and rolls for us, and other things that one could buy from the townsfolk along the way. In fact, they really spoiled us. The rolls and yoghurt were almost as delicious as that tea. And, of course, Danya and Nadya knew exactly what to get and what was the best.

I really love travelling by train, I find it very relaxing, and it gives me a chance to see the world and the people that live in it, and how they live. As I do a lot of my song-writing during my train journeys, naturally enough the atmosphere of the country I am passing through, the way of life and what I observe in the people, comes out in my songs. I wrote several songs about Russia, so I hope that one day you will be able to experience my impressions of Russia (and Japan), through my letters. You know, I keep thinking about that trip to Japan. It made such an impression on me. I loved the people and their culture, and I've found that of late my music and work has been greatly influenced by their music and theatre.

I find a train a very good place to work. I usually follow a kind of programme, getting up early, having a good breakfast, and then reading or writing music all day. Of course I also watch out of the window a good deal of the time, and talk to the people around me, and the people I am lucky enough to meet. I go to bed quite early, about 9 or 10, which when you think about it, is very early for a musician! But I believe that the sleep on the train is really just about the only real rest I ever get! Things can get so hectic.

Well, anyway, back to my trip through Russia. On April 30th we finally pulled into Moscow. We stayed that night in the intourist hotel, and the next day we were lucky enough to see the impressive May Day Parade in the streets of the city. May Day is Moscow's (or rather Russia's) biggest holiday - commemoration in honour of the founding of the communist party.

All party members march in the streets carrying red flags and singing patriotic songs - it's really quite a sight. It's very impressive to see such enormous numbers of people marching together like that, with a sense of harmony and purpose.

It looks like I've just about come to the end of my description of my trip through Russia.

After my time in Moscow I took a train through Warsaw, Berlin, Belgium and Paris, where I was joined by my wonderful wife, Angie, and my incredible press lady, Cherry Vanilla. They accompanied me back to England and that was the end of the trip. Of course, it is still all very much alive in my mind and my memory, and I hope it will live on through my music.

7th July 1973

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 Leee 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! Leee 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!

14th July 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.

21st July 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.

28th July 1973

Oh, these deadlines are the nastiest things. Just when I have a chance to sit down and enjoy a nice cup of tea, and a biscuit, the telephone rings with a voice reminding me of my obligation to you, my lovely readers.

It seems this week, what with one thing and another, I've got a bit behind schedule with writing my column, hence the phone call reminding me that such things as deadlines exist in the magazine world. I was just about to write it, anyway, it's just with one thing and another... well, it's been a very busy week.

So here I am, not exactly a retired man, actually, lovelies, I haven't retired at all. It's just that there are so many, many things I would like to do in my life, so many ways I hope to express myself, that I just needed to call it quits with touring and concentrate on some new and wider areas of creativity and entertainment.

I can assure you that you haven't seen the last of the old Bowie, the last concert maybe (I do hope you were there) but never the last show.

Remember, I've got a whole staff of crazy actors, writers, friends and family, who are constantly coming up with new, young, perhaps insane, but certainly fun ideas. My manager has been sorting through all the main possibilities for films, books, records and TV that have been put aside while we were busy running around the world, playing for all of you in person.

There were so many places in the world we just couldn't reach and so many people who have never been close enough to a concert hall to catch my show, that we decided for them and, of course, for all of you, that I should be able to entertain all of you from the movie screen at your local cinema and perhaps right in your homes, on your good old TVs.

Defries (who is my manager) says I have to save some things for surprise for you, so I really can't tell you exactly what character I will play in this next episode of my play of life, but as soon as we're sure of completion of all the little details, we'll be sure to crow about it all - loudly - in your direction.

4th August 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...

11th August 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 sun-tanned 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.

18th August 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...

1st September 1973

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 Leee 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!

8th September 1973

After Italy I had to go back to France again, to that famous old Chateau d'Hérouville, which I've told you so much about, so as to do some work with Ronno on his new album. I'll tell you all about that another time - right now I'd like to tell you about another friend of mine who has an album coming out soon.

Her name is Dana Gillespie, and she is currently playing the role of Mary Magdalene in the West End Show 'Jesus Christ Superstar', also, she just got signed for a big role in the next film being made by the director Ken Russell, which is going to be about the composer Gustav Mahler.

I first met Dana at the Marquee Club in London, where I was singing at that time with my band, The Mannish Boys. I'll never forget seeing her standing there brushing her hair in the mirror. I walked up gently behind her, took the brush from her hand and ran it softly through her beautiful long dark hair. She was only fourteen years old, but she had her own set of drums and lots of great musician friends. We all used to get together in her flat which was on the top floor of her parents' house in South Kensington and we'd just play music for hours. One day we got so carried away making music and dancing that we crashed right through her floor. Luckily no one was hurt, but Dana's parents thought it would be a good idea for her to move to the basement flat, where she still lives!

Well, it's been a long time since I carried Dana's toe shoes home from school and I'm so proud of her all she's done, especially her new album, 'All Gone'. She even sings one of my songs on it, 'Andy Warhol'. Actually I wrote it especially for her a few years ago, but I just couldn't wait to record it myself, so I put it on 'Hunky Dory'. You'll hear a few touches by Ronno and myself on the album, but Dana wrote almost all the songs on it herself, and produced it too!

15th September 1973

Well, I guess while I'm telling you about my friends who sing and dance and play guitar, I should also remember not to forget my MainMen and crew who display their talents in the lights of an office, and who helped me so much to do my thing in the lights of a stage. Without them I would never have been able to 'get the show on the road' as they say. Even though I don't have a show to get on the road right now, there are plenty of other schemes and projects that they are helping me with. They are my friends, and they are the people who relieve me of the burden of keeping all the loose ends together while I surge ahead in a stream of creativity, but most of all they are totally 'bananas' and an endless load of fun!

Most of the people at MainMan, U.S.A., were formerly actors in 'Theatre of the Ridiculous' type plays in New York City. These are usually very low-cost productions performed in a very small theatre with a maximum of outrage and a cast of Max's Kansas City Stars. (Maxi's Kansas City is a very fashionable New York restaurant/club/entertainment spot where a lot of very interesting people seem to meet).

They are the most highly creative and entertaining plays I have seen, though sometimes terrifically boring! Tony Ingrassia's plays are by far the funniest, craziest, most real and even most outrageous of all these kinds of plays, and now I have Tony and almost his whole stable of actors working for me, and they seem to love it!

It all started back in the summer of '71. I was playing at the Country Club just outside London. I had long blond hair then, a big felt hat with a feather and yellow patent leather 'Mary Janes' (shoes!). Mick Ronson was with me and Rick Wakeman was playing the piano. Lee Childers and Cherry Vanilla walked in and the whole place just lit up. Cherry immediately introduced herself to Angie and me and told us all about the column she was writing for a magazine entitled 'Circus',... called 'Cherry Vanilla... with scoops for you'.

Looks like I've run out of room again, so I'll save the rest of the story for next week...

22nd September 1973

Last week I was just beginning to tell you about the lovely Cherry Vanilla. You remember I mentioned she was writing a column for 'Circus' magazine; well, also she was playing Pork in the Andy Warhol play 'Pork' which was in rehearsal in a London theatre called the Roundhouse. So that evening (if you remember I was playing in the Country Club), when I came to singing my song 'Andy Warhol', I asked Cherry to stand up and take a bow, which, of course, she did - in great style! Lee Childers was taking photos.

After the show, we had a drink and chatted some more whilst Cherry enticed us to come and see her show, due to open in a few days. She promised me a 'good mention' in her column, a few complimentary tickets to 'Pork' and a night of dancing in a club after the show one evening. So then they left... they had to get their sleep for an early rehearsal next morning.

Lee was 'Pork's' stage manager and photographer. Next time I saw them it was from my seat at the Roundhouse. There was Cherry up on the stage dressed (or rather not dressed) outrageously. We went backstage to see Lee and Cherry afterwards and then all went dancing. Cherry and Freddie (I hope you remember who Freddie is by now!) just never sat down all evening they were so busy dancing. That was just the beginning of our great and long friendship. Little did we know that one day we would all be working together!

So when Angie and I sailed to America on the QE2 to begin the first American tour, we found that DeFries had hired the whole lot of those theatre people to run MainMan. They were sort of 'between plays' and extremely energetic and enthusiastic and they performed their jobs as if they were roles in another show, and they were still on stage. Of course they had to make up their own dialogue and improvise constantly! Most of their previous rock 'n' roll experience (especially Cherry's) was strictly social! Well, they came through with flying colours and have run all three of my tours since then, as well as the day to day MainMan business... and most of all, they have provided me with great fun and inspiration.

29th September 1973

I'm going to start off this week by telling you how much I'm missing Angie. She's always so good in helping me choose the right shirt for the right occasion, and the proper vegetables to serve little Master Zowie Bowie, who also misses his dear old mum.

Daniella is always around, of course, and Freddie and Ava do take very good care of both Zowie and his dad, but Angie has such a strong presence and is so organised in running the Bowie household that we do all fall apart a bit when she's away.

As I told you last week, Angie has been in America with her agent meeting various directors and producers, auditioning for films and television shows.

During her visit to Los Angeles with Tony Zee and Cherry she made an appearance as a guest on the 'Tonight' show, and from what I've heard she really looked fantastic, and got Johnnie Carson the host, a little shook up with her personality.

Tony DeFries sent me a video cassette tape of the show so that I could view it on my portable video recorder, but it seems that the cycle difference between the American and English systems caused a little problem in the playback - but tomorrow I shall have an adapter and I will be able to see at least an electronic reproduction of my lovely wife.

Since I started working on my new musical, 'Ziggy Stardust', I've been spending most of my evenings at home writing and imagining scenes, sets, lights and characters - but in order to relax once in a while and to catch up on the gossip I've been inviting friends over for a spot of tea and company.

Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood have been frequent visitors of late, and we usually sit around listening to music until the wee small hours, turning each other on to our favourite sounds.I'm about to embark on a new project with favourite group The Astronettes. You'll be hearing more about them in the coming weeks.

Oh well, we sure are missing Angie but, of course, she now has a career of her own to follow and we expect her back with us really soon.

6th October 1973

Hello again!

Everything surrounding me has been in its usual state of turmoil and again it seems that I haven't had a lot of time to really get out and about socially as it were. Angie has once again gone back to the States, to finalise some projects that she has become very involved with. I hope to be able to tell you about these very soon now - but she has made me promise not to give away anything yet until she is quite ready.

Before Angie went back to the States we did manage to get out to have a look at an exhibition of rock paintings by a very original Belgian artist called Guy Peellaert. These paintings are all studies of important rock/pop artistes who have made contributions to pop music over the last decade. They have already been published in a book called 'Rock Dreams' and are highly individual and colourful portrayals of the artistes. If you have not already seen this book then it is very difficult for me to explain to you just how beautiful and effective a lot of these drawings are. They certainly fired my imagination and include portraits of such stars as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Marc Bolan, Elvis Presley, The Jackson Five, The Who, Rod Stewart - and yours truly, David Bowie!

Angie and I had both seen the book and when we learned that the drawings were to be displayed at Biba's in London, we decided that we just had to get along and look at them. Biba's itself seemed to me an excellent place to show off the pictures as it also has an up-to-the-minute appearance combined with a lovely, nostalgic feel of the '30s. The building is enormous, and quite palatial, in fact it is really grand and the paintings had attracted an enormous crowd.

Guy Peellaert was there himself to show people around.

A lot of drawings were up for sale so, of course, Angie and I couldn't resist picking out some of our favourites and buying them.

We got quite excited planning where we were going to hang our purchases when we got them home.

Time seems to have run out for me again, so it's goodbye until next week.

13th October 1973

Let me start off this week by explaining that I was going to write and tell you something about my favourite hobbies and interests, but that time seems to have flown by without really giving me a chance to get down to it. Things have been pretty hectic recently, as we had all the last minute details to finalise for my American TV show, and in the middle of all that, Angie suddenly found herself leaving for America to take part in some television shows herself.

Anyway, I'll mention a few of the things that I really enjoy doing whenever I find some spare time and perhaps I'll be able to tell you about them in more detail another week.

I've always had a great love for anything to do with films. I now have my own 16mm movie camera, and you can imagine what it's been like for me to make my own films at home - catching Angie and Zowie when they are least expecting it and even taking a quick surprise shot of friends as they arrive at the house.

Recently I've also had the chance to start buying up old movies for myself - just imagine getting hold of some of those fabulous films you had enjoyed when you were a kid and being able to play them over at home whenever you felt like it. My current favourite is 'Jason And The Argonauts' and if any of you missed seeing that, try and catch up on it if it ever comes back to your local cinema.

I love anything electronic. Things like that have always fascinated me and I'm trying to persuade my manager to buy me a computer! Which would probably keep me occupied for hours.

I was also going to tell you a bit about my own musical tastes, but that really is something I'm going to have to try and come back to. Really it's a very varied selection, although I've always had a great love for any spiritual music and authentic gospel or Negro slave songs, especially for the depth and feeling those singers always managed to bring out in their singing.

So I'll try to get round to telling you more about this another time.

20th October 1973

This week I'm going to carry on and try to tell you a little more about my own interests. I've already told you that I enjoy anything to do with films and filming, so I think I'll change the subject and tell you something about my interest in cars. I really do love cars, especially if they are old and classic ones. They have so much beauty, especially when you notice how well they have been designed, shaped and finished. At one time I began trying to get hold of some to build up a collection of my own, but at the moment I just own one - an old American Chrysler.

As for my leisure time, I'm always being asked if I enjoy going to the theatre or shows. Naturally I go if there is something on that I particularly want to see but my main problem, as usual, is time. It is often the case that I have been recording or something all day, late into the night - or Angie has been modelling and is really tired - so we don't find that we get to go to theatres and concerts as often as we would like.

I particularly love any sort of ethnic theatre. I don't think I have the space here to try to explain to you what 'ethnic' means if you don't already know, so perhaps you would like to make it a project to look the word up for yourself.

For quite a long time I've had a great love of mime, in fact at one time I used to have my own mime troupe called Feathers and, as you probably know, I often used to incorporate little pieces of mime into my stage act.

And now I think I'll mention a couple of artistes for whom I have a high regard. Mick Jagger has long been a favourite of mine. He's such a great performer - the energy and skill that goes into a Jagger performance with the Rolling Stones is tremendous!

I expect most of you would be too young to remember anything about Edith Piaf. She was a great French entertainer who could really bring a song to life in an amazing way. Sadly she died a few years ago. There are still quite a large amount of Piaf recordings available, so I hope you will have a listen to her if ever you get the chance. That's all for now.

---This page last modified: 29/06/02---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)