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ASHES TO ASHES VIDEO
|It was about a month laster, in luly, when we had a visit from my childhood idol, David Bowie. There had already been rumours that his 'Boys Keep Swinging' video, in which he donned lip gloss and dress up as various women, had been inspired by some of the sartorial antics at Billy's, and Bowie was always keen to throw himself into the latest, coolest trends, so it should not really have been a surprise when he appeared unannounced. But despite my outward show of calm, inside I had butterflies, wondering what he wanted and what he would think of Blitz. We had no prior warning, and he arrived with two other people and his PA Coco, whom I didn't was very nice. We magaged to sneak them into the club the back way to avoid a fuss and usher him upstairs to a private area. David himself was charmimg and asked if I would join him upstairs for a drink when I had finished on the door. I wanted to go straight away, but, annoyingly, I had to do my job first and stay at the door.
Word soon spread like wildfire that David Bowie was there. He was probably the reason most people at the club had got into pop music in the first place. Travel back to the childhood bedroom of most Blitz habitués and you'd a Bowie poster on the wall. He had chanched his look and his sound so many times, there were more than enough images to go round. The alien from Low and The Man Who Fell To Earth, Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs, Ziggy Stardust. He was on the person that everyone there would cite as an influence, even more important than punk. Everyone wanted to go upstairs and see him. We had to have extra security to keep people back. He said it was a great scene and asked me if I would like to appear in the video for his next single, Ashes To Ashes. He also asked me if I could suggest a make-up artist for him, and I recommended Richard Sharah, the man who did my make-up . Imagine, when I was a 13-year-old boy, ths man had been my ultimate hero. I just couldn't believe it. he then said to me, " Look, I'd like it felt to you to pick the clothes you are going to wear, and to choose three other extras for the videp. But there is only one snag. We hvae to meet tomorow morning at 6am outside the Hilton to leave for the location shoot." Blitz didn't finish until 2.30 and I didn't usually get home until 3.30am. This was the most important moment of my life. I rushed around and found Judith Franklin, Darla jane Gilroy and another girl for the video.
As soon as the club closed I rushed home and sorted out my outfit. We had quickly agreed that we should all dress as gothic, ecclesiastical priests, in black an white topped off with heads and crucifixes. The Vatican always was a great source of insipiration. I had a long gown on and a kind of metted beekeeper' hat designed by Stephen Jones and was all ready to be jetted off to a glamorous location. Barbados ? Sapain ? Paris ? The coach arrived and we were told where we were going. Southend.
As if turned out, a kiss-me-quick hat was not required. It may have sounded tacky and not at all what I expected from David Bowie, but I have really fond memories of the video-shoot, my first of many. It was dne on a quiet beach which had been closde off to the public. It seemed like a very long day for a three-minute film. The basic plot for the day involved David Bowie in a pierrot outfit, much like the one I had been wearing at Blitz, walking along the beach followed by me and the girls and then a bulldozer. Don't ask me what it was meant to mean, though I'm sure David and the director David Mallett were striving for something in particular.....
The dificult was getting us all to move along at the correct speed. If I was too fast, Icaught David up; if I was too slow, the bulldozer kept catching the robe I was wearing. There's a fammous moment in it where it looks as if Iam bednding forward to bow. What I was actually doing was moving the em of my robe to avoid getting pulled over by the bulldozer, but they decided to keep it in. It was a real learning experience about the lengh of time as video takes, but throughout the day I could no stop thinking that I was actually working with the man I had wrshipped as a teenager. I had queued outside a record shop in Pontypool to buy his new album when I was 13, and now he wanted to work with me. When I was handing out flyers for Billy's I'd never thought something like that would happen, but the clubs where beginning to pay off.
I was delighted when I was handed my wages of 50 pounds by a grateful member of the production team. It had been hard, nerve-wracking, demanding work, but worth every second. And I was determined that this would not be my last time in front of the cameras. I didn't tell them, but I would have paid them to have appeared in a video with David Bowie.
|STEVE STRANGE MENU
SPECIAL THANKS TO RICHARD SHARAH