• music

    David Bowie

    Great loss of a real gentleman today and a great artist who, like me in the kitchen, never liked doing the same thing and re-invented himself permanently.

    In the mid 70’s I was working in an art house cinema in Wardour Street, one day we were showing Jean-Luc Godard’s “One Plus One Sympathy for the Devil” when this angel came into the cinema. Her name was Jeanette, she said she was a dancer and she lived in a squat in Regent’s Park.

    I saw David Bowie for the first time that year, it was the time he was really playing up the bisexual thing, hanging on Mick Ronson’s arms most of the time.

    One night I’m at the Speakeasy with Ted Baker, Phil Lynott, Katy Vaughan and others and I see Jeanette on the dance floor erotically dancing with another girl. I catch up to her at the bar and ask if she remembers me, she says “Oh you just saw me in the papers, I’m going out with David Bowie”, I say “No, the Godard movie in Wardour Street last year…”. She was stunned and became suddenly humble. We talked a long while, then she was gone.
    I think Leo Sayer wrote a song about her. (Read more about the encounter with Jeanette by clicking here)

    I met David Bowie at the EuroRock Festival in Belfort France in the 1990’s. We had a cup of green tea together and he complained about awful English tea with milk in it, “must be even worse with French milk”, and he was wearing a dressing gown. It was pouring with rain and the stage was slowing sinking into the mud and sliding backwards towards a lake. Bowie went on stage nevertheless and gave a great performance, some songs were included in the TV show I did, it was shown all over the world.

    Back then I would pay in the cinema takings to Barclays Bank Regent’s Street every morning where there was also an angel behind the cashier’s desk, Fuzanna Wakhani, I wonder what became of her, and Jeanette of course. Then I met another angel in the cinema….but that’s another ongoing story.

  • music

    Unshaven (album project)

    These are mostly very old songs re-recorded recently under conditions of live performance. Two bonus tracks are included, the No-Go day opus in it’s full version and a gem from the Incredibles. Credits go to Neil Pointon for half the lyrics on Just My Kind, the middle bit of European Cowboy and inspiration for Von Kant. Neil actually rehearsed several of these reworked songs with me before disappearing off again on his bike, just when we were nearly ready to record. I hope he’ll come back down off his Yorkshire Dale one of these days.

    The collection is called Unshaven, because I started growing a beard, and the performance was really without any frills or overdubs. You will be pleased to know that the beard project was short lived.

  • music

    Mythical 80’s rock band re-unite in secret Périgord hideaway

    Who would have thought that Domme, this sleepy Perigord village in deepest Dordogne, would be the venue for the long awaited reunion of the surviving members of the mythical rock band Sauerkraut.
    An on-the-spot report from our French reporter:

    Despite being a little overweight and appearing slightly worn out after the years of drug abuse, alcoholism, mental institutes and rehab clinics, Sauerkraut are still going strong in a sleepy village in South West France.
    Leading duo, Captain Marco and Thug (also known as Colonel Obnoxious, real name Reginald Bunty – photo right) play regularly here with their erstwhile drummer and backing soprano Frida Bunty.

    The band still perform their eclectic mixture of Bob Dylan songs (they still can’t remember all the lyrics), Jethro Tull (they still can’t remember all the chords), Leonard Cohen (they can remember neither the chords nor the lyrics) and the occasional original hit tune from their 80’s repertoire, including “When I was Drunk the other Day..” and “Song for Petra von Kant”.
    “Of course it’s not the same without Klaus and Martin” says Thug, referring to bass player Klaus Himmelmann (lost without trace) and band mentor and keyboard wizard Martin Zero who died from a beer overdose while watching football on TV in the early 90’s. Thug, now in his late 60’s, is just recovering from his 19th session in rehab and his 22nd year without beer and is rumoured to be soon opening a B&B somewhere in France.

    Captain Nikos agrees “Martin Zero was an inspiration to all of us, we miss him dearly”. Nikos, still looking very handsome for his 40 something age, now runs a cookery internet business in France and the West Indies.

    Frida is seperated but not divorced from Thug and has given up the drums but she can still take photos (see left), she even listens to Bob Dylan on her iPod and occasionally sings at the opera.
    The band are thinking about a full reunion but have yet to find a suitable venue and their bass player.

  • music

    Jeanette was a Dancer

    It was in the mid seventies when I worked in the cinema. An angel walked in one day to see Godard’s One Plus – One Sympathy for the Devil. She was wearing an Afghan coat and no make-up. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.

    After the film we went for a drink and we walked back to her place, she was living in a (very) luxury squat in Regent’s Park. We talked all night. She showed me photos and sketches and read me poems that seemed to mean a lot at the time.

    Soon after I saw her photo in the papers, she was David Bowie’s new girlfriend or something like that.

    We met again maybe two years later. I was at the Speakeasy with Phil Lynott and other friends. She was at the bar looking very extravagant and sometimes on the dancefloor dancing very close to another girl whose overmake-up seemed quite repellent. OK, I suppose punk was in full swing at the time but already I had started to see people from the outside in.

    At a quiet moment I went up to her at the bar and said “do you remember me?”, she said “No, you must have just seen me in the papers”. “But no” I replied and I spoke of the movie and the poems.

    Her angel light from the past came back, “you have a good memory” she said. We talked for a short while, she was embarassed about her past but happy to share, with someone who could do her no harm, the knowledge that she was lost.

    Then she was gone.

    I never saw her again but Leo Sayer wrote a song about her called THE DANCER (lyrics can be found here), at least I think it’s about her – I sent an e-mail to Leo but he never replied. I also asked Bowie about her when I was filming him in 1998, “my God that’s a long time ago” with a glint in the other eye.

    Sometimes the magick moments are too short but so long as you can say what you feel at the time, the memories remain strong as if yesterday.

    Her name was Jeannette, I often think of her and wonder where she is today. Dancing in the Isles with that Denis Weldone in some future life, methinks.