ADDICTED TO EXCESS; from Reverence for the Nazis to an Insatiable Appetite for Drugs and Sex - with Women AND Men - a New Biography of David Bowie Portrays a Man Even More Outrageous Than His Reputation

Daily Mail (London), March 23, 2011 | Go to article overview

ADDICTED TO EXCESS; from Reverence for the Nazis to an Insatiable Appetite for Drugs and Sex - with Women AND Men - a New Biography of David Bowie Portrays a Man Even More Outrageous Than His Reputation


Byline: by Glenys Roberts

PAN-SEXUALITY is the latest buzzword in California, where all trends are said to originate. It means anything goes. Skinny chicks as lithe as young boys hang out with men dressed up like panto dames.

Goodness knows what they get up to behind closed doors -- but people are titillated by it, and that's the whole point.

Yet there was one person who invented this provocative sexual ambiguity long before the rest of the world caught up -- and David Bowie became a superstar because of it.

Sexual adventures are at the heart of a fascinating new biography of the genderbending Bowie, which lays bare his prodigious appetite for coupling of all sorts, as well as the gargantuan quantities of drugs he consumed during the Seventies.

Today, of course, at 64 he lives quietly in politically correct mixed matrimony with the Somalian supermodel Iman in New York. But it was not always like this.

Other musicians -- including his friends Marc Bolan, Bryan Ferry and even Mick Jagger -- all toyed with a provocative bisexual image. But Bowie -- born plain David Jones in London, England -- ruthlessly made his reputation with his ethereal, androgenous looks.

So who was the real Starman, as Paul Trynka, author of the new book, dubs him?

Was he gay, straight, innovative genius or just a student of rock who recognised a good tune and a good act when he saw others performing, and plundered their ideas to make his fortune?

Either way, his is a story of ferocious ambition. The angelic look, the faraway gaze -- the result of an early playground injury that left one pupil permanently dilated -- always belied the way he would use anything in his armoury of charm to seduce any man or woman.

As Trynka reveals, it was a case of 'I will do anything, play anything, say anything, wear anything to become a star'. Friends from the rock star's youth tell a disturbing story of how he pulled his van over one night to pick up an unwashed female vagrant from the roadside, and would gladly have had his way with her if the other members of his first band, the Mannish Boys, had not made her get out.

No woman was safe, and many did not want to be, when rumours started to spread among groupies about the size of Bowie's manhood. Yet for a long time, if anyone asked him about his sexuality he always said he preferred boys.

At least one young man -- talented dancer Lindsay Kemp -- fell deeply in love with him. Kemp cast Bowie in one of his exotic shows, but was driven mad with jealousy one night by the sounds of David making love to the show's female stage designer in the next bedroom.

Kemp was distraught as Bowie proceeded to move in with another woman from the show.

The new book also reveals that many people, including Bowie's first wife, Angie, have speculated that Bowie was always in control of his urges, while others felt they were simply picked up like toys and discarded just as quickly.

Bowie met Angie in 1969 just before he had his first commercial success with Space Oddity. At the time, they were both going out with the same man, record producer Calvin Lee. Within a few months, they had moved into a grand gothic flat in London. From the start they entertained lovers of both sexes.

As one American visitor recalled: 'There was so much sex going on ... I used to wake up under a pile of bodies. I thought, having been on the road in America, I knew what the rock 'n' roll life was. I didn't have a clue until I went to England.'

David's relationship with Americanborn Angie was never exclusive, but she did make a unique contribution to his career by masterminding the image that guaranteed his success. He left behind the Mod look he tried in the Sixties, and she dolled him up in glitter and frills, dubbed him Rainbowman and glam rock was born.

WITHIN a year, the two had married, but it was always a union of convenience -- according to many friends who were shocked to see Bowie dancing with a man on their wedding night. …

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ADDICTED TO EXCESS; from Reverence for the Nazis to an Insatiable Appetite for Drugs and Sex - with Women AND Men - a New Biography of David Bowie Portrays a Man Even More Outrageous Than His Reputation
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