Byline: Christopher Silvester
When she arrives at All Star Lanes for the photo shoot and the team greet her as Lady Sinclair, she insists that they call her Angie. She's always been Angie - it says so on her birth certificate - never Angela. Angie Bowness: model. She's not used to being Lady Sinclair, which is her title since her marriage last April to Sir Clive Sinclair, the wealthy inventor and entrepreneur who was knighted in 1983. Although she adds, 'I am actually used to being called "Lady". My nickname since I was 17 has been "Lady Bowness", because I'm polite, say please and thank you, a little bit ladylike, I hope, and lots of people have called me "Lady Bowness". I think it's weird that I've ended up Lady Sinclair. It takes getting used to.'
And then there's the age difference. Sir Clive is an energetic and youthful 70-year-old, while Angie is 36 years his junior. This sets the curtain-twitching moralists smirking and tittering, especially since the couple met at Stringfellows, where Angie once worked, albeit briefly, she is swift to emphasise, as a lap dancer. We'll come back to this.
Angie tells me that she is extremely happy with her elderly swain - 'probably the happiest I've ever been' - and doesn't think she 'could have found anyone else who would have made a better husband'. Sir Clive made a fortune from inventing the pocket calculator, then another from producing one of the first low-cost personal computers, although his reputation is permanently marked, for anyone who lived in the 1980s, by the Sinclair C5, an electric three-wheeler that, despite respectable sales, was mercilessly mocked by the media. Nonetheless, Angie has not found his energy wanting - Sir Clive has publicly shared the fact that he has no need for Viagra - while Angie has professed herself disappointed by younger men who have flitted across her dating radar, such as Robbie Williams, Vernon Kay and Prince Albert of Monaco.
She's been modelling since she was seven, when her mother entered her in a fancy-dress competition in Nottingham. Asked what she wanted to go as, Angie chose Miss World, which she had seen on television. 'My mum got me a feather boa and a sash and I was in a swimming costume. I wun it. [She retains the peculiar vowel sound of her native accent.]' A local model agency signed her up for a year, and she became the face of the high street children's clothing shop Tammy Girl (later changed to Tammy). She did fashion shows until she was about 11, when the work tailed off because 'I wasn't a child any more and didn't look like an adult,' she says. 'It all kicked off again when I entered a local beauty pageant at 17. I was at college doing A levels in French, German and sociology, and I was unhappy in the sixth form. It was just the get-out I needed.' Her mother came home with the local paper, which had an article about the competition for Miss Nottingham. 'As if... at that point I wasn't really into make-up, I had curly hair, I wasn't glamorous. Then I had an argument with my boyfriend. I ran up the stairs in tears, looked down, and this newspaper article was staring me in the face. I thought, "What have I got to lose?" I got some snapshots sent off and forgot all about it until two months later when I got a phone call.
'I was Miss England and I was Miss Sheffield as well. I was there at the final having my picture taken with Barbara Windsor and this model agent from London said: "Are you modelling? When you move down to London, give me a call." I'd only been in London once before for a photo shoot for a calendar, with Jimmy White, the snooker player. I remember being driven round in a Rolls-Royce, and I was such an innocent. I was driven round Trafalgar Square and I remember seeing Nelson's Column for the first time. I thought, "I'd just love to live here."' On that same visit, she had met and dated the fledgeling snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan, although the friendship never blossomed because she disapproved of his lifestyle (too much vodka and marijuana). …