David Bowie’s back in style

by David Wigg / Daily Express

31st May 1983

DAVID BOWIE makes his first stage appearance in Britain for five years at Wembley, this week, and during the next two months he will play to 200,000 people in this country.

As Bowie takes to the 8,000 seater Wembley Arena stage on Thursday, the same night his third film, “The Hunger”, a chillingly erotic vampire movie in which he stars with Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon, will open in London.

In the film, Bowie plays John Blaylock, an 18th century aristocrat who falls in love with Miriam, (Catherine Deneuve) a woman with the gift of eternal life.

Bowie hopes the part will be another step on the road to recognition as a major film actor, currently his burning ambition.

In the Seventies, this 36-year-old singer never ceased to shock and amuse with his flamboyant behaviour; for at each stage of his career he has looked and sounded different.

At one time he dyed his hair redder than a blood orange, shaved off his eyebrows, wore make-up and from one ear wore a sparkling chandelier earring.

His musical disguises from Ziggy Stardust to Aladdin Sane and the Thin White Duke, have long been buried, and when Bowie returns to Britain his fans will see more of the man than they have ever seen before.

He had changed his habits and given up the drugs that almost killed him in the mid-Seventies. The different is he is no longer gaunt, pale or dissipated, but healthier than he has ever been before. In place of the eccentric colourful clothes he used to wear, he now favours a smartly cut suit and tie.

At his concerts he receives the kind of accolade reserved for a ballet star like Nureyev or Baryshnikov, with fans tossing him flowers and toys.

Yet he told me: “I never expected all this to happen. In the Sixties I was told I was too avante garde to be successful.”

Bowie was certainly no over-night success. For years he struggled for recognition in various little known groups, starting off as a somewhat shy, artistic saxophone player. It wasn’t until 1969 that his talent was recognised world-wide with the epic composition “Space Oddity.”

He had a triumphant Broadway season in the title role of “The Elephant Man”, but he is still looking to the cinema to bring him similar critical acclaim for his acting. Japanese director Nagisa Oshima chose him for the PoW drama “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence” – released this August – in which he co-stars with Tom Conti, and Bowie is excited about this project.

Examining his new-found self, he reacts: “I’m up, and I feel I have got a future as a person rather than just feeling like a commodity.”

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