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Angie Bowie has recently published a pocket handbook about bisexuality, which is appropriate because she is one of the most famous and influential bisexual women of our times. Married to rock legend David Bowie in the 1970s, she helped orchestrate his early success and took the heat when he told a newspaper that he fancied men as well as women. Unlike her ex-husband, Angie Bowie did not become heterosexual in later life. Still as out and proud as she ever was, Ms Bowie stopped by for a quick chat.
Your book namechecks plenty of bisexual people in history, but which bisexual women who are out and proud now do you rate?
One of the great SEXUALS of the mid Twentieth century was Sophia Loren, Her specific sexuality being heterosexual had nothing to do with her multilateral appeal. Sophia Loren leads us directly to one of the most powerful sexual stylists: Madonna. Camille Paglia brought us this definition in her book Sexual Personae and I appreciate the enhancement of the sexuality dialogue by definition and sub-categorisation. I think Madonna would have been the heroine of Valerie Solanas, who wrote the SCUM Manifesto in 1966.
Jennifer Lopez contributes a sound sexuality to her persona by remaining strong and feminine. As far as the younger stars are concerned, I don’t know. I would find it hard to label anyone during the tumultuous “Twenties Madness” which invades the bodies of humans between the ages of 16 and 30. The clash of curiosity and primitive mating urges have resulted in odd breeding programs: alienation, separation, confusion, strange behaviour, exotic and erotic adventures, fast fortunes, slow fortunes, stock-piling experiences. I see many young talents in their bisexual modes – I find it charming.
What was the best thing about being the most famous bi rock chick of the 70s? Do you miss that time?
No I do not miss that time. I loved that time! It was wonderful. I particularly liked being surrounded by great fashion designers, photographers and stylists. It was like having a costume ball once every two weeks. Very cool and I got a lot of my schemes implemented. So I enjoyed some personal satisfaction. I did the Johnny Carson show when I was 22. That was pretty cool. It was interesting and it was very hard work. I developed dispepsia and had to be treated for ulcers three times. My hayfever was chronic and my wisdom teeth had to be removed right after Joe was born. The worst part of it was I didn’t smoke or drink or do drugs which led me to believe that drugs might be better than suffering with all these physical ailments but that’s all part of Twenties Madness!
The best thing? The best thing was the worst thing. I thought money brought freedom. I didn’t realise that freedom also meant the freedom to behave like a jackass. I had to abandon that lifestyle where things were done for you because you wanted to tell people what to do. That’s not normal. I don’t want to be told what to do, so why would anyone else tolerate it? When we accomplished the mission of getting David a couple of hit albums, a few movies, whatever, I was coasting on pleasure and the power that money brings. But it was wrong and so I left that business. To expunge the poison of the settlement money I decided it had to be spent on innocent parties, so it went on my daughter Stacia and the horses we bred at Angels Blood Arabians.
As a bi woman, do you feel connected to the larger lesbian and gay rights movement? You must have had a hard time when you were all lipstick and glamour and everyone else was dungarees and crew-cuts, right?
Connected? Yes, I suppose I feel connected. Most lesbians don’t like me because I like men and women. I like the human race. Added to which, in America most of the politically correct movements hold no interest for me. I am firmly against marriage except as a legal tool to accomplish a mission. Gay men and women for some reason want to get married. Well, I couldn’t care less if they do or don’t get married I am not married and have no interest in endorsing antiquated institutions. It’s like some weird deal from ten thousand years ago when they were trying to build up human numbers – who knows?!
The AIDS issue I am very involved in and I try to stay connected with those causes.
Yes, I had a hard time. I narrowly escaped being knifed by a drunken Italian dyke at the Gateways Club in Chelsea in 1969 when I spoke to her lover in the bathroom. I didn’t know about gay protocol! But I wasn’t all lipstick until I did a photo shoot with Terry O’Neill and Pierre la Roche in 1972 for the Sun newspaper in London.
What are you up to at the moment?
Finalising Pop.Sex, promoting Pocket Essentials: Bisexuality, and promoting the Osceola Records release of Moon Goddess.
You know it’s coming, and I have to ask: is the name Bowie a blessing or a burden? And do you ever listen to any of his records?
For a long time I never listened to his records and then I did the last two: Hours and Heathen. It’s a burden for the relationship with my son and it’s a blessing now that some recognition has been made as to my contribution. We all like to be given credit for our effort, right?
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes. Let’s pass the Equal Rights Amendment while George Bush is on a roll for women’s rights and while Laura Bush is doing such a great job of reining him in. Let’s get busy with UNESCO now that the US has rejoined. Let’s promote AIDS prevention internationally and feed the children, educate them and their mothers. Let’s invest in the world. As we enjoy our sexual freedom in America, we have the opportunity to prove it by being heard.