David Bowie Changed My Life (Interview Selection)


Interview with Andy Hathaway
19th November 2012

I meet Andy in the staff canteen of Selfridges. He is dressed as per the departmental dress code; charcoal grey Dolce & Gabbana suit, white shirt and black shoes. He is adorned with his signature chunky silver earrings and, before we start the interview, he apologises for his appearance as he has just about recovered from a bout of the flu.

He shifts nervously in his seat as we start, but this is not out of the ordinary; his demeanor is mainly relaxed with spikes of hyperactive hand gestures and the occasional cough to clear his throat.

The background noise of distracted chatter; the clink of cutlery against plates, the faint whisper of pop music, all blend together to form a soothing hum.

Peter Dunn:  Ok, so we are going to talk about David Bowie as I explained before I started, well not Bowie, but you. If you don’t mind, of course?
Andy Hathaway:  Umm Hmm.

PD:  The project that we are researching for is for FBIspy and we want to find out how Bowie has influenced people in their style, lifestyle, various choices they may have made based around him. I know you were quite a fan weren’t you?
AH:  Well growing up he was one of the first people that you saw that you could identify with that was completely out there, different, do you know what I mean? So, with hair, make-up, clothes and it was just like, green light, go! It was good.

PD:  So what period of Bowie’s career did you first notice him? Because he was up and running before you were a teenager wasn’t he?
AH:  It was from-- it was the early ‘70’s for me. Growing up he was the first person I saw-- when I first saw him do like Starman on Top of The Pops.

PD:  Would you mind me asking what year you were born in?
AH:  ’65.

PD:  ’65?
AH:  Yeah, so I was-- I was quite young.

PD:  Yeah.
AH:  I must have only been about 7 or 8.

PD:  Yeah, but even at that age it was--.
AH:  Yeah.

PD:  You latched on to him.
AH:  Yeah.

PD:  Ah, that’s interesting. So the first memories of him are Starman. So was that-- is that Ziggy Stardust?
AH:  Yeah. So my sort of favourite era from him was like, Ziggy Stardust, erm, Aladdin Sane, Thin White Duke; and then sort of like-- even in-- sort of like the later-- like the ‘80’s. Like, erm, when he sort of came around again and did like, the Glass Spider tour.

PD:  Oh, yeah.
AH:  Which was amazing. Like, this whole big spider took over Wembley stadium.

PD:  Did you see it?
AH:  Yeah!

PD: You went to see it?
AH:  Yeah, yeah, yeah. I went to see it; it was amazing.

PD:  Oh my god, amazing! What was it like?
AH:  Erm, it was incredible, absolutely incredible. Yeah, really good.

PD:  Was the atmosphere like--, erm.
AH:  Well he was--, he has always been--, he’s always been such an iconic sort of person to see. Do you know what I mean? So, even seeing him in the ‘80’s, erm, there were people there that I met that had seen him, ah the original Ziggy Stardust in Hammersmith in the-- in the, sort of, early ‘70’s.

PD:  Yeah.
AH:  A really good buzz about it.

PD: How was he on stage?
AH:  Completely amaz-- th-- there’s no-- there’s-- the only other person that has been, sort of, the really iconic figures like Madonna and stuff like that, but I think that he still got a more of a power over any-- anyone.

PD:  So was he quite with it, in terms of-- because I know he had trouble with drugs at times; how was he, kind of, acting? Do you think it was him, or was it somebody else? A character that has taken over?

Andy begins to act more relaxed and shows more emotion in his face. The nervous shifting and throat clearing persist; habitual actions never leave him.

AH:  I think he does portray like, a different, sort of, character; you know the costume changes and all the rest of it, all helps with the, sort of, magic of it all coming together. But he definitely, sort of, a person that, sort of like, owned the stage and just, do you know what I mean? Everyone-- everything was choreographed around him and, you know, it was-- it was amazing.

PD:  So, erm, what would you say that your favourite Bowie song or songs, performances were?
AH:  Ah without a doubt it would have to be the last ever gig he ever did as Ziggy Stardust; which is, just amazing. Like, he announced then “this is the last time that I am ever going to do this” and it was the last time-- because he actually killed off the character of Ziggy Stardust himself, because it took over his life, he actually became that.

PD:  And what did-- what were your reactions to that? I mean, did you-- did you think then that was Bowie hanging up his hat for good? Or, did you-- did you take it as a--.
AH:  No, because I ju-- I just thought he, he’s going to be one of these people that’s going to constantly evolve and change and, and he did. Do you know what I mean? It was erm, he sort of-- you know, he went on to do album after album with different themes, different, you know, but I think that was definitely one of his most exciting because it was so ground-breaking in terms of like, you know, not only musically but fashion and everything.

PD:  During that period, how were you dressing, yourself?
AH:  Oh god, I’ve got to think back now, it was such a long time ago [pauses to think]. I think I had long black, crimped hair at the time.

PD:  Oh wow!
AH:  Yeah, because it was sort of-- obviously, when I first-- like you know, discovered him and liked him and all the rest of it, I was only a kid. So, I wasn’t really able to do much about it, do you know what I mean? And to announce to the rest of the world that I was gay, and all the rest of it, at that age. But certainly like-- you know, in the ‘80’s I was like a teenager and I mean-- I could do what the hell I wanted and did! So, I was just experimenting with different coloured hair, make-up; always had a different look, that was the whole thing.

PD:  Was that a kind of-- like, every day you had a different look or every time you went out?
AH:  Every time you went out is like never to be like, the same look again.

PD:  But during like, day-to-day erm, activities how would you dress? Would there have been part of your look, or kind of-- character coming through on a day-to-day basis?
AH:  During that time yeah, definitely would have been the hair.

PD:  Was that a projection of--.
AH:  Wake up in the morning; crimpers plugged in, hair spray, yeah. Definitely.

PD:  Ah, interesting. And it was qui-- during that period, so it was the ‘80’s, were there any other artists or erm, people around you that really influenced you?
AH:  I liked a lot of-- in the ‘80’s, yeah the real sort of underground, indie ‘80’s. Like, a lot of people think that the ‘80’s is like really commercial pop like Rick Astley, Kylie, which was like the worst thing ever!

PD:  [laughs] Why?
AH:  I liked more like Susie and the Banshees, erm, all the new romantics stuff was happening as well; through Bowie, you had like all the new wave punk stuff. Do you know what I mean? So, like-- that’s why I say like-- he did such a lot, for all of those sort of, new artists as well and that took another spin-- another spin on it.

PD:  So, during that ‘80’s period I mean-- a lot of fans kind of identified with their idols, Bowie being an idol to many across the years. What elements of Bowie did you specifically draw from?
AH:  Which what sorry?

PD:  What elements of him or his characters did you draw from?
AH:  I love the whole androgynous thing about him, and the fact that-- you know, he just did what the hell he wanted and got away with it and he, sort of opened all the doors for like-- you know, sexuality, you know, really sort of-- really, really broke all the boundaries with that.

PD:  Yeah, and that was-- was it that period of time that was quite tricky, I understand, for people to really express themselves, if that’s how they felt. You know those-- these kind of identifying with Bowie, do you feel that that was a way of a lot of people liberating themselves?
AH:  Yeah, I think so, especially at the time because there wasn’t really many people doing that then and it was such a sort of taboo kind of thing, whereas like-- you know, he just did it and-- and also it was considered more of a positive thing, because it was quite an artistic thing rather than, you know, because he was sort of-- what he did was, you know, very good at and so, he was sort of respected in a way, and it wasn’t sort of--.

PD: Well, he trained a lot, as an actor didn’t he? Like, he did the whole mime--.
AH:  The mime, the artist’s mime which he used in like, a lot of his, erm, performance.

PD:  Yeah, yeah. I mean he would like-- one quote that I’ve picked up from like, some of the research that I’ve done is that “ I am an actor, my whole professional life is an act. I slip from guise to er-- from one guise to another very easily. One guise plays into another and the extreme comments force it into another direction.” So, I mean that could kind of suggest that he has changed between characters, erm, but I suppose it-- in a way that it could reflect his, you know, dipping into different areas of work; I mean his music, his acting, that kind of thing. What-- thinking about his personas, like his-- you know, projections; which one do you feel you identify with the most?
AH:  Out of all like-- the characters that he has done, it would probably have to be-- it would have to be like, Ziggy Stardust.

PD:  Would that be on a pure, kind of, aesthetic level?
AH:  Yeah, yeah and--.

PD:  The makeup, hair?
AH:  Yeah, just purely-- and also the-- that whole album is just such a genius album. You know, its forty years old now and they still play it.

PD:  Yeah, that’s it; I mean, it’s the anniversary, like . . . [inaudible]
AH:  Yeah, and Aladdin Sane as well. Again, that was all about, you know, the look.

PD:  And, do you feel that there was a kind of clear cut between each character or maybe were there-- I mean, were there elements--.
AH:  There was always that-- I think, you know, there is always that kind of, erm, Bowie theme if you like running through all of them that, you know-- know it’s him, but erm, yeah. It was all very, very different; all very exciting like, the new album coming out, like a different, you know, erm, what’s the word? I can’t think of the right word. A different sort of theme to each album.

PD:  So it’s almost as if the excitement was “what is he going to do next?”
AH: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely.

PD: My personal first encounter with Bowie was, I suppose, the Thin White Duke. You know, the slicked back hair, very-- that’s my first memory of him. So it’s interesting to get--.
AH:  Yeah, and how mascu-- you know, how completely different is that? Do you know what I mean? From like him, you know like being on the cover of like, the Man Who Sold the World in a, you know, a dress almost in drag; and then doing the Thing White Duke all very masculine, you know, and, you know he appealed to like so many different, diverse people; men, women.

PD:  Did you ever feel, kind of, like shocking people?
AH:  Yeah, always! [laughs]

PD: Tell me about like, one of the most shocking-- or the sensation of wanting to shock somebody; what did you do?
AH:  I remember once saying that I really wanted to-- when I grew my hair, I was going to dye my hair pink immisso, pink. And my Dad overheard me telling my Mum because I was so excited about it and he just gave me a look and said, “If you come in to this house with pink hair, you can find yourself somewhere else to live.” And so, my Mum said, “Oh, just ignore him.” So, I did. Anyway, but two weeks later I got my friend Tracey to bleach my hair three times in one day, I’m surprised it still lasted, and erm, I was so happy I had this vivid pink candy floss hair, it was amazing! I absolutely loved it, but he never spoke to me for two weeks.

PD:  So he stood to his word?
AH: Yeah, but erm, yeah it was really, really shocking.

PD:  So, do you think Dad struggled with your ever-changing looks? [laughs]
AH:  [laughs] Yeah, definitely.

PD:  But your Mum seems like she, erm, she embraced it?

PD:  [laughs] Oh, I love it! You are still really close to your Mum aren’t you?
AH:  Yeah.

PD:  That’s so good. Erm, there is-- did Bowie ever shock you? Sort of-- you know, on the theme of shock.
AH: Erm, I think the biggest-- the only time he did, like I say, it was in the early days when I was still like, a child growing up myself seeing him on Top of the Pops; seeing him like, put his arm around another man, that was so controversial and it was only really in hindsight, looking back in a very sort of, friendly way but at the time, because it was two men, it was so controversial and I just thought it was wonderful. And also, he looked amazing; he looked like an alien, like, you know.

PD:  Do you know who that man was?
AH:  Mick Ronson. He was one of the erm, people in the, erm, in his band. But he was just playing guitar, playing Starman; and he was in like, this pin-stripe suit with massive shoulder pads. And I remember just saying to my Dad, “I want to look like that.” Which, you know, I didn’t even get no response. [laughs]

PD: So, it’s almost as if like, with the crimping of the hair later on, it’s almost as if Ziggy stuck with you?
AH:  I just thought-- yeah, I just thought, you know I can do what the hell I want and just try everything, and be as crea-- he opened that sort of door, like, just try everything; just be creative, you know?

PD:  Did you ever feel like a character? Like, whenever you dressed up?
AH:  Yeah, yeah it was quite an escape I suppose, from boring reality.

PD:  And no longer Andy?
AH:  Yeah.

PD:  Did you ever have a name for any of your characters?
AH:  Huh?

PD:  Could you give me a few of your names?
AH: [laughs] Well, you probably already knew from when I worked with you as Andy Eyebrows, because I had massive, big painted eyebrows.

PD:  I have you in my phone as Andy Eyes.
AH:  Yeah, that was just mostly-- yeah, Andy Eyebrows.

PD:  But now-- your style when I worked with you in Selfridges was quite an extreme one compared to everybody else in the department and, erm, you know Selfridges, the way that they want you to look, basically. But you didn’t bat an eyelid; you didn’t back down at all did you when they said, you know, well “this is not acceptable.”
AH:  I’ve always been quite comfortable with myself to be honest and sort of like, never really conformed or, you know, as long as I was happy with what I looked at in the mirror, that was enough for me.

PD:  And it feels as though-- I mean, over the years, it’s been a while since I had that break working away from Selfridges; looking at you now--.
AH:  [laughs]

PD:  You’re in-- you could almost be--.
AH:  Yeah, how different?

PD: The Thin White Duke in your suit and with, you know, little makeup, no makeup actually.
AH:  No makeup.

PD:  You’ve got no makeup on today, erm, but do you feel-- do you think you have changed out of choice, or by--?
AH:  Yeah, I think it’s just getting older isn’t it? I just think, you know, if you look at erm, you know, you look at Bowie he’s not walking about with a stripe across his face and red hair now, because he’s like, in his sixties. I just think, you know, we’re constantly evolving and changing and erm, you know I don’t have the same needs, the same need to shock people anymore. You know, any of those things, I think, as you get older your priorities change erm, what you’re happy with, what you don’t want and it’s a constant ongoing thing of changing. I don’t look like this when I’m not working.

PD:  So, well-- when you’re at home, what do you generally wear
Andy points to himself from top to toe, and back again.

AH:  It depends, you know; it really, really depends. Quite casual, pair of ripped jeans, converse and an old tee shirt. Erm, I can still like, if I go out-- I don’t really go out these days, but if I go out to like, dress up like I think is doing something different or whatever. I don’t know, I quite like these days I think again, as you get older, I just like basic, good tailoring and casual stuff as well. Rather than the extreme, I think the extreme is-- I’ve sort of been there and done that, it’s like-- I think it looks kind of almost comical, as you get older to still be doing that.

PD:  It can be hard to maintain I suppose.
AH:  Yeah.

PD:  A lot of work goes into it. But, how about your home life now, you live alone?
AH:  Yeah.

PD:  Do you feel that’s a haven from the rest of the world?
AH:  Yeah definitely, it’s my church.

PD: Your church? But you’re not a religious person, are you?
AH: No, I’d say spiritual rather than religious.

PD: Bowie was rather spiritual as well, wasn’t he?
Ah:  Yeah.

PD:  He spent some time with monks in Glasgow and studied, erm, Tibetan Buddhism.
AH:  Yeah, yeah. I mean, I’ve sort of dabbled in all kind of religiousy-- I find it sort of, you know, quite a fascinating subject; along with like fashion as well, religion is quite a fascinating, erm, thing and it covers such a--.

PD: I suppose it is hard sometimes to get fashion and religion to play fair with each other, because fashion’s always out to be a shocking thing, isn’t it? But, your spirituality, did it grow out of a, kind of an influence from anybody?
AH:  I think it was a deep down self-belief, in yourself. That’s where it come from. So with that, if you’ve got that you can do anything you want. I think it would be quite boring to be an atheist though; you’ve got to believe-- you know, it’s a bit of a cop out, to be an atheist. [laughs]

PD: [laughs] Well, I’m pure atheist, I don’t really believe in anything really. Erm, so I am just going to look back at some of the points I prepared for today. I think we have-- the conversation has been great, really good. Erm, so why do you think Bowie changed himself so dramatically by taking on these personas, these characters?
AH:  I don’t know. I don’t think, perhaps, it was originally-- he actually set out to do that, I think it’s something that you know, it was so successful and it worked for him, why stop something if its really working; not only financially but successfully and all the rest of it, and I think it just ran away with him. Like, you know that’s why he ended up killing, as he says, killing off one of the characters, you know, because it sort of took over his life.

PD:  Do you think it’s ever really, unmasked the true Bowie?
AH:  Yeah, I think everyone wears a mask though don’t they? You know, to a certain degree to cover something up. I know like, when I was dressing up and going out as Andy Eyebrows, I was-- I could do whatever I wanted; I could take whatever drugs I wanted, dress how I wanted, because it was expected of me in a way, do you know what I mean? And the moment that I sort of stopped wearing makeup, I kind of lost that little bit of confidence. I wasn’t as, you know, this party person. So I can totally understand how he became, you know, away with like the characters that he created.

PD:  Bowie now; what do you think? I saw a photo of him recently and he was wearing quite plain clothes, glasses and a hat.
AH:  I haven’t seen a really good interview from him for quite a few years. It’s like I say, he must be in his sixties now mustn’t he?

PD:  Do you think-- why do you think he has hidden away?
AH:  I think he will always be doing something, whether it’s as commercial as it was is another story. But I think it will certainly be like influencing other young musicians, songwriters; even fashion designers.

PD: I mean, who do you think has—thinking about the present day and artists that we have at the moment, commercial or whatever; who do you think has drawn a lot from him?
AH:  I think you can look at every sort of iconic person at the moment in a round about way and find some kind of connection. If you look at Lady Gaga and look at her ridiculous like, mad, you know, outfits, it’s no different than what he did in the, you know, thirty or forty years ago.

PD:  Do you think she has a similar ideal as Bowie? In terms of dramatisation.
AH:  I wouldn’t put them into the same league at all, no.

PD:  That’s interesting. You know, even with the lightening bolt, kind of like Aladdin Sane.
AH:  I mean, even like the artists like, you know, Boy George as well he’s erm, he was like a huge fan of Bowie because like, you know, growing up that’s--.

PD:  You and Boy George were, kind of knocking about in the same era-.
AH:  He’s like, five, six years older than me.

PD:  So his music was, kind of out around the same time, like when you were dressing up, so I suppose it all would have coincided wouldn’t it? Erm, the constant changing of Bowie, kind of, upset a lot of people when, you know, when he pronounced that he was retiring and that that was the end of Ziggy, as it were. It upset a lot of his fans, and it could have put him in a negative light to a lot of people; was there anything he did that you were a bit like, “hmmm, I’m not too sure”?
AH:  The only thing that I didn’t like which he did was, erm, and I think this was sort of either late ‘80’s, or ‘90’s. I can’t remember. He sort of moved away a bit and sort of did, erm, formed a new group called Tin Machine, which I really didn’t like. It was, kind of, just not my-- and by then I had already found my own kind of way, do you know what I mean?
PD:  Did you feel that you had drifted apart from him?
AH:  Yeah, I mean like I said earlier, I still listen to the three, four Bowie albums and if you ask any Bowie fan, they will probably say you the same. It’s going to be Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Hunky Dory; those are the really-- I think the best of his work, ever. And I think every artist has a certain era when they were at their peak, if you like.

PD:  Do you think he lost himself a little bit during that period, to the Tin Machine, was it?
AH:  Well I think-- I just think he was, you know, maybe bored then, he was just trying—you know, everything is an experiment isn’t it? In life. It’s like, try it, if it doesn’t work, don’t do it; if it does, capitalise on it. It’s like one of those, kind of-- I think he just was trying something new. And again, he was criticised for it because it didn’t please other people but he was pleasing himself so, I kind of respect him for that.

Andy nods along in agreement.

PD:  Absolutely. Well, I think we have covered everything that I wanted to talk about. Unless there is anything else that you would like to add about your life? I know you are going to allow me to look at and borrow some of the photos you have--.
AH:  Yeah, please do, you can. You have my full permission to use all my photographs on my Facebook page, take them and use them, and I will email you any of the other stuff I have.

PD:  Fantastic. Would you mind if I took a photo of you here, today, just one in the outfit you’re wearing for work? Just one. [laughs]
AH:  [laughs] No! Yeah, it’s fine.

PD:  OK, brilliant. Well thank you very much Andy, and just to reiterate that this is going to be used for a project for me and a group of four of us in total. So we are just going to be using all of the information; if you do want to review anything that we have talked about before I submit it for anything, you are more than welcome to look through the transcript just to make sure that everything is in order.
AH:  Yeah, no, I’m cool with that. That’s fine.

PD: Brilliant. Thank you!

Interview with Jan Peck
19th November 2012

J: I can just see his face, it just reminds me of a time in my life…

Yeah, a happy time, just a different time, it was a very long time ago! (Laughs)

J: No, it was just, I was of that age where as soon as somebody came out, and their music came out, then you just; you heard them everywhere, they were, you know, in magazines, they were on the telly. They were at that time where music dominated my life

J: No I wasn’t interested particularly in that type of music, but I was into hairdressing, I was a hairdresser. Back then, it was really, really trendy. It was a really trendy scene and David Bowie was a fashion icon as well as being a musician.

J: His image

J: Because it was different

J: Completely different! He was, it was, the gay scene, he was androgynous

J: Yeah, he was big with…yeah he was

J: Because of his looks, because of his image, it was a very long time ago, that’s the best way I can answer that

WJ: ell it was all very spacey, and kind of futuristic,

J: (Sings) Ground control to major tom
I mean it makes me shivery all the music, because it was just,
I was a little bit, sort of a bit confused at the time,

J: No, just in what I liked, I was experimenting, so its like, the music changed so quickly that I knew I wasn’t in to rock, heavy rock, I knew that, because id brought a record by mistake, that I thought was R’N’B and it turned out to be the rolling stones, Brown sugar (laughs) and I thought what the fuck is this!
I was in to Motown, and I was kind of like a soul girl, but Bowie was trendy I was kind of like I didn’t know what option to go to.
When I went in to town and of course being from Manchester and not from London, and we had this street called new brown street, everyone had Saturday jobs, it was like a carbon copy of Carnaby street, it was really urban, where everything was just, erm, where all the clothes were outside and everyone sat on the steps, there was music going on and it was just a really crazy street!
Then there was this masculinity to them, (Angie and Bowie) the suited and bootedness of it all for women at the time and it was just fantastic. It was like, there weren’t any rules, it was like whereas there had always been rules, even with fashion, the rules started to be broken, where, you know, women were wearing trousers.

J: Well he was just big everywhere. Well Manchester it had quite a big underground music scene anyway from back when you know you had joy division, they came from Manchester, there was a lot of madness involved in it, and then I suppose, I don’t know when that changed, all that changed when new brown street which was the street I was talking about all got knocked down and the Arndale centre was built, it was a big shopping centre and then a lot of Manchester went and people started moving outside Manchester, which is really rough estates (like Moss Side) and that’s where Joy Division had their studios, because there was all this change

J: Yeah, and Manchester had lost its character, it had got into that thing where everything was, and I suppose this is kind of getting in to architecture. Everyone was covering up the fireplaces, everything that was original, all the original features, bricks and mortar and real chimneys had changed. People didn’t want it anymore, they covered up the fireplaces, and they covered up all the beautiful features.

J: (Laughs) it was on the album cover

J: Yeah, for the album cover

J: I’m not sure, the album was Aladdin Sane, but I’m not sure that she actually appeared singing on the album, it was just her face on the album like identical with his face, like half and half,

J: Well I think at that point I probably wasn’t in touch, I was probably quite confused about my sexuality, and I knew she was a women and I knew he was a man and that’s what attracted me to her, they looked identical but I was attracted to her, even though he was a very feminine man, funnily enough your dad was very feminine looking back then. Oh you have weird parents!

J: I became interested in, I mean he was around, everything was around, but it was for me, when Aladdin Sane was around.

J: My teens

J: As soon as his music was everywhere, and I loved his music, I loved the sound of it, it wasn’t…I didn’t actually go out and buy it, it just was definitely his image more than his music, his music was easy to listen to, it was played a lot.
When something’s played a lot, you start singing a long to it without even thinking about it and like I say, I don’t know where I first saw it but the album cover (Aladdin Sane). When I saw the cover, it was a complete mirror image of him and Angie Bowie and they were exactly the same (the cover actually being on the album of PINUPS) and yeah, that was what attracted me! Why, I really don’t know.

J: I don’t think it was so much what he wore but it was his makeup.

J: I loved his makeup!  You kind of tried to copy him, that’s what you did when you were a teenager, you saw something you liked which was visually pleasing and you wanted to try it out on yourself!

J: Maybe I did, maybe I tried it in the mirror!

J: Before, I don’t know if he helped it exactly, he maybe added to my ideas of image/style. It was just everything, it was just that whole era, it was all really way out and different.

J: Not David Bowie’s

J: No, the only thing that would transport me back would be to hear David Bowie’s music and to just listen to it would bring a smile to my face and remind me of the good times! Not particularly his personal style he was just there when I was growing up, he wasn’t necessarily a huge influence, not personally, but I’m sure he did influence other people, it just wasn’t really my thing I was into Mary Quant and Biba and sort of really strikingly feminine images.

J: He was just everywhere. In hairdressing, and hairdressing back then was a huge fashion industry, along with clothes and everything else. It all went hand in hand. And we’d be working in the salon, yeah he did influence. Everybody had flashes of colour in their bleached hair, blues, reds and yellows and you know it was a mix of like…it didn’t matter, it wasn’t just Bowie, and the way that Bowie dressed, it was everything all mixed together. It was like he always wore high platforms, and we always wore high platforms, girls and boys alike. Big shoulders, it wasn’t necessarily just spacey and silver, there were aspects that were from that but weren’t exactly that. So yeah he did!

J: Not just him, he was just part of it. Part of the whole thing. It was just amazing. And that’s it.  It was amazing. 

J: It was a trend. But I'll never forget him.

Interview with Linette Moses
19th November 2012

FBIspy Researcher: Hi Linette how are you today?
LINETTE: Hey yes I’m really well thanks, a tiny bit apprehensive. (laughs)

FBI: so Linette, when somebody says “David Bowie” to you what springs to mind?
LINETTE: Eccentricity! Immediately I just think of his eccentric clothing as well as his creative style and clothing.

FBI: How did you become familiar with Bowie?
LINETTE: My dad was how I discovered Bowie. I remember always listening to Bowie and dancing about with dad in the kitchen. His album art was something that used to always fascinate me as well; I’d sit and look at the covers for what felt like forever.

FBI: Ah fond memories then… What other elements of Bowie interested you, obviously you just mentioned the album covers, but was there anything else?
LINETTE: Yes there were lots really, his look was a big thing for me, his crazy costumes and style but I think purely that fact he was so unique, whether that was through his persona, music, image and style.

FBI: Was there a particular period/ persona of Bowie you were most influenced by?
LINETTE: His Glam rock period, when he had his Ziggy stardust persona. Probably what I would say was his most iconic period and what/who most people would picture when you think of Bowie.  I think it was the strong bold shapes and colour associated with this period as well as the space age style that really appealed to me.

FBI: Were you influenced by Bowie from the beginning of his career?
LINETTE: I would say there are elements from across a wide range of the stages in his career that influenced me.  Whether that was through my dad or other medias.

FBI: how did your interest in Bowie affect your own Image and personal style? What do you think of image, is it important?
LINETTE: Well I guess I was further inspired to follow a bold and more outgoing sense of style. I think image is important and affects the way people view you and often the opportunities you get in life, but this doesn’t mean we should all be uniformed! But yes I do feel image has a strong influence on many factors  ”

FBI: Were you already interested in the ideas of image, style and gender etc. before your interest in Bowie, or did he start the interest?
LINETTE: “Part of why I am studying fashion is due to my love of unique styles and appearances but also the way in which people present themselves fascinates me, I feel there should be more to style than just a set look and it being solely about the materials used to create a garment … there are so may people that influence my work… but Bowie for me is just such an iconic character with his unconcerned mannerism to what people think, being one of the first to kind of step away from the typical looks and trends.”

FBI: What is your career and education history; did Bowie influence your lifestyle choices in anyway? Past and present?
LINETTE: Again similar to my answer before, I have always had an interest I fashion therefore my choice to study the topic wasn’t necessarily because I’m inspired or influenced by Bowie but I guess there are definitely elements of both him and his career that influence my work and the way I look at fashion.

FBI: would you say you are still interested in or influenced David Bowie or was this just a trend you followed at the time? Have your interests changed as you have changed?
LINETTE:  Well it definitely wasn’t a trend I was following at the time as it was way before my time (laughs) but yes I think he still influences me, thought there is less of an interest there now.  I feel at present there are now so many iconic people and huge amounts of people that dress in eccentric ways and look unique but I think what really influence me is the fact that Bowie made it acceptable to do that.”

Interview with Kara Nissen
18 November 2012

FBIspy Researcher: Hi Kara, how are you?
Kara: Good. Great. Terrific!
FBI: Ok so we have briefly talked over this interview and what we will be discussing, so let’s make a start.

When someone says David Bowie to you what would come to mind?
K: Wow…I’d probably think of androgyny. And I’d think about how he kind of blurs the line between what is male and female and femine and masculine. I’d think about his cover art as well ….. and his epic Lurex!
FBI: How did you become familiar with him initially? How did you get introduced to him….? Was it through music first or his appearance?
K: It was a combination of the two. I was at a market and I was looking at old records and then I saw ‘Aladdin Sane’ and then I thought that the cover work was so awesome and then I bought it and then I really just fell in love with the music.
FBI: And the message in the music?
K: Absolutely! Yeah!
FBI: Were you already into similar music or a similar scene already?
K: I’m a very big fan of The Beatles and my first concert was actually Rod Stewart as well at the ripe old age of six months! I’ve got the T-shirt to prove it. So I mean like I know that Rod Stewart can’t really be compared to David Bowie and The Beatles but I mean still in that kind of vein, sort of like 60’s/70’s rock and roll.
FBI: Obviously you are a lot younger than that scene; you weren’t around at that time. Why do you think it held something for you? Why that sort of music rather than something that was more contemporary?
K: Initially I think it would have been partially my parents influence but I think as I grew up and then I started listening to top 40 songs about umm ‘smacking my arse’ and ‘being a sexy ho’ and like a ‘loose bitch’ and things like that I just got a little bit fed up with it and didn’t want to listen to that because it made me a little upset. I was like ‘I don’t smack my arse on the floor’ you know?

FBI: So you think the music and the image from that period was more relevant to you when you were growing up than what was around at the time?

K: Yeah so much more emphasis on things that are good and things… I guess what they were trying to convey or some of their messages, although a lot of them would have just been completely fucked on drugs, were so much more positive and just a lot nicer to listen to than a lot of the music now.
FBI: So you felt David Bowie, and whoever else from that time, were more positive role models for you?
K: Definitely. But you know obviously they’re not positive role models but I think, I think that although they weren’t model citizens they were a lot better role models than the musicians that are coming about now.
FBI: What aspects were positive do you think?
K: I think they… I think David Bowie for instance has this amazing individualistic style, and I think that he got a lot of shit about the way that he looked or…I think you know that he had a lot of fans but I also think there was a lot of negative press about how he chose to dress or how he chose to, you know, do his make up and certain things…. I’m not being very articulate… It’s more about being an individual and expressing yourself. Yeah.
FBI: So out of all David Bowie’s different personas, different characters and different types of image which ones do you think you connected with initially?
K: Definitely Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. Ziggy Stardust is amazing. I really, I  just liked the fact that Bowie had a giant lightening bolt down his face and he had an awesome bright red mullet… and like the spandex onesies! You know the ridiculous and ….the sexual. Such a spectacle. And I think that he does have this overt sexual-ness about him. But not in a kind of …. I don’t know its like he’s not even trying. It just comes with the territory.
FBI: So do you think you got more interested in other eras of Bowie? You weren’t around to see his career develop as it happened… Did your interest develop? Did other periods of Bowie and other styles of music connect with you in the same way?
K: I definitely think it was like a Pandora’s box. When I started and then I listened to ‘Aladdin Sane’ and like looked at the records I just wanted more and I think that in a way it was a positive thing that I didn’t watch his career progress as I didn’t have to umm, I didn’t have wait for the next record to come out. I could develop my appreciation for him in my own time.
FBI: You mentioned his androgyny when I initially asked you what you thought of when Bowie was mentioned. Do you think that sort of aspect influenced your own image and personal style in any way? How you developed yourself?
K: Yes definitely. He was very effeminate whereas I think that I am in no way feminine. I don’t like being feminine. I don’t necessarily have a shaved head or anything but I don’t like wearing dresses and pink and I think that sort of that influence and having someone like David Bowie in pop culture representing what you can be or what you don’t have to be, helped. You don’t have to stick to the gender roles that are set out for you. I think that although you’d like to think you are strong enough to do it yourself but having people like David Bowie, or other umm, celebrities, or people in the public eye leading the way in some respect with that kind of crazy stuff gives you a bit more inspiration and also gives you a bit more …. Like strength to do it yourself, you know?
FBI: So do you think image is important?
K: Yeah I do. I mean but I think the most important thing is that you actually like your own image. I don’t dress this way… I choose to dress the way I do because I enjoy what I wear. I like it and I think it’s good. I mean like people think what I wear is ridiculous, lots of people, you know like my mother, my family they don’t enjoy what I wear. But fuck you, you know! I’m fine with that. You’ve just got to accept it.

FBI: How old were you when you bought that first album?
K: I think I was 14.

FBI: So you were quite young, at the beginning of the time when those things start to develop, when you start to become your own person. Do you think you were already interested in the ideas of image, style and gender?
K: I think when I was going into my early teens was when I started realizing there was more out there than what was just directly available or thrust in children’s faces. That was when I realized that I could go up different avenues. So umm I think that I was always aware of that in a way but that when I became a teenager and I had a bit more motivation or…. Sort of developing my own personality and sense of style because you do when you’re that age. I think that age was the beginning of me starting to think about image. What I wanted my image to be and what it said about me. I looked at these role models for influence in that not people that maybe were more mainstream. It was just different and exciting.

FBI: So tell me a bit about your education history, your career history, your lifestyle etc. Has this been influenced in a similar way as your image?
K: I went to a Steiner school so it’s kind of like a giant hippy commune. So that has been a huge influence… Oh when I went there we umm… we had a really bad year when we were about 16 because by that stage we had had 9 teachers in 3 years for English. So we were all really pissed off because we were like ‘we don’t know anything.’ In Australia in Year 10 you can choose to leave school altogether. Then in our final assembly for year 10 when we were sort of saying goodbye to people who weren’t going to continue on into your version of college we umm decided to sing ‘Changes’ by David Bowie because of the lyrics “And these children that you spit on as they try to change their world, are immune to your consultations, they're quite aware of what they're going through…” Because I think we were trying to say you know, you can do what you want, you can ignore us as much as you want. But at the end of the day we are totally aware that you are ignoring us and we are going to get through it anyway regardless of you. So there you go.

FBI: What did you do after that?
K: Then I went away, and I went around the world and I went to London and visited places which you know, I’d read about or seen on various album covers or you know had inspired music that I like. Then I went to uni and did Fine Arts and now I work in a creative field and I think that music has definitely influenced where I am today and what I’ve chosen to do.

FBI: We both work together at a jewellery company. The jewellery there isn’t just the standard jewellery and you seem to favour the bigger more ‘out there’ pieces that some people would find intimidating to wear themselves…..
K: I love working for them because they have this ridiculously flamboyant, hilarious, humorous jewellery. It’s really theatrical. It incredible. It’s like a production in itself. I mean I have a giant lobster necklace and I remember working in one of the stores and someone saying to their friend like ‘oh my god who would wear that.’ And then I just turned around and said ‘me’ and I was wearing it. And it’s like …they’re just awesome! And people are like really…. bizarrely, conservative or taken aback when they see it. It’s just a piece of jewellery!
FBI: Do you think that when people see you wearing it they then think ‘oh, it is wearable?’
K: Definitely.  I am passing on my influence!!
FBI: Do you think you still have the same musical interests today? Do you think it has developed over time into different artists? It didn’t just stop?
K: I went on to collect all of The Beatles albums on vinyl. I became just like a super-duper cool punk when I was like 17; had like safety pins in my ears which I pierced myself, and I just like listened to all punk music constantly.

FBI: And all of that music is really based in London, that scene is more of a UK thing…?
K: It was definitely a UK thing. Growing up in Australia is shit! There were the Ramones, and there are some acts from America, but I mean fundamentally I think the best punk comes from London. And I love it and l also love the artwork involved in punk music. Anyway my... that developed and kept going. It’s not just the music, it’s the music and the image and the art and every thing together. It’s the lifestyles and the cultures that come from these movements. Like…. I mean anything from the people who were, like, Beatlemania to punk in the late 70’s, who just were fucking angry. And the rebellion in that. And its always influenced… older ­­­­music generally has some aspect of rebellion. Rebelling against something. And I’m always about a little rebellion myself.