The Secret Sun: Bowie, Blackstar and the Stories Still Untold, Part Two
I've never been particularly interested in David Bowie's family. Even though I had a five year professional relationship of sorts with Bowie, which ended with watching her hubby, with the dreaded Coco Schwab right beside. Music: David Bowie: A Life, Dylan Jones, Preface Publishing, hardback, vast array of people who grew up with Bowie, who had relationships with him, friends (including longtime personal assistant Coco Schwab and actor. The Telegraph takes a deeper look at the Bowie-Coco relationship. The news that David Bowie has left $2 million to his PA in his willmakes him.
It featured cutting edge entertainment, a kind of space age Fantasia in which Haag herself performed.Iman Gets Nearly Half of $100 Million From David Bowie's Estate
In every way Bowie had finally found his match, a person with the energy and creativity and intelligence to equal his own. A glamorous, charismatic creature who also shared many of the same obsessions and interests. Friends of Bowie's at the time said their affair was an inevitability. The only problem was that Romy Haag was- in the eyes of the law, at least- a man. She'd have reassignment surgery in the early 80s, but was considered a preoperative transsexual at the time she and Bowie were together.
This was not a relationship that was going to go over well with the Middle American market Bowie always dreamed of reaching, certainly not in the s. The timeline is uncertain but at one point Bowie undertook a disguise, cutting his hair into a Berlin workman's bob, growing a mustache and walking around in laborer's gear and cap.
David Bowie's PA Coco Schwab: the woman who saved his life
What is likely is that he adopted this persona not out of solidarity with the proletariat but to be able to come and go from Haag's apartment without being recognized. The story you often read, a story that rings with all the authenticity of a manufactured party line, is that Bowie and Haag's relationship came to a dead stop on the night of his 30th birthday, when a photographer allegedly appeared to snap a picture of the two together.
This party line is underscored by stories of Bowie's alleged growing disenchantment with Haag, complaints he allegedly reported to friends at least according to one tabloid biographer, who, as you know, have a wonderful knack for digging up "friends" to tell them what they want to write already.
However, this alleged photo has never surfaced. Yes, remember the garnet stone now? And Bowie had no problem posing in public settings with Haag in the past. But in contrast to just the previous April, Bowie seemed to have grown paranoid about how his relationship with Haag was perceived.
And it seems having photos of their relationship were the crux of the issue. Ah, remember those empty picture frames, now? So was there in fact a mysterious papparazzo? Or were there external forces pushing these two lovers apart?
Perhaps it is more likely that reports finally reached RCA that Bowie was seriously involved with a well-known transsexual in Germany and the shit hit the fan.
Bowie and RCA were at very serious loggerheads at that very moment over Low, which the record company absolutely hated going so far as to threaten to withdraw it at one point and was not being well-received in the press. Photos of Bowie and Haag could have seriously damaged his career at a time when both Bowie and RCA were trying to distance the singer from his professions of bisexuality in the early 70s.
And as legendary as the Berlin albums are today, they weren't exactly chartbusters. Bowie seems to have cut ties temporarily with Haag, who was probably completely blindsided by the split being unaware of the infamous mercenary aspect of his personawas unable to contact him and tried to appeal to him through the media.
Indeed, Bowie seemed to go out of his way to let people know that he and Haag had split, an unusual act for a person so guarded about his private life.
For most biographers that was the end of that. There's only one problem. Haag contends that their relationship broke off "at the end of the 70s. And there was all this bad publicity, and David had a fight with his record company.
David Bowie's PA Coco Schwab: the woman who saved his life
There is also considerable evidence that Bowie's fascination for Haag would become an obsession the entire Heroes album eerily parallels the details of their relationshipone he would need to magically exorcise.
And he would do so, in front of millions of people. And he would find himself "closer to the Golden Dawn" than he- or perhaps any celebrity- had ever been. This is a three year period we're talking about. It's entirely coincidental that these just happened to be the albums he would most identify with that first blush of romance with Haag, the phase of the relationship that no one has argued against.
Conversely, he sits "in the Dschungel" in the lyrics. The Wiki entry on the video claims the woman in the video is meant to be Coco Schwab, Bowie's lifetime assistant, who never left him and whom he never fell out of contact with and whom I sure got a wonderful Valentine gift ever year from David. The basis for this claim? It is this strong sense of authenticity - rather than the usual kind of overly analysed biography, which outlines a life lived from start to end, with added critical context and no small degree of pretentiousness thrown in for good measure - that sets this book apart from all the rest that have been written about Bowie since the man's death on January 10, You would wonder, however, whether the world - or even the most die-hard of Bowie fan - needs yet another biography of one of the most influential pop stars of the past 40 years.
Especially one by the person responsible for one of the worst books ever written on the man - 's When Ziggy Played Guitar: Thankfully, Jones keeps his own thoughts to a minimum, and looks instead to a vast array of people who grew up with Bowie, who had relationships with him, who worked and collaborated with him, and so on.
There is a modicum of appropriate cut and paste from previously published interviews, which is par for the course for what is essentially an unauthorised biography. And while Jones has done a fine job in corralling such a spread of people, not even a writer of his standing and reputation he is a board member of the British Fashion Council; and inhe was awarded an OBE could persuade Bowie's immediate family members wife Iman, son Duncan, and daughter Alexandra and close-known friends including longtime personal assistant Coco Schwab and actor confidantes Tilda Swinton and Gary Oldman to be interviewed on the record.
There is, then, a slight sense of empty promise conflicting with the book's back jacket PR acclaim of how it depicts "scene by scene… the movie of Bowie's life" and "lights up every inch of Bowie's extraordinary odyssey.
A Life is the most insightful and plainly dressed book about its subject you'll read this or any other year. Even the cover image points not to the totemic, colourful rock star many of us are familiar with, but rather a more subdued and straightforward figure. Ultimately, the book is a wealth of testimony that sees praise and admiration balanced by criticism and caution. Of the latter, Jones writes of the perception of Bowie's infamous magpie tendencies, and how he would fastidiously construct "his personae and his records like a bomb-squad technician, deciding which colour wire to snip, petrified that a mistake would end his seemingly inexorable righteous passage".
In reality, writes Jones, the performer was merely joining "things up as he went, using bits and pieces he'd collected along the way… Bowie wasn't unaware when he lifted something; he knew. The number of times I've heard other musicians, other artists, say that Bowie has stolen something of theirs, or called a producer they had mentioned they were thinking of working with, or a designer, or a songwriter.