How David Bowie managed to avoid being recognized in public

How David Bowie managed to avoid being recognized in public

Alan Edwards, the public relations giant who founded The Outside Organisation, has worked alongside David Bowie and the likes of – among others – the Rolling Stones, Prince and Britney Spears throughout his career. On the occasion of the publication of his book 'I Was There: Dispatches from a Life in Rock and Roll', Edwards told NME how the late British 'Let's Dance' artist handled fame in the early '80s.

Recalling his meeting with Bowie which took place immediately after the musician's participation in the 1983 film “Furyo” (in the original language “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence”) directed by Nagisa Ōshima, Alan Edwards narrated: “I met him immediately after filmed the movie 'Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence', so he was treated like a movie star – but he also got on bad terms with his label because 'Low' and 'Heroes' weren't considered as commercially good as others jobs like the Bay City Rollers.” He added:

“It was when I went on tour with him that I started to realize how simple and charming he was. He would turn up at our office on Tottenham Court Road and make coffee for everyone. He told me that his secret to not be recognized was to wear a flat cap and hold a Greek newspaper under his arm. That way, if anyone wondered if it was him, they would look at him more closely and think, 'Well, he can't be… he's obviously Greek.'”

Edwards later explained: “It was the same with interviews. We took the train most of the time, no first class or anything like that. It's surprising how many people walked past him more than once before thinking, 'It can't be he's just a guy sitting like us towards Manchester'”.

“As an example, in the book I tell of the time when, after a radio interview, having nothing better to do, he decided to present the station's traffic reports. He stood there in the middle of the station telling people that there was they were delays on the M25… And to this day I don't think anyone knew it was David Bowie. He was an extraordinary creative genius, but also a pure, disarming, kind gentleman.”