Live: Turquoise, Roundhouse, London

David Bowie’s short-lived trio Turquoise performed their debut show at London’s Roundhouse on 14 September 1968.

The band also featured Tony Hill and Bowie’s girlfriend Hermione Farthingale, both of whom played guitar and sang.

This show was headlined by The Scaffold and Pete Brown & His Battered Ornaments. Also on the bill were Ron Geesin, Terry Reid’s Fantasia, Junior’s Eyes, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, Spider and the Stable, Gethsemane, Moonlight and Sun, and DJ Pete Drummond.

This was one of just three known Turquoise performances. The others took place on 16 September and 20 October 1968.

Among those in the audience was Angela Barnett, who in March 1970 became Bowie’s first wife.

The Round House was a revelation, as was the crowd. So this was where all the people from Notting Hill and King’s Road, all the most advanced trendies on the circuit, came at night! It was like London’s Fillmore, a forum for the more fascinating artists and a place for the tuned-in to congregate, and you’d see them all there: long-haired blondes and afroed brunettes in wispy see-through skirts with delicate Indian-print sashes binding their breasts; better-heeled types in bright velvet capes and wide-brimmed straw hats decorated with ribbons and wildflowers, or top hats studded with badges and icons; and even then, in the pre-metal years, very pale figures dressed in black, carrying a charge of mystery, danger, and eroticism. You knew those people knew how to fuck. They were like crows among birds of paradise. I noticed them; I always do.

David’s act fit in perfectly at the Round House. He was intense, intelligent, and “out there” in the right folky-trippy way. And although he was performing as part of a trio that night – Feathers, with John Hutchinson and Hermione Farthingale – it was clearly his show. Charisma, you call it? Power, I call it.

And, it bears repeating, he was very pretty. Beautiful, actually: his hair cut and permed in tight little curls around that fallen angel’s face, his body lithe and strong, his muscular dancer’s legs in tight, reveal-all trousers, his sexy ass, his natural grace. Just appraising him as a performer, not a potential mate – my job, after all, was to reinforce Calvin’s case for signing the man to Mercury – I could see that he definitely had what it took. A lovely man, I thought. Fans’ hearts would flutter.

Angela Bowie
Backstage Passes
Last updated: 21 March 2023
Live: Marquee Club, London
Live: Turquoise, Wigmore Hall, London
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