On 1 February 1970 David Bowie took part in the filming of Pierrot In Turquoise at Edinburgh’s Gateway Theatre.
Bowie had been in Scotland to perform in Aberdeen, and was contacted by Lindsay Kemp to see if he would like to take part in the filming of his mime show. Bowie agreed, and the shoot took place on 1 February, directed by Brian Mahoney.
As with the stage show in 1967 and 1968, Bowie played the part of Cloud. Jack Birkett played Harlequin, and Columbine was played by Annie Stainer. The music was performed by Michael Garrett.
For this production Bowie wrote three new songs: ‘The Mirror (also known as ‘Harlequin’) and ‘Columbine’, and ‘Threepenny Pierrot’ (with new lyrics set to a melody based on Bowie’s earlier song ‘London Bye Ta-Ta’).
Pierrot In Turquoise or The Looking Glass Murders was broadcast on 8 July 1970 on the Scottish arts show Gateway.
Lindsay Kemp, who had temporarily returned home to Edinburgh and who had been alerted to David’s journey north, then telephoned to ask if David could take part in a television programme he was to do for Scottish Television on February 1. Lindsay later wrote to me from Drummond Street: ‘It was joyful to talk to you the other day. I am very happy that David may be able to do the tele – it is a rather progressive programme and part of a new series. I want to do a new adaptation of Pierrot In Turquoise, all in colour with lots of bits of film and things as well. The only thing that worries me is of course the money and the budget is minute and I hope therefore for old time’s sake, for art bla bla you might accept the fee of £60. If you can find it possible please write to me and I will get STV to forward a contract. I would also be grateful if you would let me have David’s dates of availability and performance dates in Scotland – our rehearsal date is in Edinburgh on Feb 1st and I would need him for very little rehearsal. I am also writing him a letter c/o yourself dealing with the artistic thing. Dear Ken take care see you soon.
David rehearsed with Lindsay in Edinburgh on the 31st and on the following day went to the Gateway Theatre, where the video tape recording was to take place. The programme, originally called Another World, was directed by Brian Mahoney and transmitted on July 8, by which time the title had been changed to The Looking Glass Murders.
The Pitt Report
The play was included in the DVD release of Love You Till Tuesday in 2005.
The audio of all five songs from the show – two versions of ‘When I Live My Dream’, plus ‘Threepenny Pierrot’, ‘Columbine’, and ‘Threepenny Pierrot’, were released in May 2021 in the box set The Width Of A Circle.
Also on this day...
- 1996: Live: Deutschlandhalle, Berlin
- 1976: Rehearsal: Agrodome, Vancouver
- 1971: Travel: New York to Detroit
- 1969: Filming: Love You Till Tuesday
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.