Live: Three Tuns, Beckenham

David Bowie performed a solo set at Beckenham’s Three Tuns pub on 19 March 1970. It was his final appearance at the pub.

This was Bowie’s stag night. Earlier in the day, he and Angela Barnett had visited London’s Kensington Market where she chose a long floral wedding dress and he bought some black satin trousers.

After leaving the Three Tuns he and Barnett spent the night with artist and actor Clare Shenstone, who was also a witness at their wedding the following day at Bromley Register Office.

Neither David nor I had any intention of obeying the laws or observing the moral or social conventions of marriage; and rather than send the groom off on his last night as a bachelor to get drunk and make out with some stranger, we went off together and made love with a friend…

Our prenuptial night together, with a gorgeous dark-haired actress friend of David’s and Calvin’s, Clare Shenstone, had been great fun. We went to her flat for dinner, got tipsy, fell into bed together, romped à trois until we all passed out, then woke late and rushed in a panic to the registry office. I remember once stumbling back to Haddon Hall from the Three Tuns for a frolic with David and a folksinger named Tina, and a lovely evening with Dana Gillespie and her boyfriend Ken (my first fivesome), and I recollect David and me being tempted to take Mary Finnegan into our bed but not doing it.

We were young and free and this was London, ground zero for the bold, beautiful, brave new world; free love was natural, and simply what one did.

Angela Bowie
Backstage Passes

Angela’s recollection of sleeping with Shenstone, however, was later contradicted by the artist:

I believe I met Angie two or three times at David’s house but the first time I really remember her was when David and Angie knocked on my door early one evening and told me they were going to get married in the morning. They asked if they could stay the night at my place and then would I go with them to the registry office to be a witness at their wedding. So I said ‘Of course!’ and asked them in. Angie claims there was a night of orgy between the three of us. All I can say is we ended up going to bed early and as there was only one bed we all climbed into it. If any kind of orgy took place, I must have been asleep! We went off in the morning and I bought Angie some flowers. We met Mary, David’s mum, there who was the other witness. After the ceremony David and Angie rushed off and I went back home. Angie was quite a character and definitely not someone you would describe as shy and retiring. I liked her very much and we got on well.

As a couple they were not all lovey dovey, it was more of a partnership that was mutually beneficial. At that time David had begun to develop his career and needed someone to help him and organise behind the scenes. Angie was perfect. She took him on and was very much the image maker. She suggested he should dye his hair orange and wear makeup. I suspect she contributed to the making of his earlier transformations more than anyone. She was just what David needed and they were obviously very fond of each other at the least.

Clare Shenstone, September 2017

David Bowie plaque outside the former Three Tuns pub

Last updated: 28 March 2023
Live: University of Surrey, Guildford
David Bowie marries Angela Barnett
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