1990s – part two

In the early 1990s David Bowie fell in love with the supermodel Iman. They first met at a dinner party on 14 October 1990, and were a couple within weeks.

Their first date saw them bond over drugs of a kind, although this time they were legal and relatively benign: afternoon tea and coffee. “I think I did something really corny the next day,” Bowie explained in 1993. “I think I invited her to afternoon tea somewhere.”

He told me he was so nervous he just said ‘tea’. He doesn’t drink tea, he never drinks tea. He had coffee!
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The couple married in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 24 April 1992, with a more public celebration in Florence, Italy, on 6 June.

Bowie’s new relationship led to a complete renouncement of drink and drugs, and he began referring to himself as “a former drug addict” in interviews.

Not all experiments end up in a discovery. Some of the drugs we were playing around with were a cul-de-sac. So many of us have been casualties and some of us have been fortunate enough to come back. But we shouldn’t be afraid to experiment.
David Bowie
Arena, May/June 1993

Bowie’s first album after his wedding to Iman was 1993’s Black Tie White Noise. Its second single was the title track, the royalties from which Bowie donated to Unity Hall, a former crackhouse in LA’s South Central. Unity Hall had been bought converted and converted into a youth centre by chat show host Arsenio Hall.

This man did something that was so cool. Long time ago I bought this crackhouse and we converted it into a center for kids, so they can learn computers and study different things. We redid it. And David’s come along now, and he’s given proceeds of the single to this house that I converted. And it was the coolest thing to hear. I found out a couple of days ago. Thank you, man. Thank you very much.
Arsenio Hall
The Arsenio Hall Show, July 1993

Also during Bowie’s appearance on Hall’s show, the singer spoke about his recovery from addiction.

I think the Serenity Prayer is something that keeps me back onto that course, very much so, yeah. I was very lucky.
David Bowie
The Arsenio Hall Show, July 1993

The Serenity Prayer was written by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, and was adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programmes. The best-known form is:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

In February 1992, while touring with Tin Machine in Kyoto, Japan, Bowie got a tattoo on his left calf. It was of a man riding a dolphin, with a frog resting on the man’s left hand. It also had the Serenity Prayer, translated into Katakana by the tattooist.

The tattoo on the back of my leg was done in Japan in, I think, 1991 [sic], as a confirmation of the love I feel for my wife and my knowledge of the power of life itself.

I don’t want to explain all of it as it has some very personal iconic references but it does have a dolphin and a Japanese variation of the Serenity Prayer among the content. I drew it myself and then had one of Japan’s few tattooists ink it for me.

David Bowie
(Source/year unknown)
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