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COLIN MacINNES
Absolute Beginners


next Bowie book

Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1986 (© 1959)
(price: 2.50; 240 pages)


The blurb on the back:

It was the fag-end of a London summer in the fifties and change simmered below the surface...
The young and the restless - the Absolute Beginners - were busy creating a new world of cool music, coffee bars and freer love, as different from Mrs Dale and traditional England's green and pleasant land as they dared to make it.
Sharp, pungent, filled with the dreams and danger of city life,
Absolute Beginners is now a brilliant film.

'Prose as sharp as a pair of Italian slacks and as vivid as a pair of pink socks' - Harpers and Queen
'MacInnes caught it first - and best' -
New Musical Express
'The cult novel of the year' -
Sunday Times
'A book of inspiration' - Paul Weller


The book: Perhaps the most celebrated novel by MacInnes, who in turn was - with the exception of Royston Ellis - the closest that Britain got to a Beat writer. Centres on the Notting Hill riots.

The film: Widely panned for the very good reason that it was awful, director Julien Temple's creation gives us a musical version of the book. Suffice to say that it owes considerably more to the mid-'80s than it does to the late-'50s.

The role: Bowie is Vendice Partners, a shallow, insincere piece of smarm such as can only be found in industries like advertising and pop music. Unfortunately his portrayal is so accurate (complete with wandering fake American accent) that critics thought his acting was appalling. It wasn't - he was acting well, it was the character that was appalling.

The co-stars: The leads were played by Patsy Kensit and Eddie O'Connell, neither of whom made it in movies, with appearances by James Fox, Steven Berkoff and Mandy Rice-Davies. Not even Eddie 'Tenpole' Tudor and Lionel Blair can liven it up.

Most memorable image: Bowie dancing on a giant typewriter.

Star rating from the Radio Times Guide to Films:

Star rating from the Blockbuster Guide to Movies and Videos:

Star rating from the Virgin Film Guide:

Trivia: Bowie's title song made #2 in Britain, his most recent top 5 hit (still, it's only been 16 years, and counting). He also sings 'Volare'.

serious twilight


The Making of the Movie
The Beginners' Guide to
Absolute Beginners

HE, AN ACTOR
DAVID BOWIE'S FILM CAREER IN BOOKS

Man Who Fell to Earth
The Man Who Fell to Earth
1976
Just a Gigolo
Just a Gigolo
1978
Christiane F
H: Christiane F
1981
Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence
Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence
1982
The Hunger
The Hunger
1983
Absolute Beginners
Absolute Beginners
1986
Labyrinth
Labyrinth
1986


a brief resumé of Bowie's career

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