Angie Bowie: My life in a nutshell
The performer talks about her unconventional family.entertainment Updated: Apr 12, 2010 15:31 IST
I was born in Cyprus, where my dad worked for a mining company, and I remember the beautiful skies and palm trees, and lying in the crib. I knew my upbringing wasn’t normal from an early age because every three years we went back to the United States to visit cousins.
I knew travelling to and fro wasn’t normal but I loved it. My father had no interest at all in going back to America as he hated the way they treated black people, but my mother, who was a naturalised Canadian, loved the convenience of US shopping.
My brother was 16 years older than me so we didn’t have the traditional brother-sister dynamic. My mother was 42 when she had me so the only time.I spent with my brother was when he went to the same university as my dad in Montana when dad was taking an engineering degree.I didn’t feel the need to rebel as a teenager. From age nine to 16, I went to school in Montreux in Switzerland and it was heaven.
I went to England for the Easter holidays, Cyprus for Christmas and summer holidays, and I was delighted to have that independence. I didn’t realise how delighted I was until years later when I heard people talking about their experiences growing up. I didn’t have any of that misery and arguing. I just sidestepped that whole adolescent teenage parental friction.
I was 22 when I gave birth to Zowie, just over a year after David (Bowie) and I got married in 1970. I thought I was in control of heaven and earth, but you’re never ready for it. At that point in your life you’re given a thousand different identities. You’re a consumer,you’re a parent, you’re a wage earner, you’re a lover, you’re a confidante, you’re a child. I mean, it’s too much.
I haven’t heard from Zowie, or Duncan as he calls himself now, for five years. He emailed me but the relationship didn’t progress and I think reconciliation is unlikely. He is nearly 40, and if he didn’t bother to find me till now it’s a bit late. There is nothing to say.My daughter Stacia was born when I was 31, after I was divorced from David, and she was my gift to myself.
She was just a joy because I didn’t have the stress of a male irritating me, and I vowed that I would make absolutely certain that between her and me, there would be a clear line of communication at all times. I speak to her two or three times a day and send loads of emails.My father was disgusted with David for treating me so badly that he cut Zowie out of an educational fund he’d set up for my children.
Both my parents adored Zowie and Stacia, but as far as my parents were concerned they didn’t have Duncan – or Zowie – as a grandson because David made it quite obvious that he thought we were not important enough to be given any consideration.
Being a grandparent doesn’t interest me whatsoever.Babies are all right if they’re your own, but I’m not interested in other people’s. It’s something you tolerate because they are yours.
As for siblings, children, parents? No. They will irritate you just as much as you get older as they did when they were at their most obnoxious. My parents had no interest in spending a lot of time with me. They were busy doing what they were doing but they were not obnoxious. They were fabulous.To know more about Angie Bowie’s performances, visit aidsbegone.org