Leigh Bowery first made a big splash when he was promoting Taboo with his partner Trojan in London in the early 80's. It was an incredibly trendy event, and people were encouraged to be as wild as possible. Pop stars Marilyn and Boy George were a great part of that scene. But who could be wilder then Leigh? In fact so wild that Boy George an old friend of his from those days actually portrayed him in the West End and on Broadway in the play Taboo.
Though I ended up becoming friends with Leigh, we the club kids of New York always worshipped and admired him. No matter what he always one-upped us in looks and in behavior. Michael Alig, the New York club kid King often had his roommate and nifty with a sewing machine friend Ernie Glam, copy the looks giving them a little twist.
I'll never forget the time, though I don't remember whether it was in New York or London. That Leigh took me in his arms and said "Goldy Loxxx you are fabulous!" to which I answered "No Leigh you are fabulous!" to which he repeated again "No Goldy Loxxx you are fabulous!" and I laughed and we had a dance. Like no other club personality before or after Leigh just demanded to be noted, and if it wasn't just for the outfit it would end there. But it was always so much more. His personality, his dance moves, everything was on huge scale! We all wanted his approval.
The shot above is from Shampoo at Limelight a party I used to host on Saturdays in 1991. When we brought him over for the party Peter Gatien, the owner of The Limelight was actually afraid of what he would do and we ended up paying him not to do anything. I guess he was sure he was going to attempt to re-enact the show where he did an enema before and then comes out and on stage actually projectile shoots the liquid at the front row! Gross yes, but once again he made sure everybody was talking about him.
These shots of us together were taken at The Limelight and at a house party I threw for Kenny Kenny at Waterside Plaza. As you can see Mr. Pearl a great friend of Leigh's is in the picture with us too. Pearl is a famous corset designer who has worked with many of the biggest names in fashion.
But Leigh always wanted more. I think he wanted to be a household name. Even though he was immortalized in paintings by the incredibly talented Lucien Freud (which now are worth millions), and he is probably the most photographed club kid of all time, it wasn't enough.
So one of his last successful endeavours was an attempt at pop stardom in his group Minty. Their debut single, Useless Man though banned from U.K. radio was a really solid House effort. The lyrics of course were over the top.
He certainly got a lot of press from it. He also was well known for his incredible club performance which was even taken to New York's Wigstock and featured in the film, where he gave birth to his wife Nicola. Yes he was married. She was his assistant and a great friend so I guess he figured what the hell.
But what didn't he do? He went on tour as part of Michael Clarke's dance company and he even sold some of his fashions here and there. But he didn't really want to. He didn't really want people to wear his clothes. That would have made them less fabulous, and you know what, he was right.
MINTY'S FIRST SINGLE USELESS MAN
On New Years Eve 1994 Leigh succumbed to complications from A.I.D.S. and we were all shocked and sad. He was so active practically right up to the last minute and had been really hush-hush about not being well. I mean the record came out in 1994 and he did shows in support of it just weeks before.
I'll never forget the impact Leigh had on me and my life will forever be enriched for just having known him.