Translated for Wilde Life by Chrystel.
Royal Crown Lodge, Covent Garden, London on the 25th of July, 11am
Alistair Rowley hated tea with milk and toasts with marmelade but he had to get used to this very British tradition if he wanted to totally impregnate this country where he had the difficult duty to be the rock correspondant for a major Parisian newspaper.
His head was still loaded with fumes from the Bloody Mary soaked up the night before during one of those never ending high society receptions he thought he was still obliged to attend. He knew that this morning he was going to find it difficult to get started on the keyboard of the portable typewriter which was sitting on the small table he used as a desk. He will be late again for his paper and his boss was going to tell him off once more on the phone.
He picked up his diary from the floor which had probably fallen out from his suit pocket and he opened it at the page which interested him most,the 25th of July:
«Meeting with Kim Wilde at 5.30 pm at Rak records»,followed by an adress, it should not take him more than 10 minutes in a taxi to get there.
He had several hours to prepare the questions he was going to ask to the new British rock idol. He was determined to find a fault in this person who was too perfect for him.
He sat down on the red leather settee which was near the bay window, covered his knees with the dressing gown and started to read the press book about the new single from the «love blonde». The single cover showed her in a tight opened back black leather dress, with a seductive eye, and pulpous lips.
He did not take him a long time to imagine that the miss was probably not the sweet daddy’s girl that the other newspapers presented and he was going to prove it!
Saint Denis Street, Paris, 25th of July, 12.30 pm
Albert Mangain stood up from the broken straw chair which was near the dirty attic window of his under the roof flat, he put down the cover from the last kim wilde single, he walked to the wash basin, the only place with water in the room... he was hot.
He removed his pyjamas top and splashed himself with warm water. It was while looking at himself in the mirror that he realised he was nothing more than a poor news items correspondant for a local newspaper, and it was today or never that he had to put an end to this situation and it was his lucky day. He had the chance to become a rock correspondant in London, living in a Covent Garden palace and his name would be... Allistair Crowley !!
It was difficult for him to get an interview with Kim Wilde and even if he was not going to meet her for real, he will at least get the chance to speak to her thanks to a telephone number written hastily on an old metro ticket.
Of course his press card had made it easier for him but it was above all his nerve and his audacity which got him that interview. He looked at himself in the mirror with pride. Yes his paper was going to be like a bomb,he was going to make her talk,to dig out her past.
Then he was going to find one of those specialist magazines he was avidly reading every month, one of those magazines where the journalistes were always invited to parties where fine alcohol was flowing rather than bad tasting sparkling wine. Then he will be sexy, rich, loved and surrounded by beautiful women from the jet society...
Yes but this will be after the interview and he had four hours left to prepare it. During this time, he had to get to the Allobroges cafe to get some change and he will have to find a working phone box, rare thing in those days of urban violence.
He sits at the table which he uses as a desk, he throws away in the bin draft copies of a previous article about an insignificant news item, empties the ashtray, starts to write a page of questions gradually more and more insiduous and pernicious. It was important not to hustle Kim, in case she ran away. The scoop depended on it.
Albert Mangin had put on the only clean shirt he had, and he regreted that it was not ironed,but after all he was not going to meet Kim for real, and only his voice was important.
As he was doing his tie he shouted a «hello Kim» to his mirror which ignored him...
At this stage, it is important to say that the named Albert Mangin spoke English very approximatively thanks to his studies in a private college in Normandy and his reguler reading of the New Musical Express and the Sounds.
He was ready to come out now. Outside it was very hot and sticky and the view of several over heated people on benches made it evident .
The Allobroges cafe was desert, dark and without a patio, and only old retired card players were there.
Albert drank a very hot coffee quickly to give himself some courage, but he did not want to admit it, picked up his change and went outside hearing «goodbye journalist» shouted by the cafe owner.
Albert liked this cafe, the only place where his job as a journalist looked glamorous and where he was called sir journalist.
It was 5.20pm now. He did not have any difficulty in finding a phone box after
all, the third one was the good one.
He suddently become very sweaty as he was dialling the number. He had to start again three times - ten... nine, the tone, 44 then the seven numbers that had been so difficult to obtain, then a short ring, a sharp neutral voice which confirms the rendez vous... the fingers tight on on a paper covered with questions...
«Hello!! kim’s speaking , good afternoon.
Hello Kim! You just had a new single coming out called LOVE BLONDE with a sleeve on which you wear a very provocative dress. What are you trying to prove?
Oh,it was just a joke, it was just to have fun. It was not very serious, just a way of taking the mickey out of the blonde bimbo. Unfortunatelly a lot of people won’t understand the joke..
So no vamp? No aim to be provocative, hard for the first question. Albert is annoyed but he has to find the fault may be in her past, in her private life .
Could you tell me about you a bit more?
Well!! I was brought up in an english suburb, my dad (Marty Wilde) had lots of guitars and pianos. At home there was always music playing and very early we went to his concerts. I’ve always been in this environment, it came naturally and I knew that one day I would be a singer, funnily it was in music that I got my best grades at school. (She laughs!)
When I was 9 or 10 years old, with my brocher we recorded some backing vocals on dad’s records and when I was 16, I did a tour of the local clubs with daddy for a year. Then we stopped because my parents wanted another baby so I did my A levels and I went to art college. There I did some recordings with some friends but it was not the music I was interested in, I just wanted to gain maximal musical experience.
So then Albert could not believe his eyes, the little one was refusing to give him details and had just told him some kind of rock and roll fairy tale. A world where sex, debauchery, lewdness did not exist. He was really emotional... change the subject put her at ease .
Did you write lyrics at the time ?
No, not at this time, no lyrics and no music as well - on the next album neither, but it is still one of my projects for this year.
You seem happy with the songs written by your brother and your dad for you ?
Yes,we work well together and we don't have too many difficulties to understand each other, we know each other so well (laughs!!!)
A sort of family enterprise... But dont you have tense moments sometimes between each other? (Albert was bitting his lips with pleasure, was she going to tell him about feuds and disputes?)
Yes of course... but I believe these are creative tensions, very positive.
Nothing... total nothingness... Up to now, no shade to the ideal picture … the little one likes her family. Albert was a bit disorientated...
So in what is your new album musically different than your last two previous ones ?
Well! The first one was more experimental with the composing , the second one satisfied us less musically even if it contained excellent singles and did well. For the new one we have been more selective...
In what way do you get involve with the choice of the songs ?
A lot! In fact I'm the one who has the last word. If there are lyrics, a music or a subject that I don’t like, we go back to it... So I'm completely involved in what I do and that the advantage of working with my brother and my father. »
Albert was now sweating buckets... It was mainly due to the sun shining hard onto the glass of the telephone box, but it was also due to the feeling that somehow he was losing control of the interview... Now, no more hesitation was allowed, he had to jump in...
Are you satisfied with the image you give of yourself? Or in other words , who is the real Kim Wilde ?
Well, unfortunately, people don't seem to realise sometimes that I've got a sense of humour. A lot of things that I do or I say are dictated by humour. It's like this last single .. It’s a bit like a tongue in cheek. I like this image of the platinum blonde, irresistible woman, like any other woman does, but what I sing there, it is for fun. Because I've got a good sense of humour, I like to look at myself with humour, laugh about myself .
It's exactly what you are doing ,when you sing LOVE BLONDE,you come out singing « I'm a love doll » when your critics would accuse you of just being that, a doll. You protect yourself from the critics by singing loud what they think of you .
What makes me sad is that the public does not see in me who I am really … »
At this moment, Albert felt that the trust was settling in ,that he could soon discover who the real Kim Wilde was... It was going to be tight...
We can feel that you want to keep secret a big part of your personality, you preserve it just for your family. And you tell me that you are a funny person when a journalist was writing recently that you never smiled on your photos...
It is difficult to smile on demand , and it's not because I don't smile on a photo that I'm a sad person. But I've got several photos which prove that I know how to smile (laughs!)
Is it important for you not to tell everything to the medias ?
Certainly... I meet many journalists , and many of them continue to ask me with who I’am going out with or that kind of questions. So I answer them that I’am not here to talk about that. Believe me, you need a lot of patience to stay nice and not to tell them to go away .
Albert could feel himself melting away, he was profoundly ashamed, and with this his desire to have a scoop was vanishing... There was now a conversation that bizarrely, he was trying to continue so he could redeem himself.
Are you talking about a certain press which is more interested by the fact that you are young and beautiful, rather than by your music ?
Yes but I understand that, they have commercial obligations , they have to sell their magazines...
In fact it’s an overall problem with girls who do rock n' roll, such as Blondie, Pat Benatar or Joan Jett, we are more interested in their physique, their sexy side, and the articles are generally less about their music than if they were men. Would you not prefer being seen like a musician rather than like a woman who is being displayed?
No because after all , I'm a woman , a woman who does music but still a woman!!!»
A woman who’s undeniable charm is starting to affect the poor Albert.
And how do you place yourself amongst those other women I talked about earlier and who do rock n' roll?
I don’t place myself, I don't have to place myself in relation to anything nor anybody, I don't see the interest to place myself in relation to other girls who do music. I don't want to label my music, neither myself...
But how would you define your music ?
I don't want to define what I do, it’s a kind of music I like and that's all...
We have the feeling that’s an undated music, which is not related to a short lived style, neither to a particular fashion, it is why may be it is a success?
Ok... I don't get dressed fashionably, not really , the music is a bit the same, and anyway fashion changes all the time...
You seem satisfied with your career and more or less happy... Am I wrong ?
Not at all... I'm happy... »
Albert stopped the interview with the young woman , after finding out that the new album would come out in September...
Albert was walking head in his shoulders... Like somebody who was trying to protect himself from a sharp cold, but we were still in July , and he was not wearing a coat...
But he was annoyed, Albert, and for several reasons. First of all, because he realised now that he would never have a pied a terre in London, that he will never be a correspondent rock journalist and that he will never receive the honours of the jet set society. He was annoyed as well because he had been wrong about Kim Wilde and the shocking lunacy did not correspond to the real person.
To console himself a little bit, he was thinking that the story of Kim Wilde was well worth the one he wanted to write, a modern fairy tale crossed with a big family know how...
And after all, he had been a rock journalist during 20 minutes …