The music PR legend Alan Edwards has told NME how David Bowie used to disguise himself in public during the height of his commercial success.

Edwards, who founded the celebrated PR film The Outside Organisation, worked alongside Bowie, as well as the likes of The Rolling Stones, Prince and Britney Spears.

He has now published his memoir, I Was There: Dispatches from a Life in Rock and Roll, and in a conversation with NME about it, he has disclosed how Bowie dealt with his fame in the early ‘80s.

“I met with him just after he had done [Nagisa Ōshima’s 1983 war epic with Ryuichi SakamotoMerry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, so he was being treated like a movie star — but also he had just been dropped by his label because ‘Low’ and ‘Heroes’ weren’t being deemed as good commercially as stuff like Bay City Rollers!” Edwards explained.

Alan Edwards with David Bowie and Iman
Alan Edwards with David Bowie and Iman. CREDIT: Press

“It was when I went on tour with him that it started to sink in how down-to-earth and charming he was. He’d turn up at our office in Tottenham Court Road and make coffee for everyone.”

“He told me his secret to not being recognised was to wear a cloth cap and have a Greek newspaper under his arm. That way if anyone ever questioned whether it was him, they’d look closer and think, ‘Well it can’t be… he’s obviously Greek’.”

“It was the same for interviews,” he continued. “We’d get the train a lot of the time, no first-class or anything, and you’d be amazed how many people would do a double take, then think: ‘Can’t be him, he’s just a guy sat with us going to Manchester’.

“An example of that in the book is how there was one time after a radio interview he had nothing better to do, so he decided to present the station’s traffic reports. He sat there telling people there were delays on the M25… and even to this day I don’t think anyone knew it was David Bowie. He was this extraordinary creative genius, but also a pure, disarming, nice gentleman.”

In other Bowie news, Patsy Kensit recently reflected on an interaction she once had with the icon, which she described as “the most erotic experience” of her life.

The actress has said that she was “completely in awe” of the singer while they filmed the film Absolute Beginners together in the mid-1980s.

“I was also deluded, imagining that he’d fall in love with me, and we’d run off. And of course, I was in a line-up of people where he just shook my hand and then went along the line, and I was crushed.”

“But then one day I was sitting in make-up and he popped his head in the door and said hi. He came over, picked up a brush and just started brushing my hair. He didn’t say anything – he just brushed it, then walked away. It was the most erotic experience of my life.”

I Was There: Dispatches from a Life in Rock and Roll is out now via Simon & Schuster.

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