Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Girl With the Mousy Hair: Hermione Farthingale


It's been a long time since I wrote a post about a rock woman (even if I only wrote about Heather Taylor and Karen Astley). Maybe it was because I had very little time lately. Anyway, I felt like writing another post about a rock woman and in view of my recent passion for David Bowie's music, it was to be expected that I would write about his first real love, Hermione Farthingale.

Hermione Dennis was born to a lawyer and grew up in Edenbridge, Kent. She studied classical ballet and took part mostly as a dancer in many films including: Inspector Clouseau (1968), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968), Oh! What a Lovely War (1969), Song of Norway (1969), The Boy Friend (1971) and The Great Waltz (1972). She also partecipated to several TV shows.

She met David Bowie in 1968 during the shooting of The Pistol Shot and the two of them danced a minuet with a group of other dancers led by Lindsay Kemp. Later David accompanied Hermione to Sheperd Bush's tube station: and David's first real relationship began. 
Afterwards David moved to Hermione's house (22nd, Clareville Grove), near Brompton Road, South Kensington, West London. The house became the base of the Turquoise, a band consisting of David, Hermione and Tony Hill, the Misunderstood's guitarist. Then they formed a new band, the Feathers, with a new member, John Hutchinson. Their first live show was on 17th November 1968. 
David and Hermione spent some weeks with four Tibetan lamas in Scotland.

Hermione decided to concentrate on her own career and she passed several months away from England to take part in many shootings. Her relationship with David began to fade away because of her several tours. In 1969 the Feathers made the film Love You Till Tuesday and then Hermione went to Norway to take part in the film Song of Norway in 1970.
During the shooting she met a dancer named Stephen Reinhardt and Hermione began a new relationship with him. In 1971 she joined the Welsh National Opera's ballet company.
David only saw her once ever since. He tried to get her back by sending her messages through his songs but, as he said: "It didn't work: I didn't see her anymore."

Hermione moved to Papua New Guinea in 1972 and there she married her boyfriend, a doctor who became an anthropologist.

She inspired the songs Letter to Hermione, An Occasional Dream and Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed. She's also the girl with the mousy hair of the song Life On Mars?.
"I was totally head-over-heels in love with her, and the breakup sort of demolished me... It set me off on the Space Oddity song."
David Bowie


Awaiting to record Ching-A-Ling, 27th November 1968



Hermione, David and John Hutchinson recording Ching-A-Ling at Trident Studio, November 1968



David and Hermione at the Country Club, Hampstead, London, 20th October 1968

Awww

With Horst Buchholz in 1972

Screenshots from the film Love You Till Tuesday





During the filming of Love You Till Tuesday at Hampstead Heath Park, North London, 26th January 1969


Images sources:
Youtube Love You Till Tuesday

24 comments:

  1. It was The Pistol Shot not The Gun Shot

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    1. Oops, you are right! Thanks for pointing this out, it's a mistake I made while I was translating the film's title from Italian to English!

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  2. You have a wonderful blog. Very creative. Come visit my Sixties and Seventies blog for a groovy vintage time.

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  3. this is great... this psychic chick i barely know contacted me on fb recently saying that i need to start a blog, i need to write, and that im meant to possibly write a book and that it will be intensely healing for me... i do write but i wasnt so receptive bc honestly most blogs ive come across are just...eh... this was super inspiring to me... "life on mars" is my favorite bowie tune and i was trying to think of a catchy title for a friends book i came up with "its a godawful small affair: traversing the road of spirit, sex, coffee, and chocolate" then i realized i dont know the EXACT meaning of the song- i have my own interpretation- at face value it is about the sort of pointless struggle of human density but for me i like to "big picture" everything so i think of it as someones soul looking (down?) at their human self kind of transcending the mediocrity... anyway- if this is how cool a blog can be im in..... if i could give you a cookie over the internet i would- good job :)

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  4. This is a surprisingly accurate account of some of the facts. Usually there is so much fiction. Thank you, Francesca! Hermione

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  5. "The hand that wrote the letter sweeps the pillow clean"

    Fantastic Hermoine that you re back in the limelight
    My best from Scotland
    BowieinDundee

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  6. She didn't have gray/mousy hair though...

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  7. Interestingly, David is shown briefly wearing a "Song of Norway" t-shirt in the video for "Where Are We Now". I'm not even going to TRY to analyze that.

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  8. It was bloody cold that day on location, prior our studio shoot in Greenwich. And the final decision had not been made, whether or not the new song 'Space Oddity' was the right finale for the 'Love You Till Tuesday' film.

    Ach, Francesca, when you think of the cover version filmed in a 'tin can' in earth orbit released today... words fail me.

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  9. Fantastic, Some really nice rare Photos as well, Thanks. M.

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  10. Interesting, i followed the link to your blog from lyricsmeaning- Life on Mars.
    Bowie seems to return to motifs developed early on, throughout the years.
    The lyrics from life on mars seem to be satirical though, she came from a wealthier background than Bowie, i wonder if that had an effect on tone.

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    1. I bet it did on her part..

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  11. Wow. I'm not trying to be mean, or anything, but it makes me wonder what he saw in Angie.

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    1. Angie was great for him back in '73. Once David got big, Angie became obsolete. Kind of like Hermione with David. Just a thought.

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  12. I've watched a few interviews with Angie. She seems to be a bit of an opportunist. And she seems kind of trashy. Like someone you'd meet in a corner bar. Very gruff and rude. I really do not understand that relationship at all.

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    1. I think Angie was part of the Ziggy persona. Bowie dropped a lot of relationships at the end of that time. Photos of Angie and Bowie/Ziggy show her as very much appropriate to the Ziggy look. Interesting that she has continued to be called Angie Bowie in contrast to Iman who said she was not married to David Bowie, she was married to David Jones

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  13. I cannot believe that he's gone. RIP, lovely man.

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  14. I wonder if he still loved her right to the day he died? Is Hermione still alive? Has she ever spoken of their relationship in the last couple of decades?

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    1. I know she is still alive she is a customer in a shop I work at

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. she was controversially divorced from the medic/anthropologist in the 2000s

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  17. I have the same Song of Norway T-Shirt he wore.
    I did wonder about Hermione,as I remember having a VHS tape in 1992,Love You Till Tuesday.It was only last year when my one of my other favourite artists Momus,brought out a song called(unsurprisingly)Song Of Norway.Fantastic song which I looked into.And then the penny dropped

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  18. He's reminiscing in the Where are We Now song. Berlin in the old days when it was divided. His Berlin when he was there. His assistant was there with him hence the other woman in the video. She's the director's wife. Bowie wanted someone who resembled Coco his PA for all these years. I do believe you never get over your first love completely. He knew he was dying at this point so it's only natural that he try and make sense of his life. Of course he still loved her. As for Angie, she's a child. Still. I think Bowie likes mother figures as partners. Who can cook and clean and make things nice nice while he acts the creative genius and stays up, and out?, all night. Iman, being an adult, set him straight. She was the best thing that ever happened to him. She didn't need his fortune and fame. She has her own. She didn't fall for the persona but the real man. I think he would've expired the old-fashioned way (OD) had it not been for Iman. But then, I'm only speculating. I know nothing. :)

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