Twenty First Century Boy had come out with massive pre orders in its “crucifix made of TV sets” sleeve (I got the idea watching the sixties film “Privilege”). It rocketed to number 20 in the charts.... and then suddenly, for the first time ever since we had appeared.... it stalled.

The head of EMI marketing telephoned me in Ibiza just before we left. I was already frazzled from the week’s events but it was the first time I had heard him slightly loosing his nerve.

“I’m dying out there” he said from his car, “I just don’t know what’s going wrong”. And I can tell you.... neither did I.

Moroder had done a brilliant job again with the 12” remixes for the single. But when the album mixes arrived we were freaked because it just was not how we saw the record.

We’d lived with our dream of the sound for two years, had it perfectly in our heads and this sounded... well... “weak” is the only way I could describe it.

My worst fears since that rushed moment in L.A. had come true.

Neal and I left for L.A again, after dropping Degville back in London because he and Magenta were about to leave for Japan to do press. What could possibly go wrong there?


A couple of hours before we are due to go on stage, drama erupts. Degville says he’s leaving the band and he’s not performing that night. I am dumbstruck. Why on earth..? How am I going to get around this one I think, a million possibilities running through my mind. But mostly I’m thinking WHY? Martin looks at me tearfully. To my complete surprise I discover that Martin has become romantically involved with a person very close to the band, but tonight the relationship has turned sour. Martin is a broken man, and I -- for once -- am at a loss for words.

Does that tell you more about me though, than about him? My complete and utter blindness to what is going on around me, so focused am I on the next move. It seems that everyone knew about the relationship for months except me. Happily the two of them worked out their differences at the eleventh hour and we played in front of the blood red pool to an ecstatic crowd who were -- thankfully -- completely oblivious to just how close they had come to hearing the band without the singer.

This episode reminded me again that I was not really a Colonel Tom Parker, or a Tony DeFries, manipulating my young charges with psychological and Machiavellian cunning. I was the brilliant ideas and marketing man creating my movie but I was certainly no good at being the director, too insensitive to control the actors, too lacking in empathy to feel who these people actually were, how they lived their real lives and what they ultimately wanted out of it all. I chose not to see, not to care about the real life stuff, having created the monster, I was too intent on keeping it alive.

Degville with Roman Polanski in Ibiza

Because of the massive expectation for the second single I got asked to appear on the Terry Wogan primetime evening chat show on BBC 1. This was a real big deal - all the major movie stars went on Wogan. It went out live to 16 million viewers nightly and it would be a real step up for us into mainstream television.

Maybe I could put things back on track, explain a few things I thought, and was secretly thrilled to be asked. My parents would be impressed at last... I was really nervous as I waited in the green room for my call.

Then I heard Wogan introducing me and my head was swimming as I walked into the bright TV lights. I could just hear him saying "and now in the tradition of Colonel Tom Parker and Malcolm McLaren......" Who the hell is he talking about?