While getting the mood board together for our summer 2021 collection ‘760 Deathnal Green’ I watched again the film: The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976) with the lead role perfect natural casting of David Bowie.
The quirky, skinny, wall eyed, pasty, flame red haired topped off with an English accent was the prime candidate for this film. He was also for the benefit of art lets say 'spaced out' Bowie was using cocaine during the entire filming run and stated later in 1983:
“I’m so pleased I made that film, but I didn’t really know what was being made at all” “My one snapshot memory of that film is not having to act. Just being me was perfectly adequate for the role. I wasn’t of this earth at that particular time” (Rolling Stone magazine no 395 12th May 1983)
When I think of alien visitation to our tiny planet I think about the desert. I grew up with films; Close Encounters of the third kind, The 1996 VW Golf T.V advert of desert dwellers and of course the original Star Wars films all shot with a desert back drop.
Having visited technically all of the deserts in the USA bar one, there are pamphlets in grocery stores, motel lobbies for tourist alien adventure spots such as; Area 51, Giant Rock Joshua Tree to Marfa lights and the like. There very well might be aliens up there. In a way I’m kind of hoping that there are life forms up there somewhere keeping a beady eye on us all.
There is usually a large military presence in US based deserts, they are used as training areas as far as I know and a few along the boarder with Mexico for ‘security’. I’m not going to list them here, they're not secret. I just don’t want the pentagon tracking my every move.
There are constant alien or UFO sightings in the desert, one of Anglozines favourite podcasts is the utterly brilliant 'Desert Oracle' and Mr Ken Layne. Ken is full of facts and theories on UFO sightings in the desert around his home down there in Joshua Tree California. Anglozine is also indebted to the Desert Oracle podcast as its where we happened across Godfrey 'Doc' Daniels of The Mojave Phone booth.
We managed to track down Doc in the Arizona desert and ask him some questions for the latest zine, not to give too much away, but its where the '760' area code for this seasons theme '760 Deathnal Green' and Anglozines new fangled interest in telephone boxes.
I’m guessing though that the strange hovering UFO lights can simply be explained away as military manoeuvres? The desert also comes to life at night with its zero light pollution and crystal clear view of stars and constellations which some evenings can be quite trippy to say the least.
On the other hand if I were to hover down to planet earth all incognito style, the desert might indeed be a good bet. Deserts are truly vast from: Almeria Spain, Chihuahuan Texas or even Dungeness Kent UK (yes the UK technically has a desert) a little closer to home you’d be less likely to be spotted than say the Bethnal Green Road.
So in The Man Who Fell to Earth, Thomas Jerome Newton (a.k.a Bowie) fell to earth in New Mexico and spends time in Arizona and the Sonoran desert all beautifully shot by Nicolas Roeg. Watching it again I was reminded of the total feeling of otherworldliness of the desert that a city dweller is confronted by, it genuinely never ceases to amaze. The desert is far more than a big sand pit for the uninitiated, its akin to the beginning of time or how Carl Jung would have us believe the bottom of the ocean- thats deep man. The band America touch on this in their lyrics for 'A Horse With No Name'
'The ocean is a desert with its life underground, and a perfect disguise above under the cities lies a heart made of ground'
In this time of lock downs and grounded airlines; the mind-boggling opportunity to visit the US desert via Mars for some sunshine was why we reacquainted ourselves with this film and of course the always stylish Bowie. Its also the first time I'd ever seen him wearing shorts so we've named shorts after his character Newton (see his tennis shorts in the images below)
In our soon to launch Anglozine zine number 6, I also managed to get a Q&A with British artist Derek Boshier now living in Los Angeles an old friend of David’s since creating the cover of his 1979 Lodger LP. Keep an eye on the site and our social for the release of zine 6.
In the meantime here is our copy of Films and Filming magazine from February 1976 . The year that famous desert like heat hit the UK, melted the Tarmac in the street and the birth of Punk, bring it back!