ANGIE BOWIE, POPULARLY SEXUAL
POP.SEX — Popular Sexuality (Volume 1), paperback by Angie Bowie
Angie Bowie interviewed and reviewed by Coz the Shroom
POP.SEX is the master work of Angie Bowie, AKA Mary-Angela Bowie Barnett. She is a writer, of course, and a woman of many talents including acting, singing, songwriting, poetry, and political/social activism. She is best known, perhaps unfortunately so, for the years she spent managing the career of rock musician David Bowie, whom she was married to. She helped create the Ziggy Stardust persona which David Bowie is best known for, and spearheaded the androgynous nature of glam rock in the 70’s. She was part of the punk scene in Tuscon Arizona, a scene that was admired in other punk communities, I recall.
She is the author of at least four books, the composer of an independent CD album, and will soon release a spoken word album “Fancy Footwork.”
She also collaborated on “Cat Astrophe” a cat themed coloring book with artist Rick Hunt who is also involved with “Fancy Footwork.”
POP.SEX took Angie Bowie ten years to complete, and it’s full title, “popular sexuality volume one” promises more to come. It is authoritative and painstakingly researched, containing copious source material footnotes.
She has even penned her own translation of a poem by Jules Verne “To Morphine” and included it in a chapter about sexuality in the Victorian era (everyone’s favorite era when it comes to the hot and kinky).
Yes, this is a work that chronicles sexuality in a more historical context than you would expect. What makes it “pop” is that the many personas within this volume made notable achievements in some way throughout history.
So now we are able to glimpse into the cultures of the past and get an idea how sex was used. We read of the role sex and love played institutionally within these historic cultures.
The personalities which Angie Bowie brings to life in this volume are strung together in a seemingly endless stream of vignettes, supporting a greater cultural tapestry . Some people appear in multiple chapters– there are a great many references to Alexandre Dumas, for example.
The book begins in Cyprus, where Angie herself began, so you can tell right away that the things she discusses are very personal and important to her. She discusses religion in two separate chapters, one entitled, “sex and religion” and the other called “sex hating religions.”
Angie Bowie does a laudable job of illustrating social disfunction by examining male dominance and slavery, industrialization, overpopulation, and the rigid moral standards of the 20th century.
Artists and writers are discussed widely throughout. The last two chapters, wind it all up nicely by bringing contemporary LGBT issues into sharp focus
Gender variation is discussed in quoted passages by such noted trans-gendered persons as Jayne County, and the final chapter is an essay on bisexuality, which Angie speaks of on a personal and spiritual level.
Q: Many of the examples you give of people deviating from the mores of their time reflect transformation on a personal level, yet have had repercussions in the broader context of the culture itself. Given that sex shapes culture and culture shapes sex, do you think it is more helpful to social progress for the individual to express that sexuality in their personal lives or in public as activism, like Stonewall, for example?
Angie: “I don’t know how to respond to this. ‘ Sexuality as personal transformation’……the ability to be yourself is a necessity for most folks to reach their full potential. But then there are just as many cases where a repressed nature can be as effective as “Full Potential.” Without the Marquis de Sade we would have no understanding of the principles of sadism, without Georges Sand we would be less able to understand the full flowering of lesbian love; without Anais Nin we would understand much less about incest. Stonewall falls into a whole different way of viewing sexuality. This was a public demonstration that laws to curb the social presence of Gay men and women were unfair and unnecessary. The authors of books that isolate different types of sexuality are proclaiming publicly that these types of sexuality exist and should be taken into consideration when looking for motive or in trying to understand the personality of the folks involved. Thus I find myself unable to distinguish between a public demonstration like Stonewall or the publication of books that also provide the framework for understanding the different varieties of sexuality which abound. Sexuality linked with pain or torture is not recommended ; neither is sexuality where there are victims: rape of women or men that is the taking by force or the taking advantage of those unable to fight a greater physical strength as in children or animals. These types of sexuality are not consensual and therefore out of my field of interest.”
Q: Has there been a turning point between the deeply personal side of sexual change and the actively public? If so, where would you place that?
Angie: “Technology and the ability to communicate by text, vision or voice has changed the delivery of pornography and soon android sexual servants will satisfy the more rabid sexual devotees. Remember science has now proved that there is a default system in male wiring which assures visual stimulation and the inability to focus or concentrate when a man is overpowered by ample bosoms or long legs. The visual stimulus is what we now know really exists as opposed to a subtle mirage known to sophisticated courtesans.”
Q: Your research is expressed in an exhaustive, authoritative manner, with not much speculation. We do have a little about the theory that Jesus Christ may have been contrived as fiction in order for the Romans to pacify Jerusalem, but not much else. Do you have any thoughts on this or other speculations?
Angie: “POP.SEX is the collection of characters who I felt had contributed to our understanding of sexuality through the ages amongst the people of different lands and nations.. The message of love delivered by Jesus Christ, Buddha or the Dalai Lama is not sexual, therefore it falls out of the scope of this book. Jesus Christ never created a church. The franchising of Christianity is the work of the apostles/gossip columnists of his time those who wrote books contained in the New Testament.”
Q: I remember sharing a piece with you I wrote about Tahirih, the early feminist religious reformer of the Babi faith, and was delighted that you shared my admiration for her. Any plans to discuss her in a future work?
Angie: “I am always ready for more feminist reformers and Tahirih will be included in my future writings I am sure.”
Angie Bowie is also the author of “Free Spirit,” “Backstage Passes: life on the wild side with David Bowie,” “Bisexuality,” and “Lipstick Legends.” She has an album of music with Chico Rey, “Moon Goddess” and an upcoming spoken word album “Fancy Footwork.” Her poems and essays can be found on angiebowie.net
Author Coz The Shroom is a performance artist and practitioner of karaoke. He lives the life of a politically-active rural survivalist with his wife and child in the mountains of Ruidoso, New Mexico. POP.SEX is available HERE on Amazon.
POP.SEX promo video: