Marc in Paris 1974
According to Cliff' Mc Lenehan's chronology this events took place on saturday 5th July 1974. Marc left France the next day for Los Angeles.
This article is as printed in 'A
Thousand Mark Feld Charms #9''
I gratefully thank Gavin Ross for allowing me to reproduce it here.
ATMFC is available from Gavin Ross at:
Continuing the Parisian theme did you know that Marc also visited the French capital in 1974 and made the LIGHT OF LOVE promotional film there.
Music Star journalist Scott takes up the story..
Morning, Scott," said a friendly voice down the telephone. "We were wondering if you'd like to fly over to Paris for a couple of days to meet Marc Bolan. He's over there doing some recording and we know he'd be pleased to see you!"
"Paris . . Marc Bolan... " - I stammered.
"Er yes great...l'll take it."
"Okay, we'll see you at Gatwick Airport tomorrow morning then," said the voice, "Don't forget your toothbrush!"
And so my surprise hop to the most romantic city in Europe was under way. As I sat back in the jet the next morning, watching the English countryside give way to the blue of the Channel far below me, I still found it hard to believe. But half an hour later we were landing at the Charles de Gaulle Airport and I knew this was for real !
The inside of the Airport is all very spaceage, but once you get outside into the warm sunshine you're soon down to earth again. Marc's publicist and two other journalists were my travelling partners and we decided to catch a bus into the centre of Paris. It was a bit of a bumpy ride and the busy motorway into the heart of he city wasn't too interesting, but pretty soon our journey was over and we were checking in at the Paris Hilton Hotel !
Bet you didn't think I'd ever get to stay in a posh place like that.
I’ll let you into a secret...
I never thought I would either ! My room was on the seventh floor. I had a shower and balcony all to myself and the famous Eiffel Tower was just across the street.
Fantastic ! I even had a colour telly too ! I admired the view for a while then met the others for lunch.
We arranged the plan of campaign for the afternoon. The other two journalists would do their interviews with Marc that afternoon up in his private suite at the top of the Hilton. Then, at five, l'd meet him and tag along to see him make a special TV film to help promote his single LIGHT OF LOVE.
"Sounds fine to me," I smiled, and got stuck into a huge steak and a glass of red wine. After lunch (the French sure know how to cook) I went out on to the terrace and enjoyed the sunshine and countless cups of coffee. I also tried some of my broken French, on the waitresses. l'm not sure where I went wrong, but one of them clobbered me ! Must have been something I said. I never was any good at French at school...
Five o'clock and I'm knocking on Marc’s door. He opens it and gives me the usual friendly welcome. A laugh and a joke and a glass of champagne ! Can’t be bad, can it ? The T.Rex leader is looking a little tired and pale, but he’ll soon be wearing a sun tan.
I’m going to Cannes tomorrow ", he says. " It’s holiday time ! I’ve been working very hard since my British tour. The main thing has been the new album.
We’ve been recording it in America and I'm very pleased with the way it's turned out.
After a break in the sun I'm going back to the States to finish it. These things take a lot of time.
I think my fans understand."
A lot of people have been hitting Marc hard recently, but he's sure he's still got lots of friends.
"I've always been knocked," he smiles. "I'm used to it now. It doesn't matter what writers say about me. It doesn't hurt. I don't take them seriously. All that matters is what the T.Rex fans think and I know they still care about the band. They send me letters and presents and everything and that makes me feel good. I owe my fans a lot and that's why I've put so much into the new album.
I want to give them the best.
Something they'll really enioy."
We drain our glasses of champagne and get the lift down to the ground floor. Outside, a car is waiting to take us to the small television studio where Marc’s making his film. As we speed across Paris his mind is very sharp and alert. He takes in the street scenes and comments on the people we see. It isn't difficult to guess how Marc feels about Paris. He loves it !
But he tells me he hasn't seen a lot of the city since he arrived. Although he has now visited just about every capital city in the world, he hasn't seen a great deal of any of them. The trendy night clubs, superb restaurants, open-air street markets and impressive buildings of Paris are left unexplored by Marc. He puts so much effort into his work that by the
time evening rolls around he's just happy to relax in the comfort of his hotel room.
"If Marc goes out at night, it’s a real occasion," one of his friends tells me.
One minute he's clowning, the next he's all concentration, making sure he does a good job on the film.
He's here in Paris without his wife, June. She never travels with him these days when he’s working.
"At one time I tried to do everything at once, " Marc explains. "It didn't work out. Now I concentrate on one thing at a time. When I'm working, I need to be alone. June realises that. It may seem strange to some people, but in the rock business you lead a very different sort of life. l'm just lucky I found someone like June. Someone who realises that I have to put my music first."
The car pulls into the kerb and we stroll into the small studio where Marc is to do his filming He is in high spirits, joking with the French cameramen and the makeup girl. We're aIl feeling a bit hungry so we send out for some French bread and cheese and enjoy a snack. Then it's time to start work. lt's amazing how Marc changes. One minute he's clowning, the next he's all concentration, making sure he does a good job on the film. Needless to say, he does ! The pressure off, it’s back to jokes and laughter as we jump back into the car and head back to the Hilton. The lights are shining along the banks of the Seine now and the Eiffel Tower is illuminated too. What a trip!
Another journalist at the recording of the LIGHT OF LOVE promotional film was Tony Norman who later wrote this interesting piece reminiscing about Marc.
The biggest danger for any rock star is a loss of personal identity. Marc Bolan, whom I knew very well, was more than aware of the unreality of it all. I remember interviewing him in the early days of T.Rex, at his flat, in Little Venice. In the lounge, there was a huge poster of Marc, posing and pouting for the camera in mock ‘guitar hero’ style. My first reaction was to think that he'd taken off on the inevitable ego trip. But as we talked, he explained the poster.
‘I keep it there to remind me that the Marc Bolan people see on stage is just a character I 've invented. I don't believe in it. I don't believe my own publicity. If the day ever comes when believe in that guy up there, I'll have problems.'
Marc was a sharp, bright, witty man, full of ambition. It was a joy to see his fantasies becoming reality, in those early days. But as his success grew, so did the pressures.
In a later interview he told me:
'You're not always aware of how tense you are inside. I knew it would be tough, but I didn’t know how tough. The other day I was sitting here alone and suddenly burst into tears for no reason. I don't know why. Just pressure, I suppose. In my eyes, those pressures finally took their toll. Marc lost his grip on reality and came to believe in the guy up there on the poster. I met him for the last time in 1974 in Paris. His popularity was on the wane and there seemed to be a spiteful bite in his humour that had never been there before. Because we were friends, he invited me to the recording of a video, on the outskirts of the city, during the evening. He seemed to take a 'star' attitude to everyone involved. He had changed. In the car, driving back to the hotel, I goaded him about his slipping crown. His reaction was as sharp as my questions. By the time we got back to his room, the mood was right for a bitter argument. Marc told me to get out and I was happy to leave. But later, in my hotel room, looking down on the streets of Paris, I felt sad and nostalgic for the days when he'd call round at the small-time music paper I was helping to run. He was so alive then. So full of confidence and common sense. If the music world could lure Marc into the trap, everyone had better look out.
I never met Marc again. I was shocked to hear of his death in a car crash in '77. But at least Marc had came out of the depths, before his death. In the end, his personality was too strong. Friends of mine assure me that he was back to his old ways. Full of ideas, full of confidence and full of tongue-in-cheek humour. That’s how I like to remember him. Laughing at the poster on the wall.
see the same page in French
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