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"Siouxsie is now in public persona mode. Her mask remains intact. This dominates the evening. My friend is in there somewhere. Somewhere behind the gorgeous blue-black feathered hair, the make up that makes her face a glittering cold moon."

by Bertie Marshall


It was relatively easy to recover from the disappointment of Steve Strange's book launch earlier in the week. As I'm walking down Charing Cross Road nursing my ennui the mobile goes -- it's my old friend Siouxsie Sue suggesting we meet for tea the next day (I'm thinking vodka). I've known her for 26 years, but our paths rarely cross, the last time being a couple of years ago in a London hotel for a marathon vodka and champagne binge.

The next day passes: no message. It's only well after the Cinderella hour that Sioux calls to tell me she's had a hectic day shopping: "I went to Thierry Mugler and said 'Show me something stunning!' They couldn't!. Listen, my hairdresser Donald knows of a party tonight. Let's rendez vous at 8.30pm. At my hotel'' Click.

On the bus there to rendez vous Sioux calls again: ''Let's make it 9pm!'' I retire to a yuppie wine bar in Aldgate for libation. It's 9.15pm when I make my way to the hotel on Tower Bridge. Perching on one of the sofas in the mirrored foyer I chain smoke Gauloises Blondes. 40 minutes pass. I text her of my arrival. Another 10 minute pass. Then through the opening of mirrored lift doors come Budgie, Pam Hogg (woman about town), Donald the hairdresser and Madame de Ghoul herself -- my friend Siouxsie -- looking glamour incarnate: blue-black feathered hairdo la Keith Richards, sparkling eyeshadow, soft lashes, red painted pointed lips, dressed in black ankle strap stillettos of the softest leather, grey spiderweb dress, leather polo neck jacket, and a tight-fitting coat in grey and pink checks with pink plastic shoulder pads (Alexander Mcqueen, I think. She looks trim and radiant. We kiss and hug and kiss and hug as Budgie, Pam and Donald fuss about.

We're driven to the club in Donald's car. In the back, Sioux by one window, me by the other and Hogg in the middle. Girlie talk. "I'm not paying 700 for a dress I'm not sure about!'' Over the car stereo comes poppy days from The Banshees' second album, Join Hands. Sioux says ''Who's this? They're quite good!'' laughing to herself, we catch the joke! "Regal Zone" blasts out and Siouxsie does little Siouxsie movements squashed in the back of the car, miming to herself before demanding it be turned off. Suddenly, Patti Smith crashes on with "Piss Factory".

The night is one of eclipses...

We arrive at the club opening of The Ghetto and, like a royal coterie, are shown in before the mile-long queue. As soon as Sioux is spotted, gay boys lose control and flock over to her as do the photographers. - photogrpahers also.

Pop stars Neil and Chris from the Pet Shop Boys stop by for a quick bon mot. I can see Sioux is beginning to hate this. Gulping down her bottled water she looks at me: "I want to go, not my sort of thing,'' said through gritted painted lips. We shuffle out and I feel like I'm part of a royal parade. Onto the next club -- same story. her spike heel hits the dance floor step, she looks about, "No, definitely not!'", the entourage of six of us files out again. These clubs are Pam Hoggs' idea. Enough said.

Finally, after much walking about through busy Soho streets we arrive at a club called Cabaret -- I'm somewhat relieved. We're shown to a leather bunkette and more bottles of mineral water. Siouxsie is now in public persona mode. Her mask remains intact. This dominates the evening. My friend is in there somewhere. Somewhere behind the gorgeous blue-black feathered hair, the make up that makes her face a glittering cold moon. Brian Molko of Placebo comes over to kiss kiss. The evening is turning into that Banshee song "Jigsaw Feeling", everything scattered and broken. Sioux and I snatch bits of conversation about Bromley! She is truly a queen and one must follow and attend. Finally, we kiss goodbye on a freezing street corner, Budgie searching for a cab. I'm wanting at least one vodka before bedtime. Our final look is sad. What does it say? "I know you, you know me, time's moved on, with affection, farewell.'' I realise that our friendship will always be there but at a distance now.

PS Steve Severin -- the Banshees' bass player --is getting hitched on July 4th. Hope I catch the bridal bouquet.


Bertie Marshall was born in 1960, grew up in Catford, South London, dropped out of school to follow the Sex Pistols in 1976, and became part of the legendary Bromley Contingent. His first novel, Psychoboys was published in 1997. For more info read our interview with Bertie and visit his website.


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