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'Lost' David Bowie Film Set For Showing
Rob Hakimian , January 8th, 2020 15:54

Professor Martin Richardson worked with Bowie on creating a hologram in the 90s, and has now put together some unused material in a new film

Still from Professor Martin Richardson's unearthed Bowie film

This Friday, January 10, the ‘Bowie; Oddity to Mars’ immersive show will take place at the planetarium inside Leicester’s National Space Centre. Now it has been revealed that there will also be a premiere of previously unseen footage of David Bowie as part of the extravaganza.

Professor Martin Richardson is one of the UK’s leading authorities on holography, and worked with Bowie to create holograms to promote his 1999 album hours…. He has recently unearthed some unused material on 35mm film from that shoot, which has been put together as a new video especially for the event.

The two met and became friends in 1994 at an exhibition called ‘Minotaur: Myths and Legends’, which featured some of Bowie’s work. The man himself didn’t show up until 10.30pm, and Professor Richardson recalls: “By then people were inebriated, but I wasn’t. My initial feeling was I related to him being a vulnerable artist, standing in front of his artwork with all these people surrounding him. So I went over to Bowie, introduced myself and we immediately struck up a friendship. I do remember at the time he was incredibly concerned that the works in the gallery were not hanging properly so we proceeded to go around and straighten all the pictures.”

After that, it was decided that Prof Richardson’s work with holograms would be “perfect” for Bowie’s next project, and he was whisked off to New York to spend a week in the studio discussing ideas. The two connected over their shared upbringings in Brixton and dry sense of humour.

“It was him jumping across lots of ideas,” Professor Richardson says. “He always had a notebook with him with lots of drawings in them. He also carried around an old beaten up cassette player, so if an idea came to him he would sing into the player. He carried an old WWII gas mask case containing his notebook, tape recorder and, of course, his cigarettes.”

They eventually shot the experimental 3D film in summer 1998, and Richardson remembers: “[Bowie] turned up wearing a green fur coat and he came up to me using his best Jack Nicholson voice saying ‘Are you okay kid?’ – he was always doing impressions. Then that quickly turned into a John Prescott impression.

“He got back on the sound stage and said ‘right, what do you want me to do’ and I thought ‘I am going to direct David Bowie, the super rock star I idolised as a boy because of Ziggy Stardust right through to the Thin White Duke!’ I filmed 30 minutes of David doing various poses and he could not have been nicer.

“Two weeks later we got the phone call from Virgin to commission 500,000 hologram inserts for the album hours….”

Unseen pieces from that session have now been put together in a film for the ‘Bowie; Oddity to Mars’ event taking place at Leicester’s National Space Centre this weekend, which will also feature a giant hologram and other delights for die hard fans.