BERLIN INTERVIEW - 06/07/03

 
 
 

Bertie (Berlin) Marshall, author of novels and plays was born in Greenwich, South London in 1960.  Attended various schools and   colleges before dropping out to become known as one of the members of 'The Bromley Contingent'.  Thanks Bertie for answering the following questions.

 




Did you have any musical ambitions yourself? (Petah)

Yes I did, I wrote and recorded a single back in 1981 with my band at the time called 'Behaviour Red' it was a weird psycho tribal poetry rant - sold 1000 copies and got played on John Peel's show!

Behaviour Red - Click Here For Bigger Scan

What were your favourite bands of the time? (Petah)

Roxy Music, Nico, Patti Smith, NY Dolls, Velvet Underground, T.REX, Bowie

Are you still in contact with any of the 'Bromley Contingent'? Do you know what any of them are doing now? (Petah)

I see Siouxsie whenever she's in town, Severin now and then, Simon Barker for tea and gossip - don't know about the rest.

The Bromley Contimgent - Click Here For Bigger Scan

Can you tell us the 'Dog On Lead' story? (Petah)

You'll have to wait to read Banshees biography for that and my book.

You have a book coming out, when is it due for release and what can we expect? (Petah)

It's called 'Berlin, Bromley' and fingers crossed it will be out next year... It's all about me in 1975-77 and captures my life and friendships, the scene as such of those years - It's funny, intense, sad and mad, hopefully with some never seen before photos of Berlin by Severin back in 1976.

Were you ever a fan of the Banshees music? If so do you have any favourite songs? (Petah)

Oh yes, 'Hybrid', 'Green Fingers', 'Suburban Relapse', 'Israel', 'Voodoo Dolly',
'Into The Light'.  Favourite album would be 'Kaleidoscope'.

Kaleidoscope LP Front Cover Click Here For Bigger Scan

Siouxsie has said that a lot of people were finding out about their sexuality back in the early days of punk. Was it that open and easy? Did you experience and degree of homophobia? (Petah)

Oh indeed, looking like I did at 16, think - Winona Ryder mixed in with serial killer Myra Hindley and you get the picture... It was dangerous and threatening to the general public the way we looked, once or twice I got attacked for the way I looked - bisexuality was vaguely tolerated, but queers not at all.

Do you think any of the bands/records from the punk era have stood the test of time? (Petah)

Very few.

Do you think there is any comparison with the punk movement and the later 'so called' movements of 'New Romanticism' and 'Acid House' Is there an affinity? (Petah)

Not that I can see - The 'Punk Movement' in the early days before it had the label 'Punk' had more affinity with the Warhol Factory and the Velvets - individuality at all costs - the 'New Romantics' were total surface, not depth or attitude and 'Acid House' was about as charismatic and glamorous as a crumpled paper bag

What was it like having Siouxsie as a friend? (Nightly Visitor)

She still is a friend after 27 years and 5 months... she's wonderful and never boring, edgy and fun, like a big sister!  I had a nick name for her once upon a time, called her 'Aunty Spooky'.

Siouxsie & Berlin - Click Here For Bigger Scan

Who in the music industry back then were there influences? (Nightly Visitor)

*Left blank

It's interesting to see influences, etc. Was anyone straight-laced and well behaved? (Toddicus)

Huh!

Did anyone have a "high profile" job or was everyone pretty much waiting tables? (Toddicus)

None of us had 'jobs', Sioux did a stint as a waitress, I may have cleaned supermarket floors, but being nocturnal sort of killed off any orthodox routine...

I've heard stories from other first gen punks about their being a scholarly aspect mixed in with the glam aspect of the scene -- I've heard that "sociological gems" such as 'Subculture' were passed back and forth and read aloud in club lines, and Sioux herself cites Heartfield as the influence for use of the swastika.  Were there any prominent academic/artistic influences that were discussed with any regularity within the Bromley contingent? If so, what were they? (Drkhntress)

Interesting question... We all had a passionate, perhaps naive interest in 'culture', films and music and fashion... Warhol, Pasolini, Burroughs... We all admired 'Pop Culture'...

Did Sioux and Budgie ever have any path-crossing prior to 1979? (Toddicus)

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Who did & didn't have a day job? Who got money from the folks and/or lived at home? And also how this affected the amount of time and money spent on fashion, drinks, and later on time spent on writing (FateWillEatYou)

I got welfare cheques that I spent on make-up, speed, and going out, clothes of course from thrift stores etc... Lots of time was spent in preparation for going out... I started writing in notebooks when I was 15 and called one 'Twins In Vomit' which I remember giving to Severin!

Was their a genuine social concern and a need for creative expression or >was it simply just youthful fun, or both? (Isaak)

It was a time of self discovery - we were after all teenagers.

Did you consider the Bromley contingent to be art revolutionists? (Isaak)

Not at the time - from the prospective of 27 years later - ummmmm yes.

Do you still like The Banshees? or is it more an old mates thing? What was the last thing you bought of theirs? (Tweedledon)

Yes... I have a promo of The Seven Year Itch I which is astounding.  I like The Creatures stuff a lot too, I'm looking forward to their new album, bits of which I heard last week and it's really inspiring and uncompromising - great - I only listen to stuff that moves me in some way - it's not an old mates things at all.  I'm a fan, why not?

What happened to the leash and dog bowl Sioux had for ya and can I have it? (TattDawg)

The dog got really fat and died, of course - it's leash and bowl are now in the annals of time!!! Woof Woof Woof.

What was the general feeling at the time with the group did you know at the time you were starting something that would grow and change music / art history and grow and branch off the way it did? (TattDawg)

Not at all!  It was a special time.  Which we lived, didn't think about it... we were in the right palace at the right time and made our contribution - blindly.

What was the social hierarchy? (Sereneghost)

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I know this sounds strange but ask him about little baby robins in tomato sauce?.....this is because I know Bertie. (Snowqueenkiss)

*Left blank

Do you know who the girl is that Siouxsie locks lips with in the Fear video? (Jaguar)

Winona Ryder? - Joke!

I have a question. Does Sioux think that there is any hope whatsoever for the music industry? (Mrs Shanks)

I doubt it!... and I don't think it's something that would concern her greatly.

Click Here For Bertie's Official Website