Queen Lear: The Celebrity; The Enigma; The Living Legend!


The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
The Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
The front of The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt.
The front of The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt.
The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
The Great Sphinx of Giza, Egypt
Egyptian God,  Ra, by Tutankhamun
Egyptian God, Ra, by Tutankhamun
Amanda Lear - "Super 20" album cover.
Amanda Lear – “Super 20” album cover.
Amanda Lear - Autograph
Amanda Lear – Autograph

“The Sphinx” – Amanda Lear

I wish I could be like the king
who said to his people: my friends
this is now the end
if we lose the battle
we shall live forever.
The people of the sun will remember this day
and give us immortality
long after I’ve gone
long after the sun.

I want to be like this king
But I can’t stand the pain
My friends
And I keep looking for all the faces I had
Before the world began.

I’ve only known desire and my poor soul will burn
into eternal fire
and I can’t even cry
A sphinx can never cry.

I am standing in the sun
I wish that I could be
A silent sphinx

Amanda Lear - "Brief Encounters" album cover.
Amanda Lear – “Brief Encounters” album cover.
"Amanda Lear Sings Evergreens" (Germany) album cover.
“Amanda Lear Sings Evergreens” (Germany) album cover.
Queen Lear!
Queen Lear!
Amanda Lear - "With Love" album cover.
Amanda Lear – “With Love” album cover.

eternally.
I don’t want any past
Only want things which cannot last
And I can’t even cry
Through God knows how I try
A sphinx can never cry
And sphinxes never die.

I’m famous or am I infamous?
It doesn’t matter much any more
Phony words of love or painfully truth
I’ve heard it all before
Appraisal or critics and even politics

A conversation piece

A woman or a priest

It’s all a point of view.
I am standing in the sun

 

Songwriters: MONN, ANTON

The Sphinx lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

———————————————————————————————————–

What is the Great Sphinx?

Source: http://www.ancientegypt.co.uk/pyramids/about/sphinx.html

  

The Great Sphinx is a large human-headed lion that was carved from a mound of natural rock. It is located in Giza where it guards the front of Khafra’s pyramid.

Legends have been told for many years about the Great Sphinx. These stories tell about the powers and mysteries of this sphinx. Some people even believe that there are hidden passageways or rooms underneath the Great Sphinx, but nothing has been found yet.

The beginning of one story about the Great Sphinx is written on a stele between the sphinx’s paws.

The story reads that one day, a young prince fell asleep next to the Great Sphinx. He had been hunting all day, and was very tired. He dreamt that the Great Sphinx promised that he would become the ruler of Upper and Lower Egypt if he cleared away the sand covering its body (the Great Sphinx was covered up to its neck).

The rest of the story is gone, so you will have to use your imagination to work out the ending. This stele was put up by the Pharaoh Thutmosis IV who lived around 1400 B.C.

This is part of the beard of the Great Sphinx. The beard was added during the New Kingdom– hundreds of years after the Great Sphinx was first carved.

—————————————————————————————————

Great Sphinx of Giza

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Great Sphinx of Giza (Arabic: أبو الهول‎ Abū al-Haul, English: The Terrifying One; literally: Father of Dread), commonly referred to as the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining or couchant sphinx (a mythical creature with a lion‘s body and a human head) that stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in GizaEgypt. The face of the Sphinx is generally believed to represent the face of the Pharaoh Khafra.

It is the largest monolith statue in the world, standing 73.5 metres (241 ft) long, 19.3 metres (63 ft) wide, and 20.22 m (66.34 ft) high.[1] It is the oldest known monumental sculpture, and is commonly believed to have been built by ancient Egyptians of the Old Kingdom during the reign of the Pharaoh Khafra (c. 2558–2532 BC).

Origin and identity

The Great Sphinx is one of the world’s largest and oldest statues but basic facts about it, such as when it was built, and by whom, are still debated. These questions have resulted in the popular idea of the “Riddle of the Sphinx,” alluding to the original Greek legend of the Riddle of the Sphinx.

Pliny the Elder mentioned the Great Sphinx in his book, Natural History, commenting that the Egyptians looked upon the statue as a “divinity” that has been passed over in silence and “that King Harmais was buried in it.”

———————————————————————————————————–

The Great Sphinx Facts

Source: http://sacredsites.com/africa/egypt/great_sphinx_facts.html

Facts about the Great Sphinx of Egypt

The Sphinx has been a symbol of Egypt from ancient times to the present. It has inspired the imaginations of artists, poets, adventurers, scholars and travelers for centuries and has also inspired endless speculation about its age, its meaning and the secrets that it might hold.

A Description of the Great Sphinx

  • The Great Sphinx of Gizais an immense stone sculpture of a creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. The greatest monumental sculpture in the ancient world, it is carved out of a single ridge of limestone 240 feet (73 meters) long and 66 feet (20 meters) high.
  • The Sphinx sits in a shallow depression to the south of the pyramid of the Pharaoh Khafre (also known as Chephren) at the west bank of the Nile River near the city of Cairo.
  • The rock stratum out of which the Sphinx has been made varies from a soft yellowish to a hard grey limestone. The massive body is made of the softer stone, which is easily eroded, while the head is formed of the harder stone.
  • To form the lower body of the Sphinx, enormous blocks of stone were quarried from the base rock and these blocks were then used in the core masonry of the temples directly in front and to the south of the Sphinx.
  • Despite the hard quality of the stone of the head, the face is badly damaged, and not only by natural erosion. The nose is missing altogether and the eyes and the areas around them are seriously altered from their original state.
  • Some scholars believe that the Great Sphinx originally had a beard. Pieces of this beard discovered by excavation are in the British Museum in London and the Cairo Museum. These pieces, however, may be dated to the New Kingdom times of
    1570-1070 BCE.
  • The Sphinx is part of a complex of structures that also contains the Sphinx temple. This temple, like the Great Pyramid and the Oseiron temple at Abydos in Southern Egypt, may also date from Pre-dynastic times.
  • Napoleon’s artillerymen have been blamed for using the face of the Sphinx for target practice.

The History of the Sphinx

  • According to orthodox Egyptology the Sphinx was constructed in the 4th Dynasty (2575 – 2467 BCE) by the Pharaoh Khafre. However, an accumulating body of evidence, both archaeological and geological, indicates that the Sphinx is far older than the 4th Dynasty and was only restored by Khafre during his reign.
  • There are no inscriptions on the Sphinx, or on any of the temples connected to it that, that offer evidence of construction by Khafre. The so-called ‘Inventory Stele’ (uncovered on the Giza plateau in the 19th century) tells that the Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops) – Khafre’s predecessor – ordered a temple built alongside the Sphinx, meaning of course that the Sphinx was already there, and thus could not have been constructed by Khafre.
  • A much greater age for the Sphinx has been suggested by R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz, based upon geological considerations. Schwaller de Lubicz observed, and recent geologists (such as Robert Schoch, Professor of Geology at Boston University) have confirmed, that the extreme erosion on the body of the Sphinx could not be the result of wind and sand, as has been universally assumed, but rather was the result of water.
  • Geologists agree that in the distant past Egypt was subjected to severe flooding. Wind erosion cannot take place when the body of the Sphinx is covered by sand, and the Sphinx has been in this condition for nearly all of the last five thousand years – since the alleged time of its 4th Dynasty construction.
  • If wind-blown sand were responsible for the deep erosion of the Sphinx, we would expect to find evidence of such erosion on other Egyptian monuments built of similar materials and exposed to the wind for a similar length of time. Yet the fact of the matter is, that even on structures that have had more exposure to the wind-blown sand, there are minimal effects of erosion, the sand having done little more than scour clean the surface of the dressed stones.
  • The purpose of the Sphinx is not known. Some orthodox archaeologists assume that it was a memorial to a Pharaoh or that it functioned as some sort of talisman or guardian deity. Other scholars, however, believe the Sphinx functioned as an astronomical observation device that marked the position of the rising sun on the day of the spring equinox in the time of Leo the Lion, which lasted from 10,970 to 8810 BCE. This interpretation is given support by the leonine shape of the Sphinx.
  • In 1798, when Napoleon came to Egypt the Sphinx was buried in sand up to its neck. Between 1816 and 1858, a series of adventurers and antiquarians, including Giovanni Caviglia, Auguste Mariette and Gaston Maspero, attempted to clear the sand from around the body of the Sphinx but were each forced to abandon the project due to the enormous amount of sand. Finally, between 1925 and 1936, the French engineer Emil Baraize was successful in clearing the sand to reveal the base of the Sphinx.

The Mystery of the Sphinx

  • Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) the ‘sleeping prophet’ had the ability to put himself into a deep trance. He stated in some of his trances that Egypt was the repository for records of the alleged civilization of Atlantis, about 10,500 B.C. This repository was an underground library, called the Hall of Records,” that contained the wisdom of Atlantis. Cayce claims that the Sphinx points in the direction of the “Hall of Records.” His reading states: “There is a chamber or passage from the right forepaw of the [Sphinx] to this entrance of the Hall of records, or chamber.”
  • In the 1980’s and 1990’s the Edgar Cayce Foundation conducted research in Egypt around the Sphinx to verify Cayce’s reading. Although researchers from all over the world have begun to look for this chamber with very sophisticated instruments, they have not found the Hall of Records.”
  • There are three passages into or under the Sphinx, two of them of obscure origin. The one of known cause is a short dead-end shaft behind the head drilled in the nineteenth century. No other tunnels or chambers in or under the Sphinx are known to exist. A number of small holes in the Sphinx body may relate to scaffolding at the time of carving.

The Pre-Dynastic era age of the Sphinx

  • Evidence suggesting a construction period for the Sphinx – greatly predating the 4th Dynasty – may perhaps be indicated by the astronomical significance of its shape, being that of a lion. Roughly every two thousand years (2160 to be exact), and because of the precession of the equinoxes, the sun on the spring equinox rises against the stellar background of a different constellation. For the past two thousand years that constellation has been Pisces the Fish, symbol of the Christian age. Prior to the age of Pisces it was the age of Aries the Ram, and before that it was the age of Taurus the Bull. It is interesting to note that during the first and second millennia BC, approximately the Age of Aries, ram-oriented iconography was common in Dynastic Egypt, while during the Age of Taurus the Bull-cult arose in Minoan Crete. Perhaps the builders of the Sphinx likewise used astrological symbolism in designing their monumental sculpture. Geological findings indicate that the Sphinx may have been sculpted sometime before 10,000 BC, and this period coincides with the Age of Leo the Lion, which lasted from 10,970 to 8810 BC.
  • Further support for this vast age of the sphinx comes from a surprising sky-ground correlation proven by sophisticated computer programs such as Skyglobe 3.6. These computer programs are able to generate precise pictures of any portion of the night sky as seen from different places on earth at any time in the distant past or future. Graham Hancock explains in Heaven’s Mirror that, “computer simulations show that in 10,500 BC the constellation of Leo housed the sun on the spring equinox – i.e. an hour before dawn in that epoch Leo would have reclined due east along the horizon in the place where the sun would soon rise. This means that the lion-bodied Sphinx, with its due-east orientation, would have gazed directly on that morning at the one constellation in the sky that might reasonably be regarded as its own celestial counterpart.”

Restoration of the Sphinx

  • Repairs to the Sphinx have been made over the centuries by the Pharaohs Tuthmosis IV and Ramesses II, and also during the Roman era. Restoration attempts have continued to the present time yet the Sphinx continues to deteriorate because of the relentless wind, humidity and the ever-increasing smog from nearby Cairo.
  • In the 1980’s, during a six-year period, more than 2000 limestone blocks were added to the body of the Sphinx and various chemicals were injected in the hopes of preventing its further deterioration. This treatment was not successful and in fact contributed to the deterioration. In 1988 the left shoulder crumbled and blocks fell off. Present attempts at restoration are under the control of the Supreme Council of Antiquities’ archaeologists.

———————————————————————————————————

Ra – The Sun God of Egypt

Source: http://www.ancient-egypt-online.com/egyptian-god-ra.html

Ra is the Sun God of Egypt. Many people call him “rah” but the correct pronunciation is “ray” (that’s why his name is also written as “Re”). He is considered the father of Gods, and was the most important and worshipped king of Gods.

Ra is usually depicted with the body of a human and the head of a falcon.

Ra’s wife is called Ratet and his daughter Hathor, aka Eye of Ra.

The Sun God

The sun was first worshipped as Horus, later as Ra. He is associated with the mid-day sun (other deities represent other positions of the sun).

The sun was the primary element of life in ancient Egypt and represented:

  • light
  • warmth
  • growth

This is why sun deities were very important in ancient Egypt.

Father of Gods

Ra is known as the father and grandfather of Gods. He rose in the beginning of creation and spit forth the first godly couple:

  • Shu (symbolizes air)
  • Tefnut (moisture)

They bore:

  • Geb (earth)
  • Nut (sky)

Ra bore several other offspring; amongst those was his son, the king.

The Symbolism of Ra

Ra embodies the Egyptian beliefs of order and truth.

In Egyptian mythology, he signifies the cycle of birth, life and death. That’s why he is known as the father of creation:

Ra is perpetually resurrected in the mornings, he rides across the sky during the day and at sunset he is swallowed by the goddess Nut, only for her to give birth to him in the morning.

The most common symbol associated with the ancient Egyptian God Ra is the sun. He is depicted in a wealth of symbols, but they all are formed around the theory of Ra representing creation and nature. Most of his symbols were shared with other solar deities, mainly Horus.

  • In Egyptian art, Ra is usually seen as a man with a pharaoh’s crowns on his head and a sun disk above it.
  • Ra is often depicted with a falcon head, just like Horus.
  • The winged sun disk: the primary symbol of Ra, a very ancient symbol that signifies the “Sun of Righteousness with healing in his arms.” It also represents the creative elements of nature.
  • Wedjat: (aka utchat, eye of Ra, eye of Horus) is a sacred eye symbol (see below).
  • Phoenix: Ra rose in the shape of a phoenix from the primordial ocean of Nun and landed on a single mound of dry land and then let the sun’s rays shine forth.
  • Lotus Flower: Ra formed himself from the chaos of Nun and emerged from the lotus petals.

The History of the Sun God Ra

The ancient Egyptians have numerous Gods in there culture and they feel that the Gods walk among them, invisibly on Earth. Ra is the most central God of the Egyptian Pantheon and doesn’t dwell on earth, but watches his children and kingdom from the sky.

At sunrise, Ra is a young boy called Khepri, mid-day he becomes the falcon-headed man and at sunset he becomes an elder called Atum. He travels in a sun boat and had to be defended against Apep, a giant serpent that tries to eat the sun boat every night.

Ra changed greatly over the course of ancient Egyptian history. In dynastic times he was merged with Horus and became Re-Horakhty. He then ruled over sky, earth and underworld and was the creator of the world.

Ra developed through the second and fifth dynasty. In the fourth dynastypharaohs were known as “sons of Ra”. Ra was upheld the most in the fifth dynasty, where he became more associated with the king then the pharaoh. Kings erected pyramids that were considered solar temples and aligned them with the rising and setting sun in his honor.

During the Middle Kingdom, Ra was more and more combined with other deities like Osiris and Amun.

In the New Kingdom, Ra became more and more popular, which resulted in a kind of monotheism.

The worship of Ra as a religious and cultural figure has significantly deteriorated over years due to the rise of Christianity.

The Eye of Ra

The Eye of Ra

The name has changed over generations but the meaning is still the same. The Eye of Ra was once known as the Eye of Horus or Wedjat. It is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and the divine royal power. It is a powerful force that is linked with the fierce heat of the sun and was passed on to each Pharaoh. The Eye is considered the all-seeing eye and protects the king and thwart off evil.

This Egyptian symbol appears on the Great Seal of the United States, and on every United States dollar bill. The eye within the pyramid represents Ra awaiting rebirth. Even though he is enclosed in the pyramid his soul remained alive and watchful, as indicated by the open eye.

The ancient pyramid texts state: Perfect is the Eye of Horus. I have delivered the Eye of Horus, the shining one, the ornament of the Eye of Ra, the Father of the Gods.”

———————————————————————————————————

Amanda Lear

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Amanda Lear (née Tapp; born 18 June or 18 November in 1939, 1942, 1946 or 1950) is a French singer, lyricist, painter, television presenter, actress and former model.

Lear grew up in the South of France and in Switzerland, and studied art in Paris and at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. She began her professional career as a fashion model in the mid-1960s and went on to model for Paco Rabanne and Ossie Clark among others. Around that time she met the Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí and would remain his closest friend and muse for the next 15 years. Lear first came into the public eye as the cover model for Roxy Music‘s album For Your Pleasure in 1973. From the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, she was a million-album-selling disco queen, mainly in Continental Europe and Scandinavia, signed to Ariola Records. Lear’s first four albums earned her mainstream popularity, charting in the Top 10 on European charts, including the best-selling Sweet Revenge (1978). Her biggest hits included “Blood and Honey“, “Tomorrow“, “Queen of Chinatown“, “Follow Me“, “Enigma (Give a Bit of Mmh to Me)” and “Fashion Pack“.

In the mid-1980s Lear positioned herself as one of the leading media personalities in mainland Europe, especially in Italy and in France where she hosted many popular TV shows. She had also developed a successful painting career, regularly exhibiting her works in galleries across Europe for the next three decades, and continued to make music, earning minor hits such as “Incredibilmente donna” and “Love Your Body“. Amanda’s 1980s musical output saw her experimenting with different genres and trying to revive her career by re-recording earlier hits to various levels of success. 1980s also saw her release two books: an autobiography My Life with Dalí and a novel L’Immortelle.

Since the 1990s her time has been divided between music, television, movies and painting. Despite frequent album releases, she failed to achieve success on charts with her music. However, her television career remained successful, with Lear hosting numerous prime time TV shows, occasionally making guest appearances in French and Italian TV series. She has also performed acting and dubbing roles in independent as well as major film productions. In the late 2000s Lear would reinvent herself as a theatrical actress, performing in long-running stage plays in France. To date, she has sold over 25 million singles and 15 million albums worldwide. Lear is also a widely recognized gay icon.

——————————————————————————————-

At the court of Queen Lear

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2000/dec/24/focus.news

A close friend of Salvador Dali and an object of rock-star desire, Amanda Lear kept her myth and her private life apart. Last week tragedy struck. Andrew Anthony charts her bizarre career.

Back in the sixties and Seventies, Amanda Lear was a stalwart of London’s demi-monde , an exotic name on the nightclub circuit. She was linked, as they say, with a string of rock stars, a kind of up-market groupie with her own cachet. Although never as well-known as Bianca Jagger or Marianne Faithfull, she was a regular fixture in the gossip columns. And then she disappeared. Unlike many of her friends from that period, she didn’t become a junkie or an embittered nobody, and she didn’t die. Instead she made it big in Italy.

When her name reappeared in the news last week, it was because her house in southern France, which contained a number of works by Salvador Dali, had burnt down. The house also contained her husband, Alain-Philippe Malagnac d’Argens and his 20-year-old friend, Didier Dieufis, a cat breeder. But in the reports the deaths of these two men seemed almost incidental, merely the surreal background to the main tragedy, the damage to a few surrealist paintings.

Thus the weirdness overshadowed the horror, as if to imply there was more to the story than a simple fatal accident. But then everything about Lear’s life appears to have been shaped by distortion and disbelief. Some observers have even gone so far as to suggest that not only was the former model and pop singer Dali’s devoted protégée , but also the late artist’s strangest creation.

Lear’s background remains a mystery. She has variously let it be known that her mother was English or French or Vietnamese or Chinese, and that her father was English, Russian, French or Indonesian. She may have been born in Hanoi in 1939, or Hong Kong in either 1941 or 1946. Once she said she was from Transylvania. And to this day, it is a matter of conjecture as to whether she was born a boy or a girl.

Lear came to notice in Britain shortly after she moved here from France in the mid-Sixties, when she hitched up with the Chelsea girl set that kept company with fashionable hangers-on. ‘The sort of people,’ says writer Jonathan Meades, ‘who once shared a line with someone who once shared a line with a Rolling Stone.’

Lear went one better and developed a friendship with the Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones. It was through Jones, according to Lear, that she met Dali in 1965. He told her she had a ‘beautiful skull’. Yet the story that Meades heard, and which followed Lear around London, is that two years earlier Dali had paid for her sex-change operation, which was carried out in Casablanca by Dr Bourou, who was at the cutting edge of transgender surgery.

Lear has never confirmed these details, although she was happy to trade on the notoriety they generated. ‘It makes me mysterious and interesting,’ she said. ‘There is nothing the pop world loves more than a way-out freak.’

Later, however, she denied she was ever a man, insisting it was never anything more than a myth to gain publicity, a PR campaign whose architect, she said, was Dali. Or David Bowie. Or herself.

April Ashley, the transsexual who had once been George Jamieson, a Liverpudlian seaman, has long claimed she worked with Lear in the Fifties at Le Carrousel, a transvestite revue in Paris. In her book, April Ashley’s Odyssey , she recalls a man named Alain Tapp, whose stage-name was Peki d’Oslo, later to become Amanda Lear. According to Ashley, Dali met Peki at Le Carrousel in 1959.

Whatever the origin of the relationship, Lear and Dali were to remain close for the next two decades. ‘I knew nothing when I first met him,’ she admitted before Dali’s death. ‘He taught me to see things through his eyes.’ Between summer stints at Dali’s home in Cadaques, she would return to London. ‘I was a bit disenchanted,’ she observed, ‘because I had just left a genius and found myself passing the joint with someone in the King’s Road who was talking nonsense about changing the world.

Lear, who once acknowledged her interest in one-night stands with the comment ‘five hours is all you need with anyone’, went on from Jones to move in with David Bowie. In fact, Bowie is one of the few men whom Lear has ever referred to as a ‘lover’. Subsequently she was also linked with Bryan Ferry, having appeared as the cover girl on Roxy Music’s For Your Pleasure album

For a brief period in the early Seventies, the glam-rock years, sexual ambiguity was highly fashionable. Lear represented what Freudians like to call the Other, and back then everyone who was anyone wanted a bit of the Other. But there was little space for Lear’s camp glamour in British subculture with the advent of punk.

By that time, though, she had reinvented herself as Euro Disco Queen. She credits Bowie with encouraging her to be more than a model, although she has said he was only attracted to her as an album cover. ‘I realised after a while that he was in love with a picture, not with me.’ Her first album was knowingly titled I Am A Photograph.

While she made little impact on the British charts, by the end of the Seventies she was a notable success in other parts of Europe with her brand of deep-voice disco pop. Lear’s assessment of her appeal was as cynical as it was clever.

‘In Italy I’m big because they’re all so sex-obsessed. In Germany I succeeded because they’ve been waiting for someone like Marlene Dietrich to come along ever since the war. I played on their need for a drunken, nightclubbing vamp. And I’ve won the gays, who are crucial because they have all the best discos, entirely because of the extraordinary legends about me.’

She also appeared naked in Playboy, in a series of photographs designed to end the rumours, and hosted a chat-show in Italy, where she enjoyed her most lasting fame. ‘I am,’ she explained, ‘the Italian Janet Street-Porter.’

With her ahistorical self-invention and ironic contempt for old-fashioned concepts like the ‘truth’, Lear has been in many ways the prototype of the postmodern celebrity age. Meades recalls her driving ambition to be famous, without any specific plans about what shape that fame should take: ‘She wanted to be famous for being Amanda Lear.’

Duncan Fallowell, co-author of April Ashley’s Odyssey, says that in his experience few transsexuals harbour dreams of being a ‘normal’ woman. ‘They aspire to this sort of glamourised ideal of womanhood.’ He also suggests that in making, as it were, a public spectacle of themselves, transsexuals often have a paradoxical need for an intensely private life.

Lear did find a private life with her husband, Alain-Philippe, a former record producer whom she married in 1979 in a ceremony in Las Vegas at which Twiggy and Sacha Distel were said to be the witnesses. Lear and Malagnac d’Argens settled in the small village of Saint-Etienne-du-Gres, not far from St-Remy-de-Provence.

When Meades visited the house in 1985, he described it as ‘a shrine to herself and, in a smaller way, to Dali’. He remembers Lear’s husband as a shy man who preferred to stay in the background, and Lear herself as very much in charge. ‘She didn’t drink or take drugs and she was very regimented about exercise. The impression I got was that she wanted to be in total control of her environment.’ But one woman who stopped by to see the couple was surprised to find such a domesticated setting. ‘She was really very homely.’

Having spent decades moving around, erasing herself as she went, Lear had found a permanent role at home. Now that home is in ruins and her husband is dead. While she was away on a brief trip to Italy, the life that she spent years carefully building, her real life, her private life, turned suddenly, and horribly, public.

————————————————————————————————————————

AN INTERVIEW WITH AMANDA LEAR

By Marco Pantella

Source: http://www.thegroundmag.com/amanda-lear-an-interview-with/

 

AMANDA LEAR:

TRYING TO PUT A LABEL ON AMANDA LEAR IS AN EPIC AND ARDUOUS BATTLE, LOST FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. FROM HER MYSTERIOUS ORIGINS AND DATE OF BIRTH TO THE LABYRINTH OF TURNS HER CAREER HAS TAKEN, THE LGBT IDOL AND MUSIC ARTIST HAS PROVEN HERSELF HARD TO PIN DOWN.

Je suis… Amanda! (I am…..Amanda!)

During a conversation in Paris at the iconic Hotel Meurice, Amanda Lear defined herself by her accomplishments. She has been a mouthpiece for the gay community. Her music from the Munich disco scene conquered the world, and she never slowed down after many decades in the show business (model, actress, writer, painter and TV presenter). I am curious to find out more about her flamboyant life, her latest adventure in theatre, and how she managed to defy time without being afraid to take on different roles.

London’s Swinging Sixties are over, Andy Warhol’s dead, and Studio 54 had shut his doors, but Amanda Lear is a woman with a strong and charismatic personality that never loses her focus and integrity. She may have been Salvador Dalí’s muse and had dated David Bowie, but she never lived in anyone’s shadow; she is the ultimate storyteller of her own life and an inspiring, self-made woman who can only be labeled with one word: Amanda.

Talking with a unique, deep, trademark voice that makes her songs strangely ambiguous and exciting, the first thing I notice about Lear is her enchanting smile, her pink birkin Hermès bag, and how incredibly fun she is. Sipping coffee and eating macaroons, she tells me her explicit video for “La Bete et la Belle” was shot in the same room where Salvador Dalí used to stay in when in Paris. She was excited to tell me how theatre recently filled her artistic career and after touring extensively with “Lady Oscar,” Amanda is now rehearsing for her upcoming show “Divina,” a comedy with costumes designed by her friend, Jean Paul Gaultier.

“It all started three years ago,” she says, “and it was love at first sight. My life will be on stage from now on and I hope to bring my show over to Italy and the UK as well, where, unfortunately, people still think of me solely as a singer.”

In her previous show, Amanda describes her role as “this hateful character just like Anna Wintour; did you see me on the catwalk for Gaultier? Doing it in front of her, Grace Coddington, and all those mean, fashion ladies have been a personal vendetta for me.” As outspoken as I expected her to be, this time around, she will play a successful TV presenter whose career is endangered. As the real Amanda, she will find her way back on top, reinventing herself. Amada as, “singing or hosting a TV show are just other ways to act. I never had a voice like Barbra Streisand; in fact, my career as a singer was more about acting than anything else.” When she talks about theatre, she does it with passion, but also with real commitment and respect. She says, “People need comedy at the moment. It is such a tragic, historical period so they pay to laugh, but I would love to play something more serious like Tennessee Williams as soon as my reputation as an actress grows.”

“When I act, I like to be someone else,” Amanda says, but also in terms of music, she changes her demeanor frequently. “There has always been music in my life. In France, they always put this label on me – ‘disco queen’ – and it bothers me because after so many albums, I would like to change and sing more melodic songs. People always like to shake their boots on the dance floor and that’s okay, but I titled my album, ‘I Don’t Like Disco’ for this reason.’”

To my surprise, she nonchalantly opens up about her new project, the first-ever Elvis Presley cover album recorded by a woman. I unexpectedly notice that she refers to herself in third person, just like Salvador Dalí used to do, and the conversation skips from music to her modeling career when I mention the song, “I Am a Photograph” and a vibe of glamour travels across our Louis XVI-style suite.

“It is one of the first songs I have ever written; when you do that job, photographers are always telling you what to do, and I felt frustrated because I like to express myself and you are nothing more than a piece of paper. David Bowie actually fell in love with me because of my picture on the cover of ‘Roxy Music,’ not with who Amanda really is. It is an awful job but you know, I was young and skinny,” Amanda says as she laughs with pleasure while recalling those New York City memories. “I was introduced to Diane Vreeland [columnist]. We talked business, but Vogue was only paying $15-$20 [per photo]. Lingerie pictures after 6 P.M., on the other hand, were paid double, so I said, ‘I go for it!’ I did not have this snobbish American mentality where everyone wanted to be featured in Vogue; I didn’t give a damn!” Besides, she was partying every night with Andy Warhol and friends at Max’s Kansas City, a gathering spot for musicians, poets, artists, and politicians. “Do you even think I could have been ready and spotless by 8 A.M. as they wanted me to be?”

Every part of Amanda’s life opens up a world of its own; but where did it all start? Ambiguity is a thick layer she has always worn and played with, but before even trying to remove it from our conversation, she honestly tells me about all these not-a-chance meetings. “Some people plan their career. I didn’t. Everything happened out of destiny. Destiny sent me Dalí, Bowie, Brian Ferry, Berlusconi back in Italy, do you see what I mean? I let destiny play its part without forcing anything. Thanks to Dalí, I met Warhol, Maria Callas, Rostropovich, people I’ve never dreamt I could meet.”

Amanda lived for 16 years with Dalí and Gala, and it was a perfect triangle. Dalí was in love with Gala. Amanda recalls, “They always say that I am Dalí’s widow but I am not! I am just the only survivor who is not dead or in prison to tell people about him.” As we laugh again, I try to understand who was “Le Dalí d’Amanda,” a book she wrote about her personal experience with the painter. Amanda says, “I met him when I was young, and he profoundly affected my life. He taught me how to provoke the media and make people talk about me. He was crazy all the time, and he looked like a rock star.” Amanda also clears something up on being his muse: “People do not understand that being a muse is a matter of being physically present. It is not about posing all day; it’s about sharing everyday life. He truly believed he was the best painter on earth, I told him I loved Picasso many times but he did not care, you know?” Could there possibly be anyone else she would have loved to meet? Amanda answers, “Leonardo da Vinci of course – he was such a mysterious and fascinating character like [Johannes] Vermeer. His [Leonardo] life is a dark question mark. And inventors like Einstein.”

Living a surreal life can make one want to change reality, and Amanda does it when she holds a brush. Her first real and constant love is painting. Recently, she had been involved in the exhibition on Salvador Dalí in Paris at the Centre Pompidou, and during the summer, “Visions”, was a retrospective of her own work at Milan’s Art Gallery. “It [paintings] never paid the rent,” she remarks sadly, “For me, it is like psychotherapy. Some people drink, others use drugs, and I paint. It helps me [in] dealing with my inner world, my rage, and my dreams and in order for me to keep a balanced life, I need to paint.”

I can almost picture her with Andy Warhol, discussing lithographic reproductions and Jeff Koons. She says, “He [Jeff Koons] does not even make one fucking drawing. Everything is so industrial at the moment and this is not art in my opinion. At least, Andy had an idea behind it. Painting is a very physical work, a long ritual, and I love it because you have to be alone in front of the white canvas. Show business, on the other hand, is all about teamwork.” What is Amanda’s favorite color? “Joachim Patinir’s blue. It drives me mad!”

Despite witnessing many changes in society, Amanda is not surprised by today’s obsession for youth and perfection, teenagers asking for a new nose on their birthdays, and even Madonna’s new pair of cheekbones. People heat up for news like Jodie Foster’s coming out.

“Many girls only care about the spotlight. They are manipulated and don’t want to take risks or deal with failure. This is why they all end up making the same music,” Amanda says. What does it feels like for a woman in a man’s world? “People always want you to stay the same way for the rest of your life. Why do we have to choose? Jean Cocteau was a director, a poet and a painter, but when I try to say this, people tell me ‘oh that’s different. He was a genius!’ It is frustrating when they limit you and this is why I titled one of my books, ‘I Am Not What You Think I Am,’” Amanda explains.

Would things be different in the next lifetime? She doubts it: “If I could choose, I would be a man. Women are still slaves in certain countries. For the next few centuries, I’d rather live as a man.” After joking about reincarnating into David Beckham, she continues, “Men though, do not understand that even a powerful woman has to be reassured and protected. We always feel unsafe, and this condition is terrifying.”
Childhood is an off-limits topic. “Nobody cares about it!” Amanda exclaims, “Am I 60? 70? It doesn’t matter. I don’t even celebrate my birthdays; it is a psychological thing pretending that age does not exist, but believe me it works.” Maybe absolute certainty is the reason why she emanates a bright energy that makes me feel like everything is possible. “I would have never believed it if someone told me that one day I’d sell millions of records. Can you imagine [that] with my voice? When I started on Italian TV, I couldn’t even speak Italian properly. It was ridiculous, and yet, it worked out. Now it is the same with theatre, but you never know in life. Maybe one day I will be a famous chef.”

I ask her how she would install an exhibition to represent herself. She says it would include one of her paintings, which is a huge self-portrait similar to the ones seen in royal castles. Amanda adds, “I hold a microphone in my hand as I wanted to say, ‘here is the disco queen you are talking about!’” It would also include a song, ‘The Sphinx,’ where Amanda sings about the desire to remain a mystery.

Sometimes, a closer look into an artist’s body of work can reveal the most intimate, 360-degree view of the artist’s mind, life, feelings, and identity. Most of the time, it happens while paying attention to a song that may not have been a global success, but it means the world to the performer. Amanda still remains as a mystery, “a conversation piece, a woman, a priest or a point of view” as the lyrics of “The Sphinx” indicates. However, there is nothing ambiguous about Amanda’s intentions when she looks into a person’s eyes and declares what really excites her is what tomorrow will bring.


——————————————————————————————————–

“The Sphinx” – Amanda Lear

I wish I could be like the king
who said to his people: my friends
this is now the end
if we lose the battle
we shall live forever.
The people of the sun will remember this day
and give us immortality
long after I’ve gone
long after the sun.

I want to be like this king
But I can’t stand the pain
My friends
And I keep looking for all the faces I had
Before the world began.

I’ve only known desire and my poor soul will burn
into eternal fire
and I can’t even cry
A sphinx can never cry.

I am standing in the sun
I wish that I could be
A silent sphinx eternally.
I don’t want any past
Only want things which cannot last
And I can’t even cry
Through God knows how I try
A sphinx can never cry
And sphinxes never die.

I’m famous or am I infamous?
It doesn’t matter much any more
Phony words of love or painfully truth
I’ve heard it all before
Appraisal or critics and even politics

A conversation piece

A woman or a priest

It’s all a point of view.
I am standing in the sun

 

Songwriters: MONN, ANTON

The Sphinx lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

 

So, let’s go back to where it all started.

 

“The Sphinx” is by far one of Queen Lear’s best songs – the lyrics included. A slow song – it still manages to convey all the vitality of grace and movement. The protagonist of the song is Amanda Lear herself. This is the mystical story of a person who is enigmatic obsessive but a Living Legend nonetheless. Lear has always been an extremely private and reserved individual – she wishes, till her dying day, to have lived a life shrouded in mystery. Yet, she wishes her name to be immortalized in the annals of Music History and so it shall undoubtedly be the case – I can foresee it even now! She compares herself to the Enigma that is the Sphinx. In her mind, the Sphinx thinks about the immortality of the spirit, long after one is dead and gone. The Sphinx is an inanimate object – while it can never cry; it can never die either. She displays humility when she states that she has known all the vices known to mankind – especially that of Desire and she concedes that she is a mortal in that respect. She has known of hypocrisy, deceit and betrayal in her own life and for these reasons, she would dearly like to sit herself down and have a good cry. But as a starlet and a celebrity, she has to forever put forth a smiling persona when she is in the public eye. She can never cry in public – but for sure, she will never die either – not for a million years, at least! She did very well indeed in comparing herself to the rock-solid Sphinx in that respect.

 

THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO AMANDA LEAR WITH MANY, MANY GRATEFUL THANKS FOR ALL THE WONDERFUL HOURS OF MUSIC.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s