You are a Mystery, It's so Confusing
March 13, 2006 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Amanda Lear is one of the greatest enigmatic personalities to emerge from the 70's. Known in equal measures for her disco hits (such as Enigma,Queen of Chinatown, and Follow Me WARNING, youtube link) and her affairs with David Bowie, Brian Ferry of Roxy Music (and thus appearing on their For Your Pleasure album cover) and Salvador Dali. Her past was hazy at best. The most debated aspect of her past (so prevalent as to be mentioned even in reviews of her paintings is what sex she was born (One popular telling of the rumor even claimed it was Dali who paid for her surgery to become a woman). Her more recent, very private life took a tragic turn in 2000 when her home in France burned down killing her husband, the equally interesting Alain-Philippe Malagnac d'Argens de Villele. [MI]
posted by piratebowling (17 comments total)
For those eager to get make a more personal judgment on the transsexual issue, here are Amanda's Playboy photos from the 1980's. NSFW duh

Also, those wanting to see a more clothed Amanda can watch this (youtube) video of her on stage with Bowie for a performance of Sorrow.
posted by piratebowling at 12:14 PM on March 13, 2006

Who didn't have an affair with Bowie in the Seventies? Both my parents did, and I recently jumped in a time machine, flew back to Studio 54, and slept with him too.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:21 PM on March 13, 2006

This may not be very punk rock to say, but the first side of that 'Sweet Revenge' LP is awesome.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:40 PM on March 13, 2006

Since I'm clueless, what problem do people have with youtube?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 1:20 PM on March 13, 2006

DieHipsterDie, I've just heard so many people bitching about "Oh, youbue doesn't work with me for x reason, warn me in the future" or "I'm so fucking sick of youtube links" that I just wanted the warning up to try to avoid that noise.
posted by piratebowling at 1:31 PM on March 13, 2006

I love Youtube. Works fine and they have the SCTV Fishin' Musician with the Plasmatics episode!

Back on topic.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 1:45 PM on March 13, 2006

excellent post---she was very proto-Madonna, no?

she had no talent tho (in music at least) ; >

i'd say definitely a sexchange, and if you see pics of her more recently she definitely overdid the breasts and face work.

the husband sounds incredibly interesting--the life he led was so common for previous generations (and his class).

i loved that crack about her crowd in London! "they did a line with someone who did a line with one of the Rolling Stones" : >
posted by amberglow at 2:43 PM on March 13, 2006

Forget it Jake, she’s a guy.
Interesting. Some folks are interesting because they’re interesting tho’.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:23 PM on March 13, 2006

Fascinating post - I love these glimpses of the wierd stories that actually make up people lives and worlds.
posted by freebird at 4:49 PM on March 13, 2006

she was very proto-Madonna, no?

A little, yes. But Cristina was the real proto-Madonna. Even down to the cover art of her albums.

Amanda Lear's great, though--even if she did/does have a voice like a cement-mixer. Queen of Chinatown is one of those songs I could die happy knowing it would be played at my funeral.

I don't have the book in front of me, but there's a photo in one of the Dali biographies of Dali with a young April Ashley and Peki d'Oslo. I can't tell if Peki became Amanda or not. I'm inclined to think so, but I suppose we won't know until she's dead, if then.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:41 PM on March 13, 2006

Amanda Lear -vs- Serge Gainsbourg. FIGHT!
posted by NewBornHippy at 9:10 PM on March 13, 2006

Not that I'd care either way, but she is so not a man. If she was, then it'd mean sex change surgery was far more advanced 30/40 years ago than it is today... Impossibly advanced. Perfunctory NSFW warning, 70's era pictures 1, 2, 3; 4, 5. That's not the bone structure of a male. And you just can't change a whole body's bone structure, can you?

She's just been very clever in spreading that rumour. And the raspy voice helped. Sly Amanda...
posted by funambulist at 5:18 AM on March 14, 2006

those are man hands, and her shoulders are wider than his, funam--and many men don't have manly bone structure either, nor do many women have typically female bone structure. As a matter of fact it looks very very much like early breast development in transsexuals after hormone treatments (NSFW)
posted by amberglow at 9:44 AM on March 14, 2006

Man hands? shoulders too wide? ok I confess I'm a man too then ;-)

I don't know, anything could be. Bone structure changes a lot individually, of course; but I've never seen a guy, or a transexual, with those hips, and waist, and legs... And the shoulders too, female swimmers' are a lot wider after all, yet they're still women.

But it's not just that. It's the way she played on the ambiguity. Just because she spread that rumour, or allowed it to spread, doesn't mean it's true. It got her a lot of extra attention and she enjoyed that. People fell for it rather easily due to her voice, her face, and most of all her attitude.

It's more interesting than knowing for sure anyway.
posted by funambulist at 10:35 AM on March 14, 2006

amberglow, Amada Lear's picture is actually on the site you liked to. (near the bottom, with the subtitle of Small Tanner V, started
hormones about age 19
posted by piratebowling at 1:02 PM on March 14, 2006

i thought that was her, actually--see, funam?
posted by amberglow at 1:05 PM on March 14, 2006

ok ok I concede :) but even if it's her, it's still a matter of conjecture: "The following ladies are all believed to be transsexual women"... No one knows for sure. I just tend to believe differently.

But mind you I don't think the 'is she or isn't she' is really that relevant anyway. She's been a familiar face on tv since I was a kid (don't really remember any of her music!) and that ambiguity did make her even more fascinating, but that's not really her main asset. Especially by now, or she wouldn't have been around so long. She's good, clever, witty, classy, one of a kind.

More trivia - this is her current partner. Nice couple isn't it?
posted by funambulist at 1:52 AM on March 15, 2006

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