The Film – When and Why it Began Then

Q: How did you come to own the film?

Adrian: I suppose it is a bit weird. But so’s my life!

Mathematics and Atomic Physics at University. Then – after refusing to work on Atomic Weapons – designing anything and everything in the ‘real’ world.

Q: So how did that lead to the film?

Adrian: The starting point was something that caused a complete change of direction. The Marchioness Disaster.

In 1989 I was designing and publishing Model Agency books. For top Fashion Model Agencies – not Dinky toys!

It was great. Choosing from a sea of portfolios of the most striking women in the world. Designing the typography, layouts and covers to display the pictures, and convey the image and style of a particular Agency. High fashion, Street fashion, Avant – garde . . . 

The top Agencies in London. The top Models in the World.

My next book was to be for a new Agency run by Jonathan Phang. I met up with Jonathan and Lino in their offices behind the Albert Hall to choose layouts etc . When leaving, Jonathan handed me an invite. To their party that weekend. A boat party on the Thames.

Albert Hall Mansions 2022

It was the 80s. Life seemed good as I drove off in my P1800 – the car in The Saint TV series.

I don’t know why we didn’t go. But it was partially because I never do anything where I don’t have freedom to leave. Renowned for not attending ‘dinner parties’. 

Parties, yes. But restricted by seating positions?! Bars for me. Several in one night.

Anyway Sarah and I were dressed to go that evening. But never did.

Next morning Sarah was in the kitchen when I switched on the TV at the foot of my bed.

‘ . . . . Thames pleasure boat accident . . . .’ caught my attention as I sipped my tea.

Turning up the sound, the dreadful truth gradually unfolded.

Over the next few days, as bodies were found and names announced, it became clear that people across the Model Agency world were gone – or shattered by the experience. Jonathan had survived but Lino had drowned.

Initially, after a month or two, I tried to return. But couldn’t. How do you even start a conversation about Model Books when you know what they, or their close friends, have been through?

It soon became obvious. There was no option but to change course. 

Find something else.

One day, rummaging in a drawer, there it was. Contact details regarding a film. A film which included David Bowie. It had intrigued me years previously but I’d never had the time – or any knowledge of film.

That’s all I knew. But now, when better to devote a year to that?

Creating a film couldn’t be so different from publishing a book.

Could it?!

Marchioness – 22 August 1989

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