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Added 19th April 2024 by The Editor, Alan Wise Project

Featured in the following Online Exhibitions:
Don't Mention The Hacienda - The Adventures Of Alan Wise


Nico, Alan Wise, James Young

Nico - Icon was a film in 1995 and is now a DVD, but this is a rip from VHS which has been tolerated on YouTube since 2015.

The title has been used at least twice. Best known is probably Stella Grundy's play, first performed in 2005. But 10 years before that a German writer, Susanna Ofteringer, picked up several awards for this documentary.

It has maybe been overlooked a little because it is presented in German, but the impressive cast of interviewees includes Alan Wise, starting 2.08, and James Young, from 4.29, speaking English from Manchester in 1993, when they were about 40. Susanna joined them at a Pharoah Sanders gig at Al's Music Cafe on Oxford Road - a jazz club which was one of Alan's more successful ventures. Pharoah Sanders died 2022.

Alan says his first reaction when Mike Hince invited him to a Nico gig at Rafters was: "Who he?" But he became an instant fan of a magnetic woman who did not care if she died because "life was a bore".

James talks about the chaos of life on the road with "the Queen of bad girls" and says his motivation for writing Songs They Never Play On The Radio was to celebrate the uncelebrated side of showbiz - "failures".

But the film is mainly about Nico before Manchester - born Christa Paffgen in 1938; hit the big screen in La Dolce Vita in 1960; moved to New York and joined Lee Strasberg's acting school alongside Marilyn Monroe; made a single in 1965, I'm Not Saying; got introduced to Andy Warhol by Bob Dylan; had affairs with Lou Reed, Jackson Browne and Jim Morrison; then had a son with Alain Delon and a string of strange lovers in Paris and Rome.

Ofteringer interviews Christa's aunty in Cologne, Helma Wolff, and Delon's mum, Edith Boulogne, who brought up Christian Aaron Boulogne - known to Manchester as Ari, passed away in Paris in 2023. He says in the film: "I am not a Boulogne, I am a Paffgen."

Also interviewed is a prize character called Carlos de Maldonado-Bostock, who walked round Paris with a wolf on a lead and a fruity English accent and became a friend of Nico's. He says he could not stand Delon, who was "vulgar".

Main Nico interview seems to be from Barcelona in 1986, talking to Spanish tv while touring with the Alan Wise crew.

PS: Alan Wise and James Young also talk Nico, sound only, in a BBC documentary presented by Marc Riley in 2009:

Latest Discussion

“Still chasing copyright on this one but meanwhile there is a version on Youtube with English subtitles. Translation is a bit dodgy - suspect AI - but it's good enough to follow the French and German interviews and Edith Boulogne is interesting on Alain Delon and the son he never acknowledged ...
27 Apr 2024
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