Friday, April 11, 2008

Love on the Rox

Anybody recognise the Welsh cliffs visible on the cover of Roxy Music's album Siren (1975)?

The cover features a then unknown model Jerry Hall posing as a siren, a creature from Greek mythology who lured unsuspecting sailors to their deaths on treacherous rocks. It's an appropriate image as Bryan Ferry fell for the Texan beauty during the photoshoot in Wales.

Ferry had first spotted Hall in Vogue magazine and invited her over to do the album cover. She arrived from New York and spent the night in a London hotel. The following day she, along with Ferry and art/fashion designer Antony Price, took a train to Wales (the exact location remains a mystery).

Eventually they found a suitable cliff-top and Hall changed into her bikini. She attached wings to her ankles and with the help of Price covered her body in blue make-up. It wasn't a straightforward job. The hot summer sun caused the paint to run, and the glue which held her specially constructed costume together melted and stuck to her arse.

Ever the gent Ferry held an umbrella over her to protect her from the sun's rays. Apparently some local youths in a bright yellow dinghy hoved into view further complicating the photo-session. When they finally got the pictures they required the trio headed off to a local hotel to get cleaned up.

There, Hall stood in a bath while Antony Price attempted to remove the blue paint from her body. But no matter how hard they tried they couldn't scrub off the recalcitrant gunk. Ferry looked on with wry amusement. Fearful of missing the last London train they rushed to the station, Hall still swathed in towels and dripping blue muck everywhere.

Legend has it that while on the train back to London Ferry suggested she get properly cleaned up at his Holland Park house (not that cheesy old routine surely - I thought Bryan Ferry would be better than that). Hall consented and so their relationship began...

But where exactly are those Welsh cliffs upon which Ferry was smitten? For those of us who wish to cover our bodies in blue paint and re-enact the pop cultural moment it is torture not knowing. Observant geologists, your input would be much appreciated.