In 1984, British journalist Arthur Stuart investigates the career of 1970s glam superstar Brian Slade, who was heavily influenced in his early years by hard-living and rebellious American singer Curt Wild.

Mandy: "You live in terror of not being misunderstood.
Brian Slade: Man is least himself when he talks in his own person... Give him a mask and he'll tell you the truth.
Curt Wild: We set out to change the world... ended up just changing ourselves.
Arthur Stuart: What's wrong with that?
Curt Wild: Nothing, if you don't look at the world.
Cecil: Style always wins out in the end.
Curt Wild: The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold. The curves of your lips rewrite history.
Cecil: According to legend, when Curt was 13 he was discovered in the family loo at the service of his older brother, and was promptly sent off for eighteen months of electric shock treatment. It was guaranteed the treatment would fry the fairy clean out of him, but all it did was make him go bonkers whenever he heard an electric guitar.
Jerry Divine: That man sitting over there in the white suit... is the biggest thing to come out of this country sinced sliced Beatles.
Cecil: [talking about Brian] He was elegance walking arm in arm with a lie.
Mandy Slade: It's funny how beautiful people are when they're walking out the door.
Mandy: Now, just because someone sees, you know, two naked people asleep in bed together, it doesn't necessarily prove sex was involved. It does, however, make for a very strong case.
Mandy: Today, there'd be fighting in the streets. But in 1972, it was more like dancing.
Arthur, Curt Wild: I will mangle your mind.
Curt Wild: Excuse me, fellas, while I raise my glass to the loveliest man in Europe.
Brian Slade: And they tell you it's not natural.
Mandy Slade: I needn't mention how essential dreaming is to the character of the rock star.
Brian Slade: Ha! Nothing makes one so vain as being told one is a sinner!
Mod Girlfriend: So what are you, modder or rocker?
Brian Slade: Six of one, half a dozen of the other, really.
[after Curt Wild has exposed himself to an audience]
Brian Slade: They despised him.
Mandy Slade: Yeah...
Brian Slade: Wish I'd though of it.
Brian Slade: [meets Curt for first time at bar] I just wanted to say... I think your music is tops, really smashing, the best of the lot.
Curt Wild: [Curt lifts head] Smashing, top hole, jolly old...
[Curt's head falls back and he passes out]
Reporter: Tell us, Brian, are the rumors true when they say you and Curt Wild have some sort of plans up your sleeve?
Brian Slade: Oh yes. Quite soon we actually plan to take over the world!
Brian Slade: Rock and Roll is a prostitute, it should be tarted up.
Curt Wild: Listen, a real artist creates beautiful things and puts nothing of his own life into them, OK?
Curt Wild: [sitting in cafe with Jack Fairy talking about Brian] I dunno... I dunno. It got too big I guess. It got too schizold, you know? I mean he thought he was Maxwell Demond in the end, you know? And Maxwell Demond... he thought he was God.
Mandy Slade: I was beaming, truly, like someone's mum.
Female Narrator: For once, there was an unknown land, full of strange flowers and subtle perfumes; a land of which it is joy of all joys to dream; a land where all things are perfect and poisonous.
Jerry Divine: Every great century that produces art is so far, an artificial century, and the work that seems the most natural and simple of its time is always the result of the most self-conscious effort.
Brian Slade: I should think that if people were to get the wrong impression of me, the one to which you so eloquently refer, it wouldn't be the wrong impression in the slightest.
Brian Slade: I knew I'd create a sensation, gasped the Rocket. Then he went out.
Brian Slade: [lying in bed in a coke haze] Woman defend themselves by attacking, just as they attack by sudden and strange surrenders.
Mandy Slade: [standing at the end of bed with head down] I lost my girlhood, true
[lift's head with tears in eyes]
Mandy Slade: but it was for you.
Reporter: So you're saying you're bisexual?
Guy: Yeah, I like boys and girls, they're all great! There's really no difference is there? Mr. BBC.
Mandy: What is true about music is true about life: that beauty reveals everything because it expresses nothing.
Mandy: I don't think I have what you're looking for.
Arthur: I think you do, actually.
Mandy: Oh, yeah? what makes you say that?
Arthur: That smile for one thing.
Mandy: Well, smiles lie.
Arthur: Exactly.
Freddi: The first duty in life is to assume a pose. What the second duty is, no one has yet found out.
Malcolm: I don't believe that there is much of a future to speak of.
Pearl: We're in a bit of a decadent spiral, aren't we?
Billy: Sinking fast.
Ray: Big Brother, baby, all the way.
Malcolm: Which is why we prefer impressions to ideas.
Billy: Situations to subjects.
Pearl: Brief flights to sustained ones.
Ray: Exceptions to types.
Pearl: And yourself?
Mary: I'm not really myself except in the midst of elegant crowds, in the heart of rich districts, amid sumptous ornamentation, palace hotels, army of servants, plush carpet under foot.
Mandy Slade: [voiceover on New Year's Eve '69] And on winding roads, in crowded clubs or hotel bar, this shipwreck of the streets rehearsed his future glory. A cigarette tracing a ladder to the stars.
Reporter: Brian! Why the make-up?
Brian Slade: Why? Because rock and roll's a prostitute! It should be tarted up! Performed! The music is the mask, while I, in my chiffon and taff - well - varda the message!
Curt Wild: Make a wish, and see yourself on stage, inside out. A tangle of garlands in your hair. Of course you are pleasantly surprised.
Brian Slade: There is suffering at the birth of a child just as there is suffering at the birth of a star.

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