Trashy, Brassy, Blonde and Brassy
By Mike Morton, FRAME 1984
[The first time I ever met and photographed Divine was when he played Brighton on 24th June 1984. I photographed him and myself and two pals interviewed him afterwards for our fanzine "Frame" which we sold on the Isle of Wight. I started this fanzine as an opportunity for me to be able to photograph my favourite people, and it worked. Remember I was young then and our questions aren't the most original, far from it! I was more interested in the pictures! But I thought I'd share it with you anyway.]
DIVINE IS POWERFUL.
POWER IS THE PRINCIPLE.
REACTION IS INEVITABLE, FOR THE MAN IS BOLD, BRAVE, LICENSED TO THRILL.
PUSH ASIDE THOSE THAT WHISPER NEVER AND SHAKE IT UP.
WHAT MADE YOU START DOING THE DIVINE CHARACTER?
I've been doing it for about twenty years now, since high school. A friend of mine got a movie camera, John Waters who has made all my movies, and we just started making movies for fun, because of boredom basically. I grew up in a town where there wasn't much to do except eat, sleep and fuck, and that gets tiring after a while. So we started making movies and showed them to our friends and then around town and in colleges and people liked them (Divine laughs) there are some sick people around. All of a sudden we were doing college tours and giving lectures on acting, even though we had no idea how to act. But we had a good time, and Pink Flamingos became very popular. It was shown ight across America and eventually all over the world.
HOW DID YOUR FAMILY REACT TO YOUR SUCCESS?
Not very well at all. We didn't speak for ten years.
IS EVERYTHING ALRIGHT NOW?
My father has an incurable disease and I thought that if he died, and I hadn't spoken to him, I would feel really shitty, so I called him one Christmas about five years ago and we started talking again. Over the last couple of years we've started seeing each other agin. I even think it's helped him mentally, because I was an only child and we were all very close. They were really good to me. It doesn't matter what your lifestyle is, you can't forget your parents. They did bring you into this hideous world (more laughs). I'm not actually friends with my parents but they are my parents and whenever I'm near the place they live I try to drop in.
IS THE IMAGE YOU PORTRAY THAT OF A WOMAN?
I don't know too many women that are like that. It's more of a characiture, a party girl, a good time girl.
DO YOU PREFER FILMS OR MUSIC?
They're both so different. I started my career doing films. I love films but I also love being on stage because you can see the audience reacting to you and having fun. I've just finished a new film, a western where we ride horses and things. It's called Lust In the Dust and also stars tab Hunter and is produced by John Waters. That was fun to do. (was it really produced by JW? I never knew that... Mike)
IS THIS GOING TO BE THE RECORD THAT PUTS YOU IN THE CHARTS IN BRITAIN? (this was the week 'You Think You're A Man' was released)
I hope so. The others have all charted. 'Love Reaction' got on the main chart (number 65) and I've charted in other countries like Sweden, Holland and Germany, where I got gold and platinum records.
DO YOU GET MANY HECKLERS AT YOUR PERFORMANCES?
Yeah, but not bad hecklers. It's all part of the evening. I like to answer them back.
HAVE YOU GOT ANY PARTICULAR FAVOURITE VENUES?
Here. England is like a second home to me. i started appearing here about seven years ago. I did the Alternative Miss World film with Andrew Logan five years ago. He's a very dear friend of mine. The first live gig I did over here was at Heaven (Bernard Jay, Divine's manager, comes in and reels off a list of previous shows much to the bemusement of Divine). That's why he's my manager. I love England.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE THAT PEOPLE WHO COME TO SEE YOU PERFORM AND/OR BUY YOUR RECORDS ARE GOING TO GET OUT OF IT?
A good time, a few laughs and plenty of enjoyement. If I can make people laugh and they have a good time for a few minutes then I think I've done what I'm supposed to do.
OBVIOUSLY A MAN OF DIVINE'S BEAUTY MERITS THE EXTENSIVE USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS SEEN IN THIS FEATURE, BUT THE MAIN REASON FOR THE LACK OF RANT WAS SIMPLY THAT HIS DIVINENESS WAS KNACKERED AFTER HIS ENERGISED, ALMOST AMPHETIMISED THREE SONG SET, AND HAD TO GET BACK TO LONDON THAT NIGHT.
'YOU THINK YOU'RE A MAN' STRODE BRAVELY, EVEN MANFULLY FOR THE WANT OF A BETTER WORD, INTO THE CHARTS AND HEARTS OF A NATION OVERDOSED ON POSE AND COOL (oh yeah) OF WANKIE AND WHAM, AND TOOK TOP OF THE POPS BY THE JUGULAR, NOT LETTING GO TILL THEM 'VAINS' WERE DRY.
NOW DON'T GET ME WRONG, I'M NO SWEATY MIDNIGHT BOPPER, (I was though...Mike) BUT 'YOU THINK YOU'RE A MAN' WAS CLASSIC HI-ENERGY, THE ULTIMATE ANTHEM. DIVINE, A MAN, HE THINKS. A THREAT TO WESTERN CIVILISATION? I HOPE SO.