Teenage Wildlife

The Vevey Cuckoo House


In 1983, Mike Arrow went to Switzerland to search out the "cuckoo clock" house (as Angie Bowie described it in her book). By that time Bowie had long since moved out, but he tells the following story to go with the pictures.

Bowie residence in Vevey, Switzerland

The house in the pictures is the house we searched for and found, and it is (was) David's house (referred to by Angie in her first book as "the cuckoo's clock". Inside the house we could of course see the big stairs where she once fell also.

The house is (was) located in Blonay, Vevey (Switzerland), and since David was not home but had just moved out (it looked like the house was only recently abandoned) you will have to ask David himself to verify my photos of the building.

But we managed to talk to a few neighbours, and they had some stories to tell! Like when David lived there - "They were sleeping until the afternoon, hardly ever visible, looking very odd" etc. Also, the person who guided us to the house knew his surroundings, so there is no doubt at all. Particularly if we consider the fact that me and my friend found some stuff left behind in the house which could not have belonged to anyone else but David: the house was empty except for a lot of trash left behind, not very tidy or clean, and we found among other things a couple of notebooks with info about household management etc, things like food shopping lists (what was to be bought for David etc), and also some other "more interesting notes" like postal receipts for sending master tapes to England (one note I remember now was for the Boys Keep Swinging video to be sent to England, or it may have been the audio tapes, I don't remember).

Bowie residence in Vevey, Switzerland Bowie residence in Vevey, Switzerland

So how did I end up there in the first place? Well, me and my Bowie friend at the time, we simply decided to go there, no matter what. And I had my new Bowie painting with me, hoping to be able to hand it over to David. The only thing we actually knew when we went, was that the house was located in Vevey. So for several days we struggled on our own, not finding anything, and we had heard that david had got himself a new house in Lausanne, so we went there and searched by foot also! Didn't find it, but we found the office of the person who was David's lawyer at the time, and I managed to hand him over the painting, which he promised to give to David. I think we got the info on the lawyer from another friend who had been in Lausanne earlier that year (1983). This was Christmas time so we were very lucky to accomplish all this at all!

Then we became aquainted with someone working at our hotel in Vevey, and he contacted a friend who ultimately guided us to the house in Blonay. We also paid the Chaplin residence a visit, but a "friendly" butler told us we could not meet with Ooona.

And I obviously have to admit that we broke into David's empty house; no one lived there, it was obvious that we would not disturb anyone in particular. We were rather afraid of possible burglar alarms etc, but so what: we had travelled by train all the way from Sweden to see this, and we could hardly leave without looking inside.

I have several more photos of the house and of the Vevey surroundings. As you can understand, I have been thinking about my painting for all these years, wondering if David ever got it... well, with todays Internet technology, he may see it or recognize it from some website instead.

...Two days before New Year's Eve, we took the train for London - the second goal of our Bowie Journey - with the aim to find Heddon Street. Which we did, on the evening of New Year's Day, and there we took that pic of me on Ziggy Street.

Mike hangs out at the KWest sign in London

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This document last updated Friday, 22-Mar-2002 23:04:45 EST
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