David Bowie The Star Man and The Magic I Had On His Yacht ‘Deneb Star C’

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Ciao Tim, you know your friend David Bowie he is selling his yacht, I would like to buy it direct, my very good friend is a yacht broker but if I buy direct it would mean more money for Bowie – Flavio Briatore (Benetton Formula 1 Racing)

It was Cannes Film Festival and my film production company had among its team a man who worked for David Bowie and who Bowie said I would really get along with.  Bowie was right Robert Goodale and I did get along, he was smart, ten steps ahead of you when you told him about new technology.  As David Bowie never had any managers, or agents, he did have a great business team.  Goodale was the man who at one point you ran everything past, movie ideas, internet, investments, and if money was required then it went over to another person who would look at all the tax matters, and plan it all out and have money sent to you ( the subject of my next blog the man who will now look after Bowie’s $100 million estate).   David Bowie and Iman were in South Africa at the time and I was not really in the mood to go to Cannes, however Goodale insisted I come all of Hollywood was here and all the meeting could take place on Bowie’s yacht and I might as well make the yacht my base of operation in Cannes. So I called every film producer, writer, director I wanted to deal with and gave them the berth number of the yacht in port ‘Gare Maritime’ next to Palais des Festivals.

One night while walking around the Palais des Festivals with one of my film company Producers (YouTube interview with Jeffery),  Jeffery Taylor who do I run into but my entertainment attorney Ken Klienberg, his wife and daughter.  Ken Klienberg and I first met when I tried to buy the film library of Weintraub Entertainment Klienberg had worked for Hollywood mogul Jerry Weintraub . After the sale of the film library to another party (still a sticking point with me) Ken Klienberg and Bob Lange went off to start their own legal firm  in Los Angeles and I really liked them and so they became my attorneys and helped put a studio deal for my production company with 20th Century Fox.

Hi Ken, how are you guys doing on this wonderful evening? Would you like to come over for few drinks on the boat?

So we all decided to walk over and I sensed a great curiosity from Ken, as to what kinda of boat he was going to end up on with his wife and daughter.   Klienberg only knew that my film production company did not have an office that I rarely left my house in Laurel Canyon on Elusive Drive a dirt road.

As we got to the boat (yacht actually), the crew was all at attention, all tall, blond guys in their whites.  Now I had piqued their interest.  I did not tell them off course whose yacht they were on.  Soon after walking into the living room of the yacht, and looking at all the art on the wall, of this singer known to the world as David Bowie, Klienberg turned to me and asked, “Whose yacht is this?’, I casually said, “David Bowie’s”.

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Ken Klienberg’s daughter had been sitting on the carpet with her drink, and started to feel the carpet, and I’m not sure if she did or did not say “Oh my god, Oh my god, you mean to tell me David Bowie has walked on this carpet, oh my god”, but it pretty much went something like that. Jefferey Taylor seemed amused and in his British accent said, ‘calm down it’s only a carpet the man’s not even here”.   I offered to show them my bedroom and as I gave them a mini tour I let them know all the art on the yacht paintings and drawings were Bowie.  They took the time to appreciate what a talented man Bowie was.

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Hollywood is Hollywood, and when you are trying to do deals to make films then there are a lot of yachts you can go on and have meetings on, but the faces of people when they come on board Deneb Star C (named after the brightest star in the constellation) was priceless, after all this was David Bowie’s yacht it was not just any yacht.

Those film producers, writers or film directors who were not into women, what I’m trying to say were gay, would be constantly looking around at the crew and comment, “all these handsome men”, and I would tell them “It’s David Bowie’s yacht what do you expect everyone is gonna be good-looking”.

It would be the last time the yacht would be in Cannes at the film festival.  It was at this time that Flavio Briatore who was in Monaco for the Monaco Grand Prix on the Benetton yacht.  Briatore at the time was managing the Benetton Formula One Team and had expressed the desire to buy it Bowie’s yacht, he was in the market and wanted something bigger than the yacht he was on.  Bowie’s yacht was not going to be Briatore’s it had already been spoken for the deposit had already been made the team in New York was gonna close the deal.

One late night the Captain and I sat on the yacht drinking whiskey looking at old Cannes and talking, and oh the stories, you can only imagine .  While sitting on the yacht the Captain and I looked for Deneb Star C in the night sky and I said to him, “How small is the world, Mick Jagger has been on this yacht with Jerry Hall, Jerry Weintraub and now Ken Klienberg who looks after Jagger’s film company and worked for Weintraub.  Yes sir the stars are all connected like Deneb Star.

It was day before the madness in Monaco for the Grand Prix and I decided I would go see Briatore and so the Captain made the call; …

This is the Captain of Deneb Star C requesting permission for our guest to come aboard the Benetton yacht.

David Bowie would go on to write lyrics, ” Getting my facts from a Benetton ad /I’m lookin’ thru African eyes “.

While David Bowie has left us on earth I  can tell you where to find him just look to the heavens and at Deneb Star and you will find Bowie.

 

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Back to the future Mexico Grand Prix- Toronto to Mexico City story

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The Toronto Globe and Mail

 

A girlfriend of mine would listen to all my wild ideas,I would tell her about racing on the streets of Toronto, films, music concerts; then one day she asked me to come meet the people who ran her family company they made beer, and she walked me into the office of the late CEO Sid Oland of John Labatt’s. Sid had a passion for Formula 1 so he and I decided we should be slapping the name Labatt’s all over Formula 1,it would be fun and the parties would be unreal, the rest is now history.

In the 80’s I made some serious money it was relatively easy, considering that I worked with the richest man in the world in those days Adnan Khashoggi, a (YouTube I uploaded in case you want to know more how rich) Saudi businessman and arms merchant. As the richest guy in the world he knew everyone also rich, so I ended up meeting a lot of very wealthy people and ended up looking after some of their investments. Khashoggi introduced me to a race car driver John Graham a Canadian, who wanted to race on the streets of Toronto. None of the big corporations would sponsor this young Canadian. I have always had as my focus support the talent of Canada, so I sponsored John, and the team so he could race.

Later when I ended up meeting Sid Oland of John Labatt he actually got it when I told him marketing in racing really works. I told him “Sid, I spent $100,000 total to sponsor John the race car, had a great party at King Edward and took out a full-page add in the Toronto Globe and Mail (above); imagine what we could do with a Formula 1 Team and few drivers?”. I had one more thing going for me I knew the late John Craig Eaton, who inherited the T. Eaton Company and was on the board of Labatt. Eaton wanted to bring Formula 1 to Canada, loved racing, and liked calling me “Timothy” as that was the name of his father Timothy Eaton founder of the Canadian department store. So began a long relationship with the Williams Racing Team and some of the greatest Formula 1 World Champions.

In 1992, John Graham wanted me to come to Mexico City for the Grand Prix he wanted me to meet Giancarlo Minardi (picture of Giancarlo and myself in the garage was lost in Northridge quake when my house tumbled down); However something very magical and amazing happened in Mexico City at Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguez, naturally our Labatt sponsored drivers were on the podium, winning one and two for the Williams Team, Nigel Mansell, and Riccardo Patrese. While that was great something really amazing was about to happen, those moments in life that change the course of your future. A team in the garage next to Minardi came third called Benetton, and their driver won his first Formula 1 race ever in Mexico City he was German Michael Schumacher. A man walking down was in emotional tears of joy and I went up and greeted him kissing him Italian style offering my congratulations to Luciano Benetton, with whom I would later try to create ventures between Labatt and Benetton.

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My last time to the circuit in Mexico City was with race car driver Ryan Hunter-Reay whom I had sponsored with my Merlins drink company. Returning to Mexico City is emotional for me as I think of that driver I first met at the track and his current condition Michael Schumacher, and I recall the great times with Ryan Hunter-Reay who when I met him last I told him he was doing a great job in Indy Car and who said, “Would not have been possible without your help”.
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Walking around the paddock in Mexico City,the other day I would run into the current richest guy in the world Carlos Slim, he was really proud of the fact that the Mexican Grand Prix was back, the blog story I am sharing above I shared with him he smiled when I told him “Mexico City is just magic for me, just magic”. Will the course of my life yet take another turn? It seems it’s going in that direction.

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Carlos Slim photo by @SuttonImages

 

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