Skip navigation

A dedicated home for music memorabilia, exploring the past, present and future of music archives. Find your own piece of the story.

Pages from Alan Edwards diary over two days in 1983

A life of Collecting from a music PR guru

Founder of public relations agency The Outside Organisation, Alan Edwards has represented some of the biggest music stars and individuals on the planet over the last 45 years. In the process he has amassed an incredible archive of precious artifacts, including photographs, memorabilia and personal items a few of which he shares with MAG_BTM alongside the stories that provide the all important backstory.

The list of those he has represented is too long to print here but has included the likes of David Bowie (for nearly four decades), The Who, Victoria and David Beckham, the NFL, Bon Jovi, Led Zeppelin, Amy Winehouse, Shakira, P Diddy, Naomi Campbell, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Michael Jackson, WME, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Iron Maiden, Headie One, Sir Paul McCartney, and of course The Spice Girls.

I grew up in an era when people had scrapbooks and cut things out and put them together. I started with football, taking photos and quotes out of newspapers and magazines, and progressed to music. It was a habit that stuck as I found myself in the centre of music. I realised that, apart from my addiction to collecting things, I was living through history of some sort.

Alan Edwards
  1. Motorola Phone

    In my keenness to communicate with the media I invested in one of the first ‘mobile’ phones. I say mobile, it was a massive great thing that looked like it had come out of a Second World War movie. You had to have a strap to carry it around as it was so heavy. Still, it meant that there was no dead time when walking to meetings. I took it a step further by turning it into a car mobile phone, which hadn’t really been invented then. I used to have this cumbersome object next to me in the car and then hang a wire out and attach it to a coat hanger on top of the old Merc. All went well for a while until I went into the car wash without thinking and came out with no aerial and a mangled wire.

    Image courtesy of Alan Edwards

  2. Bowie wheel of tickets

    This wonderful presentation disc is made up of tickets from every show on David Bowie’s massively successful Serious Moonlight Tour, and is one of only a few made. David was at an amazing point in his career. He had so much respect after Low and Let’s Dance was a lot more commercial. No one had any idea that Bowie was going to make a record that would be the biggest album for years. I wasn’t at every gig, but I went to a lot of the tour all around Australia and New Zealand. On tour, he would recommend books to me all the time, which was fantastic. There’s a lot of writers that I’d have never known without him. He was a teacher in the biggest sense of the word.

    Image courtesy of Alan Edwards

  3. Diary Pages – one from Friday July 1, 1983

    I started keeping diaries because you had to, really, and I’ve kept every single one from the past 45 years. I would colour things in, cross things out, that’s how I’d get through the day – it reflected my mood. Each page is like this – layers and layers of handwriting, lists, black signifies this, blue signifies that. Writing in different colours would bring me a bit of structure. These diaries are the product of doing a lot of things all at once, which is actually one of the keys to PR. This is an example page from my diary on 1 July 1983. Extraordinary mix of different things happening that day, ending almost casually with a reminder that David Bowie was playing Milton Keynes Bowl that evening. Note the need to call Mick Jagger before leaving the office.

    Image courtesy of Alan Edwards

I was also interested in things that really resonated with me and where the content connected. A great example was fanzines. I also liked magazines or artwork that experimented with colours, even as a school kid when I first came across copies of the underground press, particularly Oz magazine, where they were mixing up colours and print in really unorthodox ways. Now it wouldn’t seem so extraordinary, but back then it was revolutionary.

Alan Edwards
  1. David and Victoria Wedding Invitation

    What a great, wonderful wedding that was. Some people were snobby about it, but David and Victoria were just great. At about 6am the next morning, we sat down with Brian Aris who did the pictures for OK! Magazine. He was a real perfectionist, and he set up a laboratory in a field next to the wedding. Dawn was breaking, we were in a field – at that point you were still putting prints in water, the whole thing. David and Victoria came and joined us in dressing gowns, with the mist coming up and we went through all the pictures for the spread. It was great fun.

    Image courtesy of Alan Edwards

  2. Framed Naomi T-shirt

    I’ve had many adventures with Naomi Campbell over the years. One moment that comes to mind was a Fashion for Relief event in Cannes, 2018. From the second I got off the plane to when I sat back down again on the EasyJet flight home, my feet hardly touched the ground; it was vintage Naomi. She arrived in the South of France on the Friday afternoon, dazzling all before her as usual, and settled down for lunch at the Cap D’Atibes. I was in the slightly less glamorous surroundings of the Martinez Beach Club, with about 20 media from all over the world anxiously awaiting the arrival of arguably the most powerful woman in fashion. Luckily, I wasn’t on my own and was supported by the Karla Otto crew: Alex Werz, super Sonia and her team, Guilia, who later came to work with us in London, and Emmanuelle. We figured the problem was an unscheduled taxi strike which had brought traffic on the roadside to a standstill. I was busy pacing up and down peering in cars through blackened windows for the star of Fashion for Relief. And just when it seemed as if everything might fall apart, in strode Naomi looking resplendent in a white dress, glamorous and charming in equal measure.

    Image courtesy of Alan Edwards

  3. Photo of Bowie

    This beautiful print of David Bowie was taken by Geoff MacCormack who, as well as singing in the band at the time, was David’s school friend. He came to me after David had passed away and explained that he’d received this package of photographs in the post from David, without any real explanation, except saying to ‘do what you want with these, love David.’ Of course, six weeks later David passed away and George realised it was his farewell. Anyway, we arranged a cancer charity auction and had a little party at the Groucho. We raised a nice bit towards the cancer charity and George very kindly gave me this as a little thank you.

    Image courtesy of Alan Edwards

I also like the sheer drama of certain moments, often captured in tabloids. Anything from the Sex Pistols to the Falklands War, the Spice Girls, or even the Ukraine war recently. Everywhere, through my whole life, there have been piles of photographs, magazines, stickers, books etc and it’s just grown and grown.

Alan Edwards