Accused tells of 'Glitter-mania'
Gary Glitter has told jurors that his fans meant everything to him and that during the height of his fame, he would give them "anything".
Taking to the witness box to give evidence in his trial for historic sexual offences against young girls, the 70-year-old demonstrated his trademark wide-eyed glare and even beat-boxed to sound out one of his hits.
Recalling how he developed the wild expression, Glitter said: "When I was a kid, I used to squint and, you know what grandmothers are like, she would say 'open your eyes' - she was a very Victorian lady.
"Whenever she entered the room, I was very much (demonstrates wide-eyed look while looking around court room)."
Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC, defending, asked the singer about "fanatical" fans.
Glitter said after the success of his Rock and Roll singles, he had amassed a large male fanbase, but after the release of Do You Wanna Touch Me, that all changed.
"Then it changed into absolute Glitter-mania. I can't describe it was like 20,000 people at the airport in Melbourne screaming. Nobody could ever hear a concert, including me. Because they would just scream and scream and scream. That sort of went on to about '75."
He chuckled when telling Ms Bennett-Jenkins that to this day, fans wanted items as keepsakes of his.
"If somebody said 'oh I like that jacket,' I would give it to them, because that is how I feel about my fans.
"I feel like I want to give them anything because they have given me such a great life."
Glitter told jurors that by the mid-1970s he would walk on to stage to his hit, Rock and Roll Part 2.
He added that a banging heartbeat would also be played, and demonstrated the sound with a short beat-boxing performance.
At the beginning of his evidence, Ms Bennett-Jenkins asked Glitter: "Did you sexually assault any of these young girls?"
He firmly replied: "No I did not."
When asked if it had been easy to precisely recall the dates being referred to - almost 40 years ago the singer said "absolutely not".
The softly spoken, and "profoundly deaf" singer is giving evidence with the help of lip-speak interpreters,
The court heard that Glitter was born in May 1944 and spent his early life with his mother in a maternity home for unmarried women.
He told jurors: "I never met my father and I don't know what his name was."
The singer smiled fondly as he remembered his "lovely, wonderful" uncle John who played a huge role in bringing him up.
He also told jurors of the start of his music career, making reference to Elvis Presley.
Glitter said: "I would definitely have not got into the business if it was not for Elvis. He was like a king then."
The singer recounted how he started off his career under the name Paul Raven, but created the Ivor Novello award-winning act of Gary Glitter with the help of star producer Mike Leander.
He told jurors that he was not involved in any of the administrative side of his tours, including hotel bookings.
Recalling the mob of adoring fans that used to follow him to gigs, the singer confessed that would sometimes used the kitchen to secretly enter venues.
Glitter - real name Paul Gadd - is accused of one count of attempted rape and another of indecent assault on a girl under the age of 13 in 1975.
In relation to a second complainant, he is charged with four counts of indecent assault when she was under the age of 13 in 1977.
He is also accused of plying the girl with alcohol with the intention to "stupefy or overpower" her to have sex with him between January and May 1977, and further count of unlawful intercourse with the girl.
In connection with a third complainant, who was under the age of 16, he is charged with two counts of indecent assault between October 1979 and December 1980.
Glitter found fame in the 1970s as part of the glam rock scene, scoring number one hits with I'm the Leader of the Gang (I Am), I Love You Love Me Love and Always Yours.
The singer, from Marylebone in central London denies all the charges against him.
Jurors heard that Glitter started to lose his hair at the age of 18, and had been wearing a wig since 1965 as "in those days rock'n'roll singers had to have hair".
He said: "The hair got bigger as the years got bigger."
Glitter also gave jurors a detailed description of his wig-maintenance routine, which included dry cleaning agent carbon tetrachloride.
He said: "I had to really go to work on it. It would take me a good hour and a half to do it and I always ... I never had help with it because I wanted to keep it very private.
"I was hoping that nobody knew about this.
"I could imagine that some of the crew may have heard some rumours."
He added that he used double-sided tape to secure the wig to his head, and after his energetic performances would rush back to his hotel suite to tend to his hairpiece before putting it back on and going to sleep.
Glitter thought his baldness was a "closely guarded secret", the court heard.
The singer continued: "I never had anybody backstage after a performance, because this was a major problem in my life, or rather a major chore. I had to deal with it."
Jurors have heard evidence from one woman who claims that, when she was 13, she was invited to see Glitter backstage in 1977, where he plied her with champagne before having sex with her at his hotel.
She said that when Glitter first tried to kiss her in his room, she reached out to push his face away and was told off for touching his hair, describing how the singer told her he had a "phobia".
The woman told jurors that she saw the sequin-clad performer at a cabaret-style show.
Despite Glitter saying that he "hated" cabaret, he accepted that he occasionally played those shows as newspaper clippings showed he had, and told jurors that he and his team had even "Glitterised" Shirley Bassey's Big Spender.
By 1977 the former-chart topper's popularity was waning and he was soon declared bankrupt.
He put this down to Harold Wilson's government and the mismanagement of his business managers.
"As a high earner, I was being taxed at 87% - everybody was leaving Britain.
"Rod Stewart, who was a good friend of mine, he had already left, and the newspapers were saying 'Would the last person who leaves turn the lights out'."
This attracted laughter from the public gallery.
Recalling the 1970s, Glitter told jurors that he had occasionally smoked a "French cigarette" - copying David Bowie - but after surgery on his larynx in 1974, he did not smoke again.
Glitter was asked about his whereabouts during Easter 1975 and 1976, around about the time his first alleged victim claims he tried to rape her after climbing into her bed when she was just a schoolgirl.
He said he could not be sure as he had been touring those years. Ms Bennett-Jenkins asked: "Did you sexually assault (alleged victim)?"
Her client replied: "No, I did not."
Referring to the second girl, the barrister continued: "The allegations made by her relate to meetings in your dressing room, and then going onwards to a hotel with her."
Glitter said he did not remember the girl and firmly denied having sex with her while in Leicester in 1977 or in Birmingham.
The singer was also quizzed about allegations made by a third girl who claims that in 1979 she visited Glitter backstage after her performed at a club called Baileys in Watford and was asked to sit on his lap.
The woman claims that she was just 13 when the former chart-topper slid his hand up her skirt and forcefully kissed her.
"Did you ever do that to a young girl in Watford?", asked Ms Bennett-Jenkins.
"No I did not," came the reply.
As well as confirming that he had pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in 1999, Glitter told jurors that he had a history of long-term relationships with "adult women".
The court heard that one of these relationships was with Cuban Yudenia Sosa Martinez, the mother of his second son, Gary Jnr. Glitter said that during the 1990s he was taking drugs heavily, something that was compounded by being away from his lover. "I took amphetamines quite often because I was really tired on the road.
"I was working more concerts than I should have been because I was trying to pay the back off. It just...it goes into a spiral, once you get into uppers and downers and all that stuff you get kind of addicted to it and I guess that is what happened to me, plus I was missing Yudenia terribly."
When asked repeatedly if he had sexually abused the girls, Glitter looked at the jury and said "no I did not".
The case will resume tomorrow when Glitter is expected to be cross-examined.