'Aylesbury legend' Magenta Devine dies aged 61

TV presenter had links to Aylesbury's Friars club and started her journalistic career in the town.

Wednesday, 6th March 2019, 3:39 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 1:20 pm
Magenta with Kris Needs (centre) and Pete Frame - with thanks to Geoff Tyrell

Magenta Devine - TV presenter, journalist and music promoter has died aged 61.

Ms Devine (changed from Kim Taylor) was best known for presenting Rough Guide, Reportage and Young, Gifted and Broke.

Magenta Devine pictured second from the right on the top row - backstage at a Mott The Hoople Friars performance

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

She started her career in Aylesbury and had her own column in the Aylesbury Roxette fanzine.

Magenta is credited by music fans in Aylesbury as being the first person in town to have seen The Sex Pistols - the band which would kick start a punk rock revolution.

Music journalist Kris Needs - who worked on the Aylesbury Roxette with Magenta, said: "Magenta Devine was Aylesbury's most glamorous female at a time when most were dressed down in denim, sashaying to the bar of the Bell Hotel during Thursday folk nights in scanty, sparkling dresses, cigarette holder held elegantly aloft and hair dazzling with its latest colour.

"Her magenta spell earned Kim Taylor her lifelong professional name from Zigzag editor Pete Frame, who ghost-wrote her column, Slinking Around With Magenta Devine in local music fanzine the Aylesbury Roxette.

"It wasn't unusual for a car-load to adjourn back at Madge's palatial country house, owned by her father (the Taylor in Taylor and McKenna, the model emporium in Friars Square).

"She was the first to tell me about Malcolm McLaren's SEX boutique in Chelsea and the Sex Pistols when they'd just appeared from its bowels. She would also talk about a singer she knew from Hemel Hempstead called Dave Vanian, who loved graveyards and was starting a band called the Damned. Madge was a livewire true original, a sparkling personality who sadly got sucked into the drugs vortex around Sid Vicious and Johnny Thunders when she moved in with Generation X bassist Tony James in London.

"Drugs prevented her career reaching greater heights she seemed born to scale but she should be remembered as one of Aylesbury's fearless pioneers, delighting in the reactions her hair and outfits (or lack of them) invoked in the average pub bloke. The world is a less colourful place without her."

Musician John Otway - who was friends with Magenta, said: "This is really sad. She was a few years younger than me and we all used to hang out at the Bell Hotel at the bottom of Market Square.

"At that time in the 70s there were a few people that made Aylesbury a bit special - and she was one of them."

He added: "She was a wonderfully enigmatic person who helped me an awful lot. We both moved to London around the same time after I'd had a hit record and she was doing her journalism work and we always used to bump into each other."

Described as an 'Aylesbury legend' by Friars founder David Stopps - Devine caught the eye of Janet Street Porter who asked her to present Channel 4's Network 7. Prior to that - among other things - she had worked for Tony Braisby, publicist for the likes of Queen and Thin Lizzy.

Mr Stopps said: "Back in the 1970s Magenta was one of the great Aylesbury characters. She started her journalistic career around the whole Friars Aylesbury/Earth Records micro-world we lived in.

"She used to write a column in the Aylesbury Roxette called ‘Slinking Around with Magenta Devine’. It was fascinating to see her career blossom from there to being a unique TV presenter. She will be sorely missed."

She was born in Hemel Hempstead in 1957, and died today while undergoing hospital treatment.

Did you know Magenta Devine? Get in touch by emailing [email protected] and we will include you in our tribute.