The story follows a British journalist, Arthur Stuart, who has to search his own past when writing an article about the mysterious disappearance of a former glam-rock star, Brian Slade, for an American periodical. The film turns Slade's paranoia of being murdered during a concert (a paranoia that Bowie incorporated into the Ziggy Stardust story in the climax of the Ziggy Stardust album) into a career-ending publicity stunt by Slade, after which he gradually disappears from the public view entirely. As Stuart locates and talks with people connected to Slade, trying to find out what happened, he revisits the glam-rock scene of the '70s in a series of vignettes, which recreate the stories of Slade, Slade's collaborator and one time lover Curt Wild and others involved in their lives.

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