On David Bowie

Signing off

 

Sad, a great loss, we’ll miss him…

Yup a lot has been said about the passing of David Bowie

But I prefer this…

“For me, it’s almost impossible to mention Bowie’s name in the past tense.” Annie Lennox

As I type this in my Black Star t-shirt

Black Star

I met the man late in 1978. A friend, Steve, and I were in Perth at the time.

Both Bowie Tragics (Steve introduced me to his music) we had crossed the Nullabor Desert Toyota Crown

in a dodgy black Toyota Crown (with overdive) to see Bowie in a decent venue, The Perth Entertainment Centre rather than join the masses at the Sydney Showground. (mice in their million hordes, we reckoned)

We booked both his concerts. After the first one we were heading back to our youth hostel floating on the energy Bowie had pumped into us for the previous 2 hours.

“Come on…Come on…”

he chanted as the crowd broke ranks, security guards scattered pale faced and we rushed the edge of the stage….

’We’ve really gotta good thing goin

If ya think we’re gonna make it ya better Hang on to Yourself

As we passed a nightclub we saw a stretch limo parked outside with a familiar profile just visible through the tinted windows.

“Holy F*#k it’s him”, we whispered to each other, trying to remain soooo cool.

(we swore a lot that night)

As we whispered Bowie slid out of the limo and stepped into the nightclub.

We looked at each other…back at the limo…back at each other and knew at that very second that

“If ya think we’re gonna make it ya better Hang on to Yourself!!!”

 

The plan was hatched.

We raced back to our youth hostel digs, found some clothes that looked as executive as we could muster, (this was all I had and this shot was taken at the hostel…Steve’s idea not mine)

Perth

borrowed or stole some ties (I can’t remember whose), and hightailed it back to the nightclub.

The plan…We would be two travelling businessmen looking for a quiet drink to seal a deal we were working on. (My idea not Steve’s)

On our arrival we were greeted by security, who informed us that the club was booked for a private function tonight and that we would have to find another venue for our ‘business’ meeting.

Steve was shattered, we turned and headed back toward the street, then I said to Steve…”just let me do the talking” (My idea not Steve’s)

“Um excuse me” I said, as I spun back around, ”Is there anywhere you could recommend? We really need somewhere quiet where we can chat, we are just sealing a fairly important business deal and would also like to be left alone to thrash out some of the details…if you know what I mean?”

The Security guy paused and said, ” Just a moment, I’ll just check with someone.”

We looked at each other with renewed hope. “F*#k this looks interesting” I said to Steve.(did I mention…we swore a lot that night)

“Listen fella’s it’s Model and Mannequin of the Year Awards night” said the security guy, “But it’s all over now, for 10 bucks you can come in.”

I looked at Steve and said playing nonchalantly non-committal…”What do you think, I’ll shout you…”

He said…”Sure, why not, saves us traipsing all around Perth tonight”

Inside we were bursting.

As we entered the club proper our eyes darted all over the joint to spot Bowie.

And there he was…sitting in a slightly raised cubicle receiving a queue of fans asking ‘fan’ type questions and going all gooey as they met him.

He looked polite, but bored.

As I ordered a beer I said to Steve…”Well this is a close as I am ever gonna get to meeting The Man”

“Bullshit” said Steve as he grabbed his beer and headed over to join the queue.

(Steve’s idea not mine)

I said…well you know what I said, (we swore a lot that night) and followed him.

There were about 8 people ahead of us. As we got closer we heard THE voice…

”Oh thank you, how very kind”

and again

”Oh thank you, how very kind”

and again

”Oh thank you, how very kind”

Honestly I don’t know how these mega-stars do it…bloody fans – mice in their million hordes!

Then it was our turn

I nervously looked around for the security guard, our cover had been blown. He was snuggling up to some Model glamazon and couldn’t have cared less as he swigged on his ‘staffy’ (complementary drink for staff at the end of a shift)

Steve stepped up, shook David’s hand, went to speak and F*#k me…absolutely nothing came out!

It was hilarious…his one big moment and no words came out.

I stepped into the silence, shook his hand, looked deeply into those weird eyes and said very calmly

“Thank you David for a wonderful concert”

He said

You guessed it…

”Oh thank you, how very kind”

The moment seemed to last for 10 minutes, powerfully electric with a tinge of the awkward.

We moved on to allow some other dumbass fans and their dumbass questions that weren’t really questions…like

“Oh David it’s so wonderful to meet you…I simply adore everything you do”

dickheads…

I don’t think we took another sip of our beers. We just slid out the door in a trance.

As we hit the night air Steve and I looked at each other and made that screaming, laughing, howling, and yes swearing sound, into each others faces a bit like these guys. (around the 15sec mark)

We than ran and cartwheeled down the middle of the road, almost strangling ourselves in our businessman’s ties. (not recommended attire for a cartwheel moment).

Thank God Facebook was not a thang back then we would have definitely gone viral with our selfies!

Anyway…all I can say is that something very weird happens when you shake the hand of someone you admire, their energy blends with yours and at that single moment you realise, humans can do some pretty cool shit.

That’s all.

On no but wait there’s more.

2 weeks ago I joined another couple of friends at a facility the small business traders in our little village have built for performers to be heard…The Headphones Project.

We had wanted to do some Bowie covers as a tribute.Tribute

As we wrapped I turned to Zac…the tall one with the pink jeans and said

“Zac, it’s been a blast, let me offer you the hand that shook David Bowies hand some 35 years ago”

He replied sure…let me match that with the hand that shook Iggy Pop’s hand 20 years ago”

We did that silly laughing screaming thing (as above)Big Blue

And almost simultaneously said

“Then we better do ‘China Girl”

(co-written by Iggy Pop and David Bowie)

Iggy’s version (which I prefer)

Bowie’s version

Anyway …I feel an odd sense of joy as I reflect on Mr Jones time with us on the planet.

And I am proud to have shaken the hand of the only artist I have ever witnessed document his exit from this world.

He has changed even that game. Death

Closet

Creative?

Are you F*#ken kidding?

Finally

 

“Dear Mr Bowie

You will not be mentioned in past tense around here.

Signed

Inspired

Perth2

 

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