A wave of dev­as­ta­tion has encom­passed every­one this morn­ing at the news that David Bowie has died. I have to agree with Lau­ren Lav­erne on BBC6 radio who stat­ed that “for those who feel they should­n’t be feel­ing so per­son­al­ly full of grief,  actu­al­ly, it’s OK for us to feel this way.” Bowie is part of us, for so many of us he was a for­ma­tive part of our youth and shaped our way of see­ing the world, his cre­ativ­i­ty has influ­enced our lives. And his work has influ­enced the course of mod­ern music and enriched the world.

I saw Bowie twice. The first time was in Han­ley, Stafford­shire in the ear­ly 70s. I remem­ber the venue was full but not crowd­ed, and it did­n’t take my friend Jax and I long to maneou­vre our way to the front. That was a ben­e­fit of being only 5ft tall (although it’s had its down­sides too, there are gigs when I’ve spent two hours star­ing at some­one’s back and hard­ly seen the band). Once we’d estab­lished our­selves on the cov­et­ed front row, we had a unin­ter­rupt­ed view of Zig­gy, and at one point he even looked down and smiled at us.

The sec­ond time I saw Bowie was dur­ing the 90s. A friend phoned me in a state of deliri­ous excite­ment one after­noon; a friend of hers played in the house band for The Jack Docher­ty Show a (talk show which ran for a while with the stan­dard for­mat of two or three guests on the sofa) and he’d just revealed to her that David Bowie was set to be one of the guests that evening. He could get two of us in for the show. My friend and I jumped into her car and raced at ridicu­lous speed into cen­tral Lon­don. We could­n’t find park­ing and end­ed up aban­don­ing the car down an alley­way and ran to the stu­dio where we were part of a small audi­ence. Bowie was Docher­ty’s final guest and he was amaz­ing­ly fun­ny, upbeat and charis­mat­ic. No airs and graces, just down to earth and charm­ing. After chat­ting to Jack Docher­ty, he per­formed Dead Man Walk­ing, and I recall he stopped the song and start­ed again as it was­n’t quite right. He car­ried on play­ing after the cam­eras stopped rolling.  What a won­der­ful and inti­mate per­for­mance we were priv­i­leged to be a part of.

Black­star was released on Bowie’s birth­day on Fri­day, and I like to think that he died know­ing his album was already get­ting a very pos­i­tive recep­tion, even if the full mean­ing of the lyrics evad­ed and mys­ti­fied us till the news this morning.

Daivd bowie older

RIP David Bowie




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