It was always going to be a Bowie weekend as it was the annual Bowie’s Beckenham Oddity festival otherwise known as the Bowie Bandstand festival. However for those who got to Beckenham early and were lucky enough to get a ticket, Sarah Rena Hine was giving a talk about her friendship with David Bowie in the famous Three Tuns, a mecca for Bowie fans. For people like me who never got to meet Bowie in real life, this is a real insight into the man behind the persona.
Sarah was warm and friendly and her delivery of her talk was just like a friend telling you about their weekend. It was natural and easy-going. It felt genuine and honest. Sarah has known David Bowie since 1969. And so, the story goes it was all thanks to a set of circumstances that you could interpret as fate. It was Sarah’s last year in school and she was going on a shopping trip to London for the summer. She knew Marc Bolan and he sent her the ticket for her flight and invited her over. Before she left, a magazine asked her if she would find and up and coming star to feature. She had almost forgotten about the article as she was having so much fun but when Marc said he had to pop into the office she remembered and asked to look through the books to find someone to interview. She found a blonde curly haired David Bowie and thought fans in Germany would like this so she asked to be put in touch with him. She met David who ran towards her and swept her up in his arms and asked her to stay overnight in the guest room at Hadden Hall. There was just a mattress on the floor in the guest room but she stayed anyway. They became good friends for the next 30 years or so.
Sarah tells the story with such flair and with a touch of comedy that you can really imagine what it was like and laugh along with her. She shared a photo of what she looked like back then as well as photos of her with Bowie and even photocopies of her post-it notes he left on her fridge. It was a real insight into her friendship with him and what he was like in that period of his life. Of course, sadly he isn’t here anymore to comment but I don’t think he would have minded her sharing her personal experience of their friendship as it was told with affection and not in an ‘Angie Bowie’ way (ie all out to get any sensational attention she can).
Sarah is sweet and dignified and if you get a chance to hear her story in person it is a chance not to be missed.