Lest We Forget David Bowie
10 January 2023
Has it really been seven years? Seven years today since we lost David Bowie; icon, legend and the most important musical influence in my life. Most people acknowledged the first couple of years of his passing, but now many don’t think about it and there is almost no media about it anymore. Bowie fans do think about it. Bowie fans call it Bowie week. We celebrate his birthday on 8 January and we mourn his loss on 10 January.
The first year after his passing I went to work on 10 January not realising how much it would affect me. I was in floods of tears, so every year since I have taken 10 January off work and have spent it with other Bowie fans. sharing stories and our love. Since the pandemic I have joined online parties to see other fans. This year I have no plan. (see what I did there?). I am home alone with my own reflections and quietly watching documentaries on David Bowie. I love to hear him talk as much as hear his music.
He has been a true inspiration to me. His message is be yourself. Love yourself. And for me I take that and celebrate who I am. I don’t dress up as him. I don’t imitate. I am individual and recognise the quirks in my own personality and you can love me or hate me but I am proud to be me.
I pause. I no longer sob helplessly at missing him. Seven years has healed that, but there is a hollow sadness I still have. I miss him greatly and feel so sad that there will be no more new music. I have to be honest, the 50th anniversary of Aladdin Sane at half speed doesn’t excite me. I adore that album, but half speed is just a novelty to get the collectors to buy it again. I did get excited about Divine Symmetry – the 5 CD box set of Hunky Dory. It was the booklet of his own handwriting that did it for me. That felt personal. Later today I am going to measure up some new photos I have to put on my Bowie wall.
I love David Bowie. If you know me you know this. I am grateful for the wonderful friends he has brought me and I am so glad that Bowie has touched my life. Many may not realise the significance of today, but for the die-hards – we do not forget.
What a way to start off Bowie week 2023. Chatting to Caz Tricks on Stony Radio about my love of Bowie.
As a special treat for my Bowie followers and to celebrate Bowie's 76th birthday, I am publishing my article that has been published in Me and the Starman, My Bowie Story and David Bowie - I was there books. The title is my date with Bowie.
The Bowie Statue
Aylesbury has been significant to David Bowie and significant to me. Not only did I attend Aylesbury College in the 80’s but more recently, I have been reviewing at Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury. However, now I have another reason to visit. The Earthly Messenger statue or as we all call it, The David Bowie statue.
On the first anniversary of Bowie’s passing, I was more upset than I had anticipated. Every channel on the radio talked Bowie and called it Bowie day. I really hated that. I did not want the anniversary of his death to be Bowie day. Any day but that one! They were obviously struggling for people to talk on the radio as one woman they interviewed loved Bolan and Ferry more. Could they really not find one true Bowie fan? They should have called me. I was feeling annoyed and sad. So sad that I burst into tears while I was driving and had to pull the car over and have a moment to myself. When I completed my destination, I was back in Aylesbury. I pushed through market square and found myself by the wall where the planned Bowie statue will be. There are a couple of photos of Bowie under the arches and I sat and thought about him and what he has meant to me. There was a notice board opposite. I started at it because on it was a piece of paper which said, ‘RIP David Bowie. If you see this take it’. I looked around (It’s not candid camera but still felt weird) and took down the paper and Blackstar beaded ornament. I was truly meant to find this. I suddenly felt better. This was meant to happen. I could continue my day and felt comforted by a complete stranger. This happened to me before the statue was in situ. Now every time I am in Aylesbury, I feel the need to visit and pay my respects. If you get there on the hour, you will be greeted by a Bowie song. I love how random they are and that it isn’t just greatest hits.
There is a lot of love for Bowie and I am glad Aylesbury has recognised him with the statue. The statue is an interesting piece of art. It has many faces of Bowie covering his many looks and music over the years. There is the iconic Ziggy statue front and centre and this is perfectly accurate right up to including his bad teeth. There is a back wall that includes an early curly haired Bowie, a labyrinth Bowie and an Ashes to Ashes Bowie. There is a spider (from Mars), the Low album cover look and even a rocket with Lazarus on it. It certainly does cover his full career. The second full statue is a much more recent Bowie. Next to the statue there is a wall of some of his most iconic albums. Although I love a lot of the statue, there are parts I do wish had been given more attention. The labyrinth clock only goes up to 12 where every labyrinth fan knows that Sarah has 13 hours to save the baby. There are a couple of faces that do not bear a good likeness and I am still unsure why the base has star signs on it, but overall, I still love the fact there is a Bowie statue in Aylesbury and that it is near enough for me to visit.
But why Aylesbury? If you know Aylesbury you will know the reason why there is a David Bowie statue there. But for those who don’t know Aylesbury, the statue is there because Bowie tried out both the Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust albums at Friars in Aylesbury on an unsuspecting audience before anywhere else. The market square mentioned in Five Years is indeed Aylesbury market square. Aylesbury has a significant relevance in our Bowie history.
If you have not seen it, please do go and visit it. It is worth a few Instagram photos to say you have been there. And you never know, you may fall in love with it.
I still miss you David Bowie.
Last night I had a dream about you. You had finished a concert and I waited for hours until you came out. I mumbled in the car park that I had loved you since I was 12 and you kissed me. Soft yet passionate.
The dream went off on a strange tangent and it turned out it was not you. It was a Spanish impersonator of you. I think I was fooling myself that you were still here and for one fleeting moment I would get to meet you.
Even in my dream, once I started talking about my tattoo the reality of you not being here was dawning but I woke from my dream so sad. I even have tears in my eyes as I write this.
You have always been there for me. The difficult teenage years…allowing me my dreams. Getting so close to you at MK Bowl…yet not close enough. Every time I drive past the Bowl you are on my mind…but the truth is a day doesn’t go by without my mentioning you to someone, somewhere. I even mentioned you in a training I was delivering last week. I miss your smile. I miss your sense of humour. I miss your support. I just wish I had had an opportunity to meet you properly but even my dream is clear that it cannot happen now. I know I have your music, which I am grateful for but some days its still hard to say goodbye. Even all these years later.
I wish you peace and whatever planet you are on now, that you are happy. I’m trying to be happy too. I just miss you.
Thank you to members of David Bowie Collector's group
I love David Bowie Collector's group that I run on Facebook. Its nothing to do with me being admin and everything to do with the members and the kindness they show each other.
I wrote this in the group last weekend:
Most of you will not know this, but I lost my stepdad last week. My mum has been in hospital poorly herself and only just came home on Thursday. It’s been a very difficult week. This is not normally stuff I would share with you all, but I want to thank a couple of kind people in this group. The reason I am sharing is to say that they didn’t know my circumstances either when they kindly sent me some free Bowie stuff. So a massive thank you to David and Claudio. You helped to remind me that Bowie has always been there for the difficult times and that somebody up there likes me.
Thank you so very much.
I have a new lodger
On Friday 21 January, I went into my local HMV where the lovely manager, gave me the #Bowie75 life-size cut-out. I can’t thank him enough or say how much this has lifted me up. In a world where the last few weeks have been horrendous, The Bowie cut out was Bowie reminding me that Bowie is always there to support me.
Facebook hates Bowie!
Yes you heard it right. I am in Facebook jail for quoting a Bowie lyric. I was in a Bowie group and the thread was talking about cut up lines. Bowie used this technique often to see how things could be changed. I gave my cut-up line example ‘You’re squawking like a pink monkey bird’ and was immediately blocked for ‘bullying and harassment’. The Facebook bot doesn’t understand the context of the thread or Bowie lyrics. I am so angry. Facebook initially gave me a restriction of two days of no posting. Then extended it to three days with no reason. Then added a week of not posting in groups. And now its also 28 days of my posts not been seen by others. How can we avoid this? I need to talk and quote Bowie. It's in my DNA. Should I have put the Bowie lyric in inverted commas? Should I have put a musical emoji next to it? Would that have made any difference? Facebook, this is ridiculous - you should not discriminate over Bowie.
Something happened on the day he died
10 January 2022
Something happened on the day he died… on the day that I lost David Bowie my heart broke. It was so sudden. It was so shocking and I could not – would not - believe it. Those of you that know me, know that David Bowie has been a huge part of my life. Has been? No… still is and always will be.
The day I found out, I was in mourning as if I had lost a member of my own family. It was personal. At the time I wrote, ‘Today is not The Next Day but the worst day’. It is surreal how I found out. I was actually sick Sunday night and took Monday (the day we found out in the UK) off of work. When I woke, much later that Monday morning, I had lots of texts from friends offering their condolences before I knew what they were on about. I logged into Facebook to find more messages. I turned on the TV to see the BBC saying he had died. I couldn’t believe it. I sat there stunned. Surely it cannot be true. I rang my sister to confirm it. She thinks I have a sixth sense as I was sick the day he died, without knowing what had happened. All day I struggled between moments of disbelief and moments of terrible grief. I could not stop crying. Even when I was not sobbing, I had the odd tear sneaking down my cheek before I could stop it.
The next day I returned to work. On my drive to London, I stopped off at the Motorway service station and bought one of every newspaper available. I have never done this before or since. It was significant. I didn’t want to read them but felt I needed to have them. The Metro used the Aladdin Sane flash image with his eyes closed, which now reminds me of that day and makes me sad. Once I got to work, people were offering their condolences. I couldn’t even speak to them without my eyes filling up. At work I was known as the Bowie girl. It started when I had been at our annual conference. Each table had a Tom Jones mask on it and if you were quick enough to answer a question, you held up your mask and had to say ‘I love you, Tom Jones’ before you gave your answer. If you did well you won chocolates for your table. I am competitive and after winning two lots of chocolate, on the third occasion I said ‘I love you Tom Jones but my heart belongs to Bowie’. I got a round of applause from everyone in the room (must have been in excess of 500 people there) and from then on, I was the Bowie girl. So, this week I kept finding people leaving cut outs from newspapers on my desk. It was very sweet of them and I did appreciate it.
My husband ‘likes’ David Bowie and he tried to comfort me. But he doesn’t really get it. I needed to be around people who really understand and ‘get’ Bowie. People whose lives were changed forever by him. People who share and understand my grief. Those who said anything like ‘Why are you so upset – you didn’t know him’ were swiftly removed from my friendship circle. I didn’t need that kind of negativity. I needed people’s compassion. I am not asking for everyone to love him the way I do, but if you are my friend, you know how much he means to me. The weekend after we lost him, I headed to London to be with ‘my people’. I visited Brixton and left a card at Heddon Street. In the evening, I met up with many fans at a special event put on by Bowienetters. I burst into tears during a rendition of Sweet Thing. I think I had always expected to meet him ‘in a bar at the end’… this song had never made me cry before and now I was sobbing, but it was okay. I was with my people and they understood. Losing Bowie is not just my loss. It’s a loss to all his fans all over the world. All those who loved him deeply, even if they had never met him. It’s also a loss to all those potential fans who like him now. My youngest sister who never liked Bowie is one of those. She asked me to compile a playlist for her after she heard ‘Valentine’s Day’ after his passing. Everybody knows him now.
Three months after losing Bowie, I had my first and only tattoo, which includes the Bowie Blackstars. It comforted me and felt like I was now a member of a secret club. Only Bowie fans would recognise what it is.
In January 2017, A year after his passing I took my youngest son to see Lazarus. By the way, I use terms like passing and loss. I do not want to use the word ‘death’ as it feels so final and hurts my heart. It’s the same with 1947-2016. I don’t want to see an end date. Anyway, my son and I travelled to Kings Cross and met up with Sophia Anne Caruso before the show. Lazarus is based on the character from The Man Who Fell To Earth. I have to confess that I have never loved the film. Don’t get me wrong, Bowie as Thomas Jerome Newton looks fabulous in it but I have always felt it was not Bowie’s greatest role. Lazarus was a million miles away from the film and I loved it. At the time I wrote a review and my strapline was Bowie, this is your legacy and what a brilliant one it is. I had a huge response to my review. People felt passionate about this play. The song arrangements are fresh and some are almost unrecognisable from the familiar tunes we know and love. This has made it easier to listen to some of his final works, for example, I love No Plan but it’s less painful to hear Sophia sing it than Bowie.
Since his passing I have realised his lasting gift to us was not the Blackstar album or the Lazarus play, it was each other. In our grief we have found each other and made new friends. People who understand why I always book 10th January off work and need to be around others like me. I go to so many more tribute shows and gatherings since his passing. I even made it to New York in 2018 to see the last place his David Bowie Is exhibition would be held. I stood outside his home and realised by the time I got to New York…I was too late.
He lives on in our hearts and through his legacy of work. I cannot sing Starman without smiling and thinking he is pointing at me. No, he was definitely pointing at me. Somebody up there likes me and I feel he is watching over me.
Rest in Peace, my Starman.
Photo: January 2016 of Jasmine Storm in Heddon Street laying her ‘red shoes’ goodbye card.
Turn and face the strange…
8 January 2022
I woke up this morning with the words to changes in my head.
Still don't know what I was waitin' for
And my time was runnin' wild
A million dead end streets and
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Are you now singing it in your head too? I’m not sure why its this song on this day, Bowie’s 75th birthday, but when it comes to Bowie, I never question why, its always Karma in some way. (Is it because he is a Karma Man?). This weekend is Bowie weekend. His birthday is today but its also tinged with sadness that in two days it’s the anniversary of his passing. If you have mixed feelings then you understand. I love David Bowie as much as a member of my own family. I have loved him since I was 12. I am now 55 so don’t tell me to grown up and out of it.
But why changes? There have been a lot of changes in my life over the last year or so, and more to come. I watch the ripples change their size… is that how big the changes are? I must have some pretty big ripples. My stepdad has terminal cancer of the liver. It’s his birthday next week and he will be 69. The parallel is not lost on me.
I continue to play the song in my head… Where's your shame? You've left us up to our necks in it. Well, that could well be the government as I do not think they are protecting us at all regarding covid. But this is not my covid blog, this is a blog about Bowie and celebrating his birthday. Usually, I would be with my Bowie family at some wonderful event, perhaps A Bowie Celebration, perhaps Holy Holy or perhaps just a get together to sing about him and talk about how much he means to us all. Because of the pandemic I have not been back to London in a couple of years now as I am struggling to be physically close to people and London means tube trains. But in my mind, I can walk around Heddon Street and Beckenham bandstand as I have been there many times.
Pretty soon now you're gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can't trace time
We are all getting older, yet with Bowie by my side I feel strong. I feel brave. I feel able to take on the world. Bowie makes everything a little better. Bowie understands. Let’s not think about tomorrow yet…just wish him a happy heavenly 75th. Play your favourite Bowie records today and sing loudly. Get together with friends if you can. I am doing a Zoom with my friend Philip and others from my Bowie Collectors group (Find us on Facebook). But most of all, let’s all talk about Bowie’s genius and remember how he brought us all together.
Before I go, I just want to let you know that Bowie influenced the title. I started with look out you rock n rollers but for some reason the computer said no to that. I believe that is the Bowie karma telling me he didn’t want that title. I know it sounds strange, but this happens to me so many times that I just turn and face the strange now.
20 Bowie Questions
I recently answered these questions for a Bowie Facebook group, but just in case you are not part of that group, here are my answers...
Q1: What year and how did you become a Bowie fan?
I suppose he was always on the radar in the background, but as a child of the 70’s I loved Abba. It was when I started secondary school in 1979 that I bought my first Bowie album from a boy in my class and my love of Bowie grew.
Q2: Do you have a favourite song or album?
This is truly the hardest question. I wrote a blog about my top 20 favourite songs. My top five are (and in no particular order):
When I Live My Dream
Cat People (Georgio Moroder version)
Station to Station
The truth is that most Bowie fans will say that their favourite songs may change daily depending on their mood, this is also true for me.
Q3: if you could spend 2 hrs with him, what would you want to do?
I know this is going to sound selfish but I wouldn’t want to share him. I would want to have good conversations over good food somewhere quiet. I would want to hear the stories that friends tell each other – I would want to not just talk to him about his work but get to know him as a person. I hear he had a great sense of humour so hopefully it would be two hours of laughter.
Q4: if you saw him live, what was the best concert?
I saw him live four times. If I had seen him 100 it wouldn’t have been enough. All were special in their own way but the first time was breath-taking. I was only 16, I lived in Milton Keynes and he was coming to see me. I was there at 11am in the morning so I could be at the front. On the bus home people asked what had happened to me – I clutched my bedraggled programme and wistfully replied ‘I was at the front’.
Q5: What’s your thoughts on Tin Machine?
I hate Tin Machine. This is David Bowie. He can’t just pretend he is a part of a band after all these years solo. I felt it was his mid-life crisis. Looking back, I do regret not going to the Tin Machine shows as they were smaller gigs so there was more chance of meeting him. But at the time I hated Tin Machine so much. Even now, I do not love that era.
Q6: Now Bowie is gone, who in his circle would you have dinner with to talk about Bowie?
I have met Woody, Tony Visconti and Mike Garson. All of whom were lovely to me. If I could have dinner with anyone, I think I’d like to talk to Iman. I’d love to hear stories of their time together.
Q7: Who is your favourite musician that Bowie had in his bands?
I don’t want to pick one in case I offend others. All valid and respected for the different albums they worked on. I suppose as I am a 70’s Bowie girl, the 70’s musicians will always be special to me as they played on many of my favourite albums.
Q8: What other bands/musicians do you love and have plenty of in your collection?
I have a wide taste in music. Besides Bowie, I also own everything that Heaven 17 and Abba have produced. I love Disco, 60’s, 70’s, new wave/new romantic, hi-nrg, most early 80’s, old goth such as Siouxsie and Bauhaus. I also love Green Day, and my all-time favourite album is Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
Q9: What is it about Bowie that you admire the most.
There are many things I admire…these are my top three.
He was brave. He killed off Ziggy at the height of his fame, after 10 years of trying to make it.
He was generous. Not only did he give away songs (most famously All The Young Dudes) but he was the only person to give away a song slot during Live Aid to show that video of what Live Aid was all about. That says a lot about his generous nature.
But most of all, I admire him for being himself. He has helped me and many others to be our own true selves. That is something that was unexpected and has left a lasting impact for future generations.
Q10: Do you have any funny/interesting Bowie stories you’d like to share?
My mum once said to me ‘If you love him so much why don’t you marry him’. I said ‘Mum, he hasn’t asked me!’
1983 Milton Keynes Bowl – I bought one of those Bowie vests. It was a very hot day so I took my top off (yes I was wearing a bra) and put the vest top on instead. I did get some looks. Following on from that..1990, I wore a tiny black crop top and mini skirt. I couldn’t see Bowie when he walked on stage as some tall guy was in front of me. When he realised this, he let me sit on his shoulders for most of the gig. Not only would Bowie have seen me above the crowd but I had the best view in the Bowl. Never even got the guy’s name but I am forever grateful to him for that day.
Q11: What’s your best memory of Bowie?
Gosh where do I start with this? He is such a huge part of who I am. I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t mention him in some way. I still get excited if I hear any song of his on the radio or in a shop. But you want more than that…try this. 1990, Milton Keynes Bowl, the first notes of Panic In Detroit came on but so many around me didn’t know it. I found a girl a few people down and we sang it loudly together. My favourite memories of Bowie are all about bringing people together. I have met so many amazing friends through my love of Bowie. The Beckenham Bowie Festival is a very special place for that.
Q12: What’s your most treasured Bowie item in your collection and is there any particular reason?
I run the David Bowie collectors group on Facebook so have many wonderful and valuable items. But the items I value most are those that are of sentimental value. That album I bought from that boy in my class was The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust. It is now signed by Woody and its special as it was my introduction into the Bowie universe. I have a signed copy of inglourious basterds which I love as its one of my favourite songs and a genuine Bowie signature. Funnily enough I really love the toilet passes I got at the Bowie Is exhibition in Brooklyn. They were so hard to get but remind me of a magical day where people were pointing at me (I was wearing a Bowie dress) and despite my husband not being a fan, he was the one that made New York happen so I will always be grateful for that.
Q13: Which country do you live in?
I am in the UK. I was born in London (just like Bowie) and now live in Milton Keynes which is 50 miles north of London.
Q14: Any of your family into Bowie?
My husband isn’t a fan. This means at most Bowie events you will see me on my own. My oldest son likes Bowie but loves The Beatles more. My youngest son does love Bowie and has attended many events with me but is now of an age where its not cool to go out with your mum. Neither of my sisters or wider family like him. Thank goodness for my Bowie family.
Q15: What other interests do you have? Hobbies etc
I love theatre and gigs. I review theatre as press and have seen many wonderful shows over the years. I also review gigs as I do write for other sites as well as my own. I was lucky enough to see Nile Rogers at Meltdown as press and that was pretty amazing. He talked about how he and Bowie developed Let’s Dance. I also enjoy travelling (or did before Covid hit us).
Q16: How did you find out about this fan page?
I cannot remember how I found out about it but I love it here as people are kind, unlike some other groups.
Q17: Who would you have loved him to duet with?
Can I say me? I can’t sing but how much fun would that be? I wouldn’t mind hearing him with Heaven 17 (who he called the future of music back in the day) as it would have been an interesting combination. I’d like to hear him do more electronic sounds – along the BEF lines. I know that both Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory are both huge Bowie fans so they would be happy to have done this.
Q18: When introducing someone new, what’s the first Bowie song you play them or would play them?
Always start with Hunky Dory or Ziggy Stardust albums. This is the law. If you start with Blackstar or 1. Outside, I’m not sure you will sell him to them. But the truth is I am a 70’s Bowie girl so would always choose a 70’s album.
Q19: If you could have asked David one question what would it be?
Besides asking him why he never proposed? 😉 I would have asked him what he would change if he could go back and change one thing. Would he have been kinder to the Spiders from Mars when he killed off Ziggy? Would he have ended his marriage to Angie sooner? Would he have stopped smoking earlier? What would he change and why?
Q20: What do you think he’ll best be remembered for?
Well hopefully for influencing generations of musicians that followed. He was, and still is, so influential not only with music and film, but in attitude. I would hate him to only be remembered or recognised for the Aladdin Sane flash which since 2016 seems to be on everything. It’s a huge pet hate of mine…but as David said ‘everybody knows me now’. He knew what would happen. He was wiser than us all. I miss him greatly.
Regrets...I've had a few...
Friday 19 March 2021
Sometimes I sit and think about what I might have regretted in life. On the surface, I have a job I enjoy, wonderful family and friends and until Covid, a lifestyle I loved. However, it’s not been easy to get here. Do I regret anything in my past that I could have done differently?
Regrets? I’ve had a few…one of them being not seeing Bowie live more often when he was with us, especially in the 90’s when he was doing smaller venues. Then I recall how it was for me. I got married in 1992. My second son was born in 1997 and money was always tight back then. I had to feed not only myself, but my family too and keep a roof over our heads. My (now ex) husband didn’t work and spent all my money so he put us in debt. It was a difficult situation. When I think back, I remember how I found it really expensive to learn how to drive. It took me a lot of lessons before I passed and then it took me another year to save some money to buy an old Vauxhall Nova. I was no good at negations so I paid £630 for it (even though they would have taken £600). I didn’t get the internet until 2002 as I couldn’t afford it. I remember my ex-husband telling me he wouldn’t get in a car with me driving (before I passed) but as soon as I passed, he was asking for lifts. (He didn’t drive). I look back and wonder how I found the money for a Bowie ticket for the Reality gig. By then my marriage was heading for the rocks so it felt really important to me to see Bowie again. Bowie has always been my rock and steered me well.
I do regret a few things. There was a documentary that I could have been in about David Bowie back in 2013 when the V&A launched David Bowie Is exhibition. But I was so busy at work (and a single mother) so I didn’t take up the opportunity. Do I regret it? Yes absolutely. You all know I can talk Bowie.
When I left home at 16, I regret not taking all my Smash Hits magazines with me. I had every one from issue one. My mum put them in the garage and they went rotten so she threw them away. I am still upset about this now almost 40 years later. Nothing I can do about it but if I could go back, I would rescue them all.
I regret not travelling more when I was younger. I had only been to France on a school skiing trip and didn’t go abroad again until I was over 30. I never travelled at all in my 20’s. why? I cannot find a reason other than financial. Also, I did not drive in my 20’s so things felt out of reach. And it wasn’t that easy without the internet to find information and advice. I have made up for it now, and have been to many European countries and three trips to the USA. This year was my dream trip to Japan, but because of corona virus, that is on hold for what may be years to come.
One of my biggest regrets is being asked by Martyn Ware from Heaven 17 if I could sing. I was honest and told him no. But damnit…I really wish I could sing! I don’t suppose that is a regret as its more about having a talent. But I want to let you know I am still working on myself and this weekend I have my first singing lesson. Who knows, maybe one day I will be able to say yes…if I get asked that again.
Looking back at all these things… I don’t regret the good things that have come out of it all. Being late to the internet meant more time with my kids, family and friends. My bad marriage meant I knew what to avoid next time around. Every negative I turn into a positive. Its about living your best life rather than wishing you had someone else’s life. And I intend to resume my best life once Covid is under control. We are simply on hold for now. The reason I love the film, Field Of Dreams, is it is a film about hope and belief. If you build it, they will come. If you live your best life and be the best you, your dreams will come true.
8 January 2020. It’s a world pandemic for the corona virus and in the UK, we are living under a national lockdown. Normally on David Bowie week, I would be at some relevant site to Bowie. Over the years I have been in London, often Brixton or Heddon Street or Aylesbury at the Bowie statue. I would meet up with my Bowie family and we would sing, dance and generally talk Bowie all day long. Sadly, this year the rules are stay at home. I am happy to stay at home as the virus is out of control and yesterday over one thousand people lost their lives to it. In just one day. So yes, I will miss my Bowie family – BUT, we will be together again. We will sing and dance and talk about our soul love. I cannot wait for that day.
David Bowie has had more influence over me than anyone else who ever existed. Some people have inspiring teachers or fathers or other amazing role models in their lives, but for me it was always Bowie. He was a good teacher. He was patient. He was wise. He was controversial. And he was always there for me. It felt like a personal relationship and I learnt important life lessons from him.
David Bowie taught me how to not be afraid; to be myself. This is a hard lesson to learn. I didn’t feel I fitted in at school. I always felt different. I didn’t always look different but it was something deep inside me. David Bowie could feel me. He could hear me. He understood. He knew that I was struggling and he was there. He wasn’t afraid of being different, so why should I be? He was telling me to be brave and be true to myself. I have never looked back. I walk tall and act fine now. I say what I think. I wear what I want. I am not a clone of Bowie and no, I have never painted the flash on my face. I don’t feel the need to do that to be a die-hard Bowie fan. I have written about what makes a fan and I don’t think you need to wear a t-shirt or paint a flash to show your dedication.
I have taken Bowie week off work for the last few years after being so devastated in 2017 – I was not in a fit state to work. And I was off work sick in 2016. If you read my blogs, you already know all this.
Today I will be switching my TV on to channel 2…well actually to my DVD Bowie collection and watch videos of him singing and being interviewed. He knew the internet was the future. He was always ahead of the game. I can listen to him forever. I often think to myself, what would Bowie do? I believe in a national pandemic when people are dying in their thousands, he would say, wear your mask and stay home.
Happy Birthday David Bowie. I will always love you.
I had to phone someone so I picked on you….
I normally talk about all the amazing events that I go to on Bowie week. However last Thursday I fell poorly with a bad cold and still feel unwell this week which is Bowie week. So instead I am going to talk about Bowies last gift to us all. Some of you may think this is the Blackstar album. Some may think it’s the Lazarus play and I could easily talk about both in detail. But no, his lasting gift to me and many of my fellow Bowie fans was the gift of friendship.
For most of my Bowie life, I have not known friends like this. What I mean by that is I have wonderful friends but none of which love Bowie to the level that I do. They might like his stuff but certainly didn’t own all his albums and were not fussed about seeing him live. Hell, they couldn’t even name a favourite top twenty! I felt like a pariah in the desert. Living in Milton Keynes, I could easily say I am the biggest Bowie fan here. It was true 40 years ago and is still true today. This was demonstrated a few years ago by a friend being approached by a playwright to find a huge female Bowie fan. She thought of me above all others even though she likes him herself…and thanks to her and my collaboration with Mark Wheeller I am featured as one of a handful of fans in the play, ‘Can You Hear Me Major Tom?’ which has been performed twice but this year is due for a publication release. From that, I have met and became good friends with Charlie Fowler who is also known as David Live (David Bowie tribute). But back to my being the only Bowie fan in Milton Keynes. Did you know, I used to buy two Bowie tickets to a gig and then try to find someone to come with me who wouldn’t mind paying for their ticket? Today if I had two Bowie tickets - I would have a queue a mile long begging me for the tickets. Today I have a Bowie family.
Something happened on the day he died. I knew in that moment life wouldn’t be the same again. I didn’t realise how much I talked about him. I didn’t realise how much he was already a part of my life. But losing him meant I needed to find people to share my feelings with. I wrote about him at length. I wrote my raw feelings down on the day he died. I wrote poetry about how I felt about him. But since he died, I have a Bowie family who I don’t have to explain myself to. They get it. They understand. They feel the same way. If I cry on 10th January each year – they don’t ask why. They know. The peace of finding your tribe of people is beyond anything I have felt before.
I often meet up at events with different fractions of my Bowie family. I have the netters. Originally those who were on Bowie net that now run an annual charity event in support of Terrence Higgins trust. Bowie supported the events and through those I have met some amazing talented and creative people. I have the Beckenham posse who is lead by the inspirational Wendy Woo to raise money to restore the bandstand which is now a Grade II listed building thanks to her. The very bandstand he wrote Life On Mars on. Very significant for anyone thinking of doing a Bowie pilgrimage. Currently as I write this there is the biggest event of all – a week-long Bowie celebration in Dublin. Let it be said the Irish know how to party. I sadly cannot be there this year, but I am hopeful that I will get there in future years. I have lovely friends from the USA that I met in 2018 for the last ever Bowie exhibition. It just shows that there are so many more people who love him like me…it was just a matter of connecting us.
But it doesn’t matter how I first met you (when I met you) or if you have (no plans) plans to meet up. I hope I touch some of you with the love I feel for him and how I write about him. I hope many of you celebrate this week in your own special way even if it is just listening to your favourite album (yes, I know that choice changes daily!) … here I am sinking in the quicksand of my thoughts…wishing every week could be Bowie week.
Bowie never let me down
And what I did during Bowie week 2019....
Most Bowie fans may groan at this title…after all its from his commercial 80’s days. However, for me it completely sums up how Bowie has influenced my life. I have loved him since I was 12. It may have been the late 70’s but I soon discovered his back catalogue of 60’s and 70’s work and loved it all. He was there through my difficult teenage years. He taught me to be myself, to be my quirky and strange self and be proud of it. Bowie was in my life before husbands and kids, and he has never let me down. Of course, he doesn’t know it – but I know I am not the only one. There are many people out there who are as kooky as I am.
January is always a month of mixed emotions for Bowie fans. This year marks the third anniversary of his death. How fast has it gone? It seems only yesterday I was so excited about hearing the Blackstar album. I was raw when I found out that devastating news that our starman had left us. How do I feel today? It still hurts. I found myself explaining to my work colleagues the reasons why I take 10 January off each year…and cried. So yes, it still hurts to have lost him. During the last three years I have slowly accepted there will be no more new music and that there are those trying to rip us fans off with their mass-produced Bowie items, or worse, a home-made Etsy offering. But there are many positives and the final gift that David left us, each other. In our grief we sought out other kooks, because they knew without explaining. And they didn’t judge.
On his birthday this year (8 Jan) I had to work but I somehow knew it was still a Bowie day. My copy of ‘The Birth of Bowie’ book arrived. Birth of Bowie on his birthday. It felt like Karma. I also downloaded the app of the David Bowie Is exhibition. It found its way to my home page on my mobile phone and by fluke was perfectly placed over my wedding photo so it looks like I was marrying Bowie. This IS karma. The universe knows how much I love him and it reflects back on me. On 10 January, I had originally planned to be in London, but as I was going to London on Friday and Saturday I decided to stay home. I watched DVDs and interviews; reflecting and crying as well as laughing and singing Bowie all day. Never forgotten and always loved. Despite this being a sad day, 95% of my timeline on Facebook is filled with Bowie and the outpouring of love and sadness of this day. I love its filled with Bowie, but I don’t love the reason why. Maybe ‘Where are we now?’ is a better title. Nothing has changed and yet everything has changed. He is still my centre and that doesn’t change but I am unable to talk to people for long without him popping up in conversation. He is a part of my core. A part of who I am. And I miss him.
On Friday I went to London as planned for a Bowie weekend. I headed for Clapham to spend time with friends and have a Labyrinth evening at The Grand. I dressed with a homage to Sarah from the film but there was every character fancy dress you can imagine there. It was great to be with my tribe of people. After the film David Live took to the stage for two fabulous sets. You can read the review here. Saturday saw me at the other end of London as I was reviewing A Bowie Celebration. Its just another excuse to meet up with Bowie family before the gig and have a good catch up. A Bowie Celebration was fantastic and that review can be found here.
If you love David Bowie you may understand my feelings, or you may just think I’m a bit crazy – but I am not alone.
David Bowie Convention 2018
There's old fans. There's new fans. And there's David Bowie!
Sarah Jan Sandra Emily
What is your favourite Bowie track and why?
Sarah: Heroes because of its power and meaningful lyrics
Jan: Moonage Daydream for special memories
Have you seen him live? If so what was your favouirte gig?
Sarah: Yes. Astoria in 1999 because it was up close and I was at the front.
Jan: Yes. Reality Tour because I got so close to him.
What is your favourite Bowie decade?
Sarah: Its too hard but I do love his Berlin years.
What is your favourite thing about the convention?
Sarah: Meeting other like-minded Bowie fans and listen to Bowie
guilt-free all night long
Jan :Meeting like-minded people
What is your favourite Bowie track and why?
Sandra: Sweet thing (Candidate) reprise as its a story that unfolds.
Emily: Heart's Filthy Lesson as it rocks and is hot
Have you seen him live? If so what was your favouirte gig?
Sandra: Yes it was Astoria in 1999 as it was an intimate gig.
Emily: Yes. Tin Machine in Brixton 1999 as it was a small gig.
What is your favourite Bowie decade?
Sandra: noughties as it reminds me of special times
What is your favourite thing about the convention?
Sandra: getting together with friends
Emily: Its different to everything else
Sara Sheri Charlie Rich
What is your favourite Bowie track and why?
Sara: Absolute Beginners - it was my wedding song
Sheri: Rock N Roll Suicide as it feels as if he is inside of you
Have you seen him live? If so what was your favouirte gig?
Sara: Yes. Birmingham in 1999 as it was a small gig
Sheri: Sadly not seen him live.
What is your favourite Bowie decade?
What is your favourite thing about the convention?
Sara: Meeting FB friends in real life and the bands are great.
Sheri: It feels like coming home and its addictive.
What is your favourite Bowie track and why?
Rich:Life On Mars. Its everything DB is about. Quirks of lyrics, Beautiful Melody and video. Its how I would introduce someone to my DB.
Charlie: Today its Fantastic Voyage as its the last track I listened to.
Have you seen him live? If so what was your favourite gig?
Charlie: Yes. Isolar 2. It was my first gig.
Rich: Yes 13 times in total but favourite was Serious Moonlight as it was my first.
What is your favourite Bowie decade?
What is your favourite thing about the convention?
Charlie: A feeling of family.
Rich: Meeting Bowie fans and sharing the Bowie love.
My review of the whole weekend can be found here:
Two year anniversary and nothing has changed.
Another year passes and it is Bowie week again. On Monday 8 January Bowie would have been 71 years old. I didn’t feel like a big party this year. I felt I wanted to think about him in my own private way. I put on Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence which was still sealed. When I first saw this film, I took photos with my 110 camera and yes, I used a flash. I’m sure I annoyed other people in the cinema, but he was so beautiful he took my breath away. However karma is a bitch and a few weeks later my camera was stolen out of my handbag. I never got a chance to see those photos. At home today on my 4k TV I can take photos to my heart’s desire so I did! This was so emotional to watch. The music is so powerful and I’ve not watched this in over 30 years. It’s like a time machine taking me right back. How well it works with the film. And to see David’s beautiful face on the screen was fait accompli.
The day between his birthday and the anniversary of his passing I decided to play Blackstar. This was a significant moment. I have played it many times before but this was the first time I played it without crying. I marvelled at how clever David is. The words have double meanings. The whole album feels like he is talking about dying. ‘I can’t give everything away’ ‘Something happened on the day he died’ ‘Stands a solitary candle’, ‘I’m dying to’, ‘Look up here I’m in heaven’, and of course ‘no plan’ which isn’t on the album but was written at the same time. The album is a genius at work. Truly clever and with lots of messages - just like Bowie. However the album makes me unbearably sad and I truly wish David had not had to go through cancer and dying to make such an album. I truly wish he was still with us. I had always wanted to play a Bowie song at my own funeral. Now I have a whole album to choose from. I also watched Five Years. A documentary of his 70’s albums over five years. It’s no secret that I’m a 70’s Bowie girl so this gives me huge pleasure. I love hearing his talking voice as much as hearing him sing. In fact I could listen to him sing after that dreadful day on 10 January 2016 months before I could hear any documentary of him speaking. I cannot say I accepted the news well at all. I have previously written about hearing the news. It was only when The Times newspaper had an official statement to ask for any children to come forward (a legal requirement I assume) that it really hit me this was real. I find it hard to accept even two years on that the man who I have loved since I was 12 has truly gone. I was not close to my parents who had split up since I was three, so Bowie was the stable dependable person who taught me to be independent. He taught me how to laugh (Please Mr Gravedigger), how to cry (Absolute Beginners), how to love (Win), to understand pain (Rock N Roll Suicide), and now to understand grief. Most of all he taught me how to be proud of my uniqueness. To not have to be like everyone else but be confident in me. He was my teacher and my friend. He was my saviour. To those of you reading this and thinking I am an extreme fan, well to some of you that may be true. But Bowie has also brought me gifts. In his death I have found a connection with other Bowie fans that understand. They don’t question if I burst into tears, they just hug me. They don’t moan if every day I mention him in some way, they accept it and even support it. I don’t think of myself as extreme but just someone who lost someone they loved.
Wednesday was the anniversary of his passing so I travelled down to Brixton as this was absolutely the place to be. I visited his house in Stansfield Road (as I always do when in Brixton) and met many friends old and new by the wall. I took my poem (The Worst Anniversary) with and put it up on the wall for others to see. I met a lady who had travelled from Liverpool to be there and we had a connection as we were both published in My Bowie Story. I met Nick, who sang Bowie’s songs by the wall with his guitar; it was heart-warming to hear others join in. I even met a couple who had travelled from Paris to be there. Bowie had touched us all. It made me think about the film close encounters and how those who felt they had to be in a certain place. This was the same thing. Bowie had touched us and now we had that urge to be in Brixton. Later that day we headed into the Dogstar where we sung Bowie songs so loudly that the pub put a Bowie tape on. It was a mix of feelings. I still miss him and think of him every day but being with others who love him as I do really brings a different perspective on it. He really lives on in all our hearts.
Friday marked the end of Bowie week but for me it was probably the most hectic. I was delighted to review Celebrating David Bowie for Gig Junkies. You can find my review of the gig here. I was very honest as it was a bit mixed and certainly not up to Mike Garson’s Aladdin Sane tour standard which was outstanding. As soon as the gig had finished it was a mad dash from Shepherds Bush to Clapham to see my friend Charlie perform as David Live. He was fantastic and the whole atmosphere at The Grand in Clapham was electric. Fans of all ages dancing and singing. Many dressed up in outfits such as Jareth or Thin White Duke. There was even the odd appearance of Hoggle but he was sleeping by the time I had got there so alas no photos. After leaving the Grand, the after show party carried on – but what happens in Clapham stays in Clapham.
Another year passes and he is not forgotten. Let’s celebrate his music and treasure what he gave us.
Love on ya.
David Bowie - I was there.
I am delighted to say I have had a piece published in a book. The book is one of the 'I was there' series and this one features David Bowie.
This piece has never appeared on my website so you will have to buy a copy of the book to read it. It describes the first time I ever saw Bowie live which was during the Serious Moonlight tour. I am featured over four pages but the book contains over 350 first hand accounts from people who knew him, met him and saw him live. It is a must read for all Bowie fans.
Red Planet Zone, (publisher) said: 'Thank you so much or your wonderful contribution!'
Buy it here.
A Saturday without you.
I’m sitting here on a Saturday morning going through my David Bowie CD’s to look at making my youngest sister a mixed tape (do we still say that?) as since he passed away she has said she would like to discover more Bowie and it is true to say I am an expert.
However, while looking at the CD’s I open it to see a flyer saying ‘looking for more beyond the legendary music?’. It hits me that David himself will now never know how much he meant to me and how he has been there for me throughout my life.
I am not just a fan. I am so much more than a fan. He is part of who I am. He is in my core. I have loved him and his music since I was 12 years old so it’s been one of my longest relationships in my life. There are those who would scuff at this and say I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me. I think these people are jealous that they can never know such a powerful love. Such warmth from just hearing him speak. Such excitement to see him perform.
A tear falls from my eye and I realise I am crying. I still feel so sad that I will never now get to meet him. I only ever wanted to tell him how wonderful he is. I always thought there was more time. I truly believed that one day we would meet. It felt tangible. I have really struggled to believe he is really gone. That chance; that opportunity has been taken away from me. Yes, I know this sounds rather selfish and of course I am terribly sad for Iman and his children too, but today I am talking honestly about my feelings about Mr David Bowie and what he meant to me.
For I truly think he was wonderful. He was generous – he gave his songs away and helped others. He had a great sense of humour – just look at jazzin for blue jean video. In fact, I think he was so wonderful that for the first time ever in my life I now have a tattoo that has the Bowie stars and ‘cause you’re wonderful’ on my wrist with a small heart. It has brought some comfort and for that I am grateful. But I still miss him and regret that I wasn’t more proactive in trying to meet him.
On the flyer it says ‘Join David’s community’. Well since January 2016, I have discovered just how wonderful our Bowie community is. I feel they understand my feelings, my love; my soul love for him. I don’t need to explain. I can’t explain. And I shouldn’t have to. It’s who I am. Just accept me for me.
So thinking about my sister’s tape, I am definitely going to put ‘Rock n roll suicide’ on it! Have a good Saturday everyone.
(First printed Saturday 21 May 2016)
Some of you may not even know what RSD is. Well it stands for Record Store Day and each year on the same day independent record shops get special limited edition releases to sell to the public. The idea was to promote independent record shops and it was a lovely idea. However, in practice it has not been a utopia as we had wished for.
For example, there are those who don’t live near an independent record shop that is participating…that means travelling and for me that would mean at least 20 miles to another town. I would have to pay to park but what car parks are open that early? Some people camp outside all night, but I hate camping and what about those with disabilities or long term illness? It is not really very fair to expect them to queue or camp out. Further to this there are those who camp and buy in their droves, just to sell on eBay for extortionate prices. This is not the ethos of RSD. And there are those record shop owners who give first choice to their friends before the actual day. (yes, this does happen!).
You all know I am a huge Bowie fan. The original RSD Starman picture disc was a standard price…but I don’t own one as they now go for over £150. They are not a numbered limited edition nor are they really that rare, but nonetheless prices for this have gone to silly money.
This year there are four Bowie releases. RSD has not done this before and it feels a bit like a money maker just because the starman is no longer with us. Of course, every self-respecting fan will want them so they will have a choice, queue up or resort to evil bay where they can exchange hands for triple the price or more. It has become a farce of what it was meant to be.
I can understand why some people are beginning to hate RSD and I am very grateful that I have some good friends who help me get them, but RSD as a concept is not really working and seems unfair to those who can’t make it.
Now that vinyl is a viable format again, do we really still need RSD?
One of the four David Bowie releases for 2017 and the queue outside Sister Ray Records in London on 22 April 2017.
Sara Captain is a talented artist who has transformed a Zizzi’s in Beckenham. However, it is no ordinary Zizzi’s. It is the original Three Tuns pub that David Bowie started The Arts Lab in the back. It is an historical part of David Bowie’s early years before he was famous.
Zizzi’s are aware of this and respectfully pay homage to him throughout the restaurant. There is a glass spelling out SPACEBOY with lyrics of songs. There is a photo of the tributes left when they held a special Bowie event in 2016 and there are now two brand new murals that Sara has lovingly created especially for the restaurant.
Here, in front of the ’69 Bowie mural of David Bowie looking down on us, I talked to Sara over an Italian lunch.
Q:When did you first start to draw/ paint?
A: As a kid, there was a turning point at school, I painted a sky and was the only one to paint it all the way down so from then on I was encouraged to draw. My dad and grandad also painted. I was talent scouted at a street fair – I was supposed to do caricatures but did portraits instead and had a queue of people. I ended up working for an advertising agency as an illustrator.
Q: How has bowie influenced you?
A: He pushed me to be the person I am. I realised you could communicate whatever you wanted to.
Q: How did it come about that you got involved in The Three Tuns/Zizzi’s?
A: Adam, who does local Bowie tours, introduced me to the manager, Lukasz and mentioned my work. They contacted me about what they were looking for.
Q: What talent do you yearn for?
A: To make money – Ha Ha!. But seriously to be able to understand and stop evil.
Q: What do you mean by evil?
A: When you observe people or things that harm others and they seem to enjoy it – that is evil. For example, racism, jealousy, greed, selfishness and a lack of empathy.
Q: What food sums up happiness?
A: Raw fish or a rare steak
Q: Who are your artistic influences?
A: Expressionists such as Schiele and Klimt and abstract expressionists such as Willem De Kooning and Franz Kline. I also like Leonardo da Vinci and the Italian Cartoonist, Hugo Pratt.
Q: What new music do you listen to?
A: I like Radiohead, Blues music, Amy Winehouse and Amy MacDonald, although I’m not sure how new they are.
Q: Tell me the story of how you lost and found your muse.
A: I was staying in a holiday home and we were unloading the car. Someone stole my art out of the back of the boot while we were unloading. I was so upset I felt I lost my muse after that. It had included a graphic novel about the French revolution which I had still been working on. This was around 1997. In January 2016 after hearing the news, I felt the need to draw Bowie and that my muse had returned. I started to paint him a lot and people showed an interest.
Q: What is your favourite Bowie era/album?
A: I really like the Berlin years. Low is my favourite album but I have a special place for Heroes. My first kiss was to Heroes.
Q: Who or what is your greatest love?
A: David Bowie and my boyfriend
Q: If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?
A: To have love and empathy for people.
Sara has produced two pieces for Zizzi’s. The first is the Bowie ’69 Mural. This shows Bowie in 1969, with a cascade of curly hair, dreaming about future success and reflecting on the ideals that had inspired the Arts Lab. The lyrics are from 'Memory of a Free Festival'. This is 1969 and a new decade beckons where when Bowie will finally find a way to become the star he knows he is destined to be.
The Bowie ’78 is a more confident Bowie who has known fame. In this image he is relaxed and looking directly at us. He is saying: live life to the full, don't be afraid to experiment, push yourself beyond your limits and your comfort zone, lest you should look back and regret not having done so. Fans will also recognise the nod to the cut-out technique Bowie used for writing lyrics.
Zizzi’s in Beckenham is a must for any self-respecting Bowie fan visiting the sites that were important in those early years. So while visiting The Bowie Bandstand and where Haddon Hall used to stand, pay a visit to Zizzi’s and complete the Bowie tour.
Zizzi’s can be found at 157 High St, Beckenham BR3 1AE
More of Sara’s work can be found on her website: https://www.thecaptainsart.co.uk/
So, I know you think I talk a lot about Bowie and it’s probably true. But when something as significant as a memorial is being considered I need to join in the conversation.
Most of you will already know that the mural in Brixton has become a gathering point for Bowie fans. Personally, I never understood why. It is not known if he ever visited the mural. Yes, he was born in Brixton but that is Stansfield Road and very few fans visit there. Stansfield Road is significantly deserving of a blue plaque.
There are other significant locations to consider for a memorial. Heddon Street is the location of the cover of the Ziggy Stardust album and a personal favourite location of mine. It already has a blue plaque on the wall but the telephone box is now around the corner. Much more could be done to promote this very special place.
Aylesbury is the birthplace of Ziggy, and a statue has already been commissioned there for a bargain price of £100,000. There is already a large Ziggy poster under the archway where the statue will be. This has been agreed with the local councils and the Kickstarter project has been successful in raising all the money required.
And of course, we cannot forget the bandstand at Beckenham, known as the ‘Bowie bandstand’. Bowie grew up in Beckenham so there are many significant ‘Bowie’ locations (such as the Three Tuns and where Haddon Hall used to be) but the most significant of all is the Bandstand. It was where he played in 1969 and it was on the steps of this very bandstand that he wrote the beginnings of Life On Mars.
But back to Brixton. It has been suggested that there should be a big red/blue ‘ZiggyZag’ next to the mural. It is planned to be three stories high and located by the mural. This is a terrible idea for the following reasons:
ZiggyZag is the wrong name. The flash is from the Aladdin Sane album and not Ziggy. This suggests that those who have come up with the idea are not real Bowie fans.
It is too big for the size of the area and will drown out the mural. It is also an issue for local residents.
It is not required in that location – it already has the mural and for many that is enough.
It is going to cost £990,000. That is a lot of money for something that isn’t even that well designed. Just stolen from the original artwork.
My view is that Bowie would hate it. It is not representative of who he was. It's commercialising him - and he liked to be challenging and controversial.
Discussing the Brixton memorial on Facebook put me in touch with Michael Wicks. He has suggested an alternative to the ZiggyZag in the same location. A Space Oddity / Blackstar Monolith, located in the middle on the path facing the mural and compliments the mural. The suggestion is you would be able to look at the mural as you can now. The monolith would have a cut out star so you could walk around to the other side and you could look through the star at the mural. The monolith itself would represent both the start and end of Bowie’s career. Like the monolith from Stanley Kubrick's film, A Space Odyssey, that Bowie drew a lot of early inspiration from, the monolith would be a symbol of Bowie’s space oddity and the Blackstar cut out into it representing the of course the end and final chapter Blackstar. As the mural itself is full of colour, it would set a contrast and offer something different from another lightning bolt (there is already one on the mural). The Blackstar symbol is an iconic symbol now associated with Bowie and the Blackstar album.
It is my personal view that this is a much better and classier idea. It is thought-out for both the fans and on a deeper level for the die-hards as well as not overpowering the mural and still being in a central location in Brixton.
This is a controversial subject, but Bowie was controversial. What do you think? Do you love the Ziggy Zag or the Blackstar? Do you want to save the bandstand in Beckenham where David Bowie has a real connection or support an overpriced ZiggyZag?
Whatever the final decision is, Bowie’s real legacy is his music.
If you would like to support the Bowie Bandstand, you can find out more: https://www.gofundme.com/bowiesbeckenhamoddity
How I spent Bowie Week 2017
I always know it would week of emotions but felt the need to do something to mark the occasion anyway. I did not want to hide away like I did a year ago, when I heard the news.
On 8th January 2017 Bowie would have been 70. It would have been a significant occasion. However just because he is not physically with us anymore does not stop Bowie fans from marking the occasion. There were many events up and down the country, but for me it was always going to be with the netters. For those who don’t know the netters (myself included) were the bowie fans who were originally on Bowie.net. We were the ones who knew Bowie as Sailor and many talked to him online. Others have met him and some have even worked with him. This is where I want to be. With people who love him as deeply as me. So, I headed into London. There were many fantastic musicians doing covers of his work, hearing often songs that are underplayed yet the crowd sang along anyway. It was a lovely evening and as the clock struck midnight to start the 8th January, we all sang Happy Birthday to the main man who has touched us all in some way. It was truly a celebration of his work and I felt happy.
On the 8th there was only one place on the planet to be and that was Brixton. Standing by the wall I met a few friends and then walked over to his house, where he was born, on Stansfield Road. It felt absolutely the right place to be and I still felt happy. I was in a much better place than I was a year ago, when I had also mourned with the netters in the same venue and had visited the same sites in Brixton. Yes, a year was a long time but Bowie was far from forgotten.
But Tuesday had a very different feel about it. Gone were my celebratory moments of his life. Instead every channel on the radio talked Bowie and called it Bowie day. I really hated that. I did not want the anniversary of his death to be Bowie day. Any day but that one! They were obviously struggling for people to talk on the radio as one woman they interviewed loved Bolan and Ferry more. Could they really not find one true Bowie fan? They should have called me. I was feeling annoyed and sad. So, sad that I burst into tears while I was driving and had to pull the car over and have a moment to myself. When I completed my destination, I was back in Aylesbury. I pushed through market square and found myself by the wall where the planned Bowie statue will be. There are a couple of photos of Bowie under the arches and I sat and thought about him and what he has meant to me. As I got up I saw a notice board and on it was a piece of paper which said, ‘RIP David Bowie. If you see this take it’. I looked around (It’s not candid camera but still felt weird) and took down the paper and lovely homemade Blackstar beaded ornament. I was truly meant to find this. I messaged the lovely lady who had put it there on her Facebook and suddenly felt better. This was meant to happen. I could continue my day and felt comforted by a complete stranger. Yet again the Bowie community coming together to support each other. This is one of the good things to have come out of his passing. There is a real Bowie community.
I also wrote a piece to remember him. It was named The Worst Anniversary and I used his own words to say how I felt. You can read this further down the page.
Saturday 14th January is the end of Bowie week and I finished it off with my first ever trip to Lazarus. This is the Bowie play that he had worked on just before his death. I had avoided all comments on the show so I could see it fresh and make my own decision. I knew it was based on the character from The Man Who Fell To Earth. And I didn’t like that film at all. So, if you want to see what I thought you can read my review here. http://www.jasminestorm.com/single-post/2017/01/14/Lazarus-Kings-Cross-Theatre-London
What you won't read in my review is at the end of the show, I was sitting in row B and people both sides of me weren't moving. So I decided to climb over that one row in front to get my photo taken with Bowie. You know what happened next! Yep! On my ass with my dress in the air in front of everyone looking towards the Bowie picture. But shhh, keep this to yourself. I don't need the world to think I'm an idiot!
This was how I spent my Bowie week. I am sure you all have your own ways of marking the occasion but for me, this was an emotional week of tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
Me outside Lazarus, Getting my photo taken with Bowie and the lovely Blackstar found in Market Square, Aylesbury.
At the V&A in 2013 and on what would have been Bowie's 70th Birthday in Brixton, 2017.
The Worst Anniversary
A year ago the most influential and inspirational person in my life quietly passed away. I was devastated and when I found out my raw emotions poured into a blog which is further down this page.
To mark the anniversary of David Bowie passing away, instead of using my words, I have written how I feel using his words. See how many lyrics you recognise. RIP David Bowie. Always in my heart.
The Worst Anniversary
Where are we now, without you? I’m not quite right at all.
Something happened on the day he died. They said the things to make it seem improbable, Whale of a lie like I hoped it was. And I cried for all the others till the day was nearly through. Cried so much my face was wet and kicked my brains around the floor. These are the days it never rains but it pours. The days float through my eyes, but the days still seem the same. I'm sinking in the quicksand of my thought. This week dragged past me so slowly. The days fell on their knees. I've heard a rumour from Ground Control. Oh no, don't say it's true. I look out my window what do I see? A crack in the sky and a hand reaching down to me. All the nightmares came today. And it looks as though they're here to stay. I’m Hitting an all-time low.
Time was waiting in the wings – but you never knew that. Now the wind is wild and despite being a rebel rebel, my love is lost. He was my soul love. Look up there – you’re in heaven – and I know that somebody up there likes me. But London Boy, can you hear me? Is there life on Mars? Panic, panic get me out of here…
This isn’t a modern love, this is Ziggy Stardust. He gave me more than five years… he told me that knowledge comes with deaths release; that he was a dead man walking and that all the pretty things are going to hell. I wish someone would phone or pick you up on channel two. When I live my dream you can be my hero. You promised that you would be king and I would be queen.
But the mountain moved its eyes to a world of realise and you stepped through the door to float in a most peculiar way. The stars look very different today. Can you see these tears so blue? An ageless heart that can never mend, These tears can never dry. I have to live without the sunlight. Love without your heartbeat.
But you tell me…
Fill your heart with love today, don't play the game of time. And then I know that as long as we're together, the rest can go to hell. I absolutely love you. Starman – don’t believe for one second I’m forgetting you. ‘cause you’re wonderful.
I would like to thank.....
You know that feeling when you are a kid on a roundabout and go around and around til you are dizzy and the world is spinning? Or swinging on a swing when you swing so high that for a few seconds you can’t see anything but sky and you catch your breath? Well I woke up like that this morning. Why?
Because I couldn’t believe how lucky I am to be a finalist in the Milton Keynes Digital Awards for my blog again this year.
And who can I thank? I thank my readers. Those who message
me kind words and comments. To all those who have offered
congratulations to me since I found out. To anyone who had read
anything I have written.
It has certainly been a year of mixed emotions and I have blogged
several times about Bowie and how much I love him and miss
him. I have also been to some wonderful shows and gigs and of
course blog about those. But I also blog about what moves me,
local, national and international thoughts I may have. And you guys read it. I feel so lucky to have your support…so thank you and cross your fingers for me!
UPDATE: Although my blog didn't win - I picked up two awards on behalf of About Milton Keynes, who I have been writing theatre reviews for over the last year. Well Done to the whole team.
My first Tattoo.
Since I was 16 years old I had always considered having a tattoo. My step-brother was a tattooist and was covered in them so from an early age I admired the artwork and talent. My idea of what design to have has changed over the years; as a teenager I wanted stars and a moon on my ankle. As I approached 40, I had decided on something abstract on my back. Unfortunately, I fell down the stairs and hurt my back to that felt it was the universe’s way of telling me not to have a tattoo. So I left it. I still had virgin skin.
In January 2016, David Bowie passed away. I have loved David Bowie since I was 12 and would describe myself as so much more than a fan. He is a part of who I am. He knows me. He loves me. He raised me. I felt lost without him. But in my grief of his loss I found the Bowie community, many who felt the same way as me. They felt the loss as deep as I did.
So when some people started to get the ‘Blackstar’ tattoos I considered it too. I felt it was a permanent way of telling everyone how much I loved him with no words. Not that I needed a reminder, but it would also comfort me in my grief. It would be a big step as I hate needles and after watching all those tattoo mistake programmes I was worried about having something permanent on me that wasn’t perfect. But I knew I really wanted this. I wanted to join the gang.
I couldn’t just rush into it. I wanted to research to make sure I made the right decision. I found out that all tattooists should be registered with their local authority. Hygiene is very important too – so as I was faced with new photos of other people’s tattoos everyday on Facebook making me want it more – I still took my time to research.
I wanted a personal recommendation. It was hard as my friends offering suggestions hadn’t used the person they suggested. Or the artwork wasn’t the sort of design I was looking for. I knew I needed someone who was good at line work. Luckily since January two Facebook groups had been set up just for Bowie tattoos. This was great as I was able to look at variations of their Blackstar designs. I asked them for personal recommendations and narrowed my options down to two tattooists that I really liked and that were commutable. One was in Coventry and one was in London. I liked them both. When I found out that the London one wouldn’t do the stars as small as I wanted, my decision was made.
I nervously rang up Queen of Hearts in Coventry and spoke to Natalie. I was put at ease straight away. I felt nervous for so many reasons.
1. I’d never had a tattoo before so was unsure of how it works
2. I was worried about design and perfection of executing the design
3. I was worried about hygiene
4. I was worried about pain of the needle
5. I was worried I may change my mind on the design after its on my skin
However as soon as I spoke to Natalie all my worries disappeared and I booked my appointment. I had about six weeks from my initial call to my appointment and during that time I emailed her and spoke to her about all my worries and questions. All were answered and put me at ease.
So almost three months to the day we lost Bowie, I caught a train to Coventry. I hadn’t been for many years and it has changed in places with new buildings and landscaped greens. Almost unrecognisable from the 70’s look of many buildings I remember.
I headed for the cathedral and with a print out from Google Maps and my smart phone tried to find my destination. When I found it I was warmly welcomed and offered a cup of tea. I relaxed and not felt rushed or hurried at all. We discussed the final changes to my design and I chose my final font for the lyric which was actually a difficult decision. The font was called ‘Angelface’ which felt right and looked right.
I had decided a while ago I wanted the Bowie Blackstar’s. I like the abstract design that spells out Bowie but that not everyone would know. I like the idea of being part of a secret bowie society. I have always been a lyric person and knew that I also wanted a lyric on my arm. This was a difficult job as I love so much of his work and so many of his lyrics mean so much to me. Eventually I narrowed it down to two.
‘It’s only forever’ from Labyrinth. I liked this as my love for him is forever and so will the tattoo be. And I do spend my life quoting from the film ‘she chose down? Too late now’. ‘Come inside – meet the Mrs’. ‘I need you Hoggle’. Yep I was always a big Labyrinth fan and especially ‘You have no power over me’.
‘Cause you’re wonderful’ from Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide. I like the fact he could be saying I’m wonderful, or I could be saying he is wonderful. My blog is called ‘It’s a wonderful life’ and Iike the positive connotations. I also sang this loud when I visited the V&A Bowie Is… exhibition. When he says ‘Not only is this the last show of the tour but it’s the last show we’ll ever do’, I always cry. It was the winner and the right decision to put it on my arm forever.
I wanted it to look like a bracelet around my wrist and to finish it off have a small red heart as Bowie will always be in my heart. This was my original idea and I had not seen anyone have anything like this to date.
I don’t know what I had been worried about. The tattoo space was lovely and decorated in a quirky way. It certainly appealed to my personality. I felt excited about doing this. It was the right time and the right place. Natalie asked me what music I wanted to play and I chose Young Americans and Hunky Dory albums. I’m a 70’s Bowie girl at heart. I admit that I had a small tear in my eye when 'Somebody up there likes me' came on.
To my surprise it didn’t hurt at all. And suddenly I had a tattoo. It had taken me years to find the right design, the right reason, the right place to have it but now I was a Blackstar and proud to be so.
The Loss of David Bowie 11.01.16
I blog. I blog about things I feel strongly about. I blog about things I love. So today of all days – what else can I do but write down a few feelings on the passing of my idol, David Bowie.
Those of you that know me, already know that David Bowie has been a huge part of my life. I may have met some of you at the Bowie Is exhibition or a Holy Holy gig…others I may never have met. But today we are all in mourning. Today is not The Next Day but the worst day.
It is surreal how I found out. I was actually sick last night and took today off work. When I woke I had lots of texts from friends offering their condolences before I knew what they were on about. I logged into Facebook to find more messages. I couldn’t believe it. Surely it cannot be true. I rang my sister to confirm it. She thinks I have a sixth sense as I was sick the day he died without even knowing. I am struggling between moments of disbelief and moments of terrible grief. I cannot stop crying. Even when I am not sobbing I have the odd tear sneaking down my cheek before I can stop it.
My husband ‘likes’ David Bowie and has tried to comfort me. But right now I need to be around people who really ‘get’ Bowie. People whose lives were changed forever by him. People who share and understand my grief. I have often joked that I would get rid of the husband and kids before I got rid of my Bowie collection. Of course I love my husband and kids, but it was me trying to explain how much Bowie meant to me.
So why do I love him? It’s hard to explain. I love his individuality – how he wasn’t scared to be different. This spoke volumes to me as I never felt I fitted in a ‘normal’ society. And he didn’t much care for being successfully commercial. He kept reinventing himself. Killing off Ziggy was such a brave move yet he made it work. Who else would do that? Even when he had huge commercial success with Let’s Dance he admits it was one of his less creative periods.
I love his compassion and generosity. During his early years he shared his songs, resurrecting the fading career of Mott the Hoople with All The Young Dudes. He quietly gave up a slot in his performance on Live Aid to show a film about the starving children. He always gave to others.
I love his talents. He doesn’t just have a few tracks or a few albums that I love. I love his diversity and range of genres. His ability to continue to shock with his music. This doesn’t mean I have loved everything he has released. I was never keen on Tin Machine and more recently I hated Sue. (I’ve never been a fan of Jazz). But ask me which is my favourite album and I would struggle to answer. I love Hunky Dory. Kooks always makes me laugh. I love Ziggy and always thought Five Years was a genius piece of writing. Young Americans is such a sexy album and Station To Stationis one of my favourite tracks from the album of the same name. I have recently rediscovered and adored, The Man Who Sold The World, especially ‘All the Madmen’ which feels like ‘All the Bowie fans’. A huge thanks in part to Holy Holy for bringing this album back to life to live audiences. It really felt special to be part of it.
It’s not just his talent for music that I love. He is (was? – I’m not ready to put him in the past tense yet – it’s all still too raw) an accomplished actor. Just watch him in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence or see a clip of his performance of The Elephant Man to know he was Oscar worthy. And everyone’s guilty pleasure is watching Labyrinth as an adult. My personal favourite is Absolute Beginners. Not because of the role he played particularly, but the entire film feels like a cult film and the theme tune of the film by Bowie is an outstanding piece of music that always sends shivers down my spine.
He has a wicked sense of humour which can be seen in his extended video of ‘Jazzin for Blue Jean’ Video where he plays two parts. The end of the video he is arguing with Julien Temple, the director, to say Vic should get the girl instead of ‘Screaming Lord Byron’. Its truly perfect.
I grieve his passing. It is a personal loss. I am as devastated as if it were a member of my own family. But it’s not just my loss. It’s a loss to all his fans all over the world. All those who loved him deeply even if they had never met him. It’s also a loss to all those potential fans who may ‘get’ him now. I hope you do. You don’t know how much you miss without Bowie in your life.
I will give the final word over to Morgan Visconti (Tony Visconti’s son) who said -
"Another day, another adventure!" was the last thing you said to me. I'll always remember that. My hero. Rest in peace, David Bowie.