I was not quite 15 when I first really began to be impacted upon by David Bowie. My love of music began very early. That is one joy of having older siblings. Early exposure to music. Oh, how I enjoyed it and still love many of the acts I clung onto as a very young child, from Suzi Quatro, to Sherbet and Skyhooks (yes, Skyhooks, aged 5! Lol. With their risqué approach!).
Bowie was certainly on the periphery (much like how, for many years, Simple Minds were for me) of my musical taste as a young child. My siblings never seemed fans (apart from my eldest brother…more of that to come!), so I would only ever hear him on the radio. And as I would primarily only hear him on radio, that glam image passed me by. He was not so much an alien to me, for all I heard was the music. Later, when my fandom DID break, he was more musical genius than otherworldly alien. I worshipped him all the same! Never sexually attracted to him personally, I could more than appreciate the aesthetic many others saw in him. He certainly looked extraordinary.
But it was music overall. Oh, the music. My first deep foray into his music must have been around 1985. My eldest brother, Roy (born in 1958 – yes, a big old age gap!), had a record collection that he was keeping in his car when he was moving house and his vinyl was getting warped. He asked mum if he could house them here temporarily. Mum said yes.
Roy lived with his father when I was younger, so I never even really got to know him until I was about 10. His musical tastes didn’t impact upon me until later. And it was my Bowie fandom I gained from him.
His vinyl collection had several Bowie albums. I first played Ziggy Stardust and fell for it right off! Diamond Dogs was in there too. And Low. Low was like nothing I had ever heard before. Roy’s copy was sssooo warped, I can still see it in my mind’s eye, with it’s massive bend at the edge of the record! I couldn’t play certain tracks! But I cared little, because all that I could play took so much of a hold of me – I was gripped!
I soon (very slowly I might add – money was scarce!) built up my own collection. I wanted to learn about him. I’d read newspaper articles. I’d study lyrics. I just tried to absorb myself in his world.
When the Glass Spider tour arrived in Australia in 1988, I *begged* for Roy to take me. He didn’t want to, and I was too scared to go alone. I don’t regret not going. In retrospect, it wouldn’t have been a tour I probably would have looked upon fondly – Never Let Me Down was not one of my favourite albums…but that is not really something I want to talk about today.
I want to talk about the loves. Building my collection. Playing his music EVERY DAY. EVERY DAY. If you know me now…and if you know how submerged I am in the Simple Minds fandom, then you’ll glean some idea as to how I was for many years in my Bowie fandom. It may have waned in recent years, and my Simple boys may have taken precedence at times…but my love for David himself remained undiminished.
I finally got to see him live in 2001 in Manchester. It was a small music festival, on par with the one I saw Simple Minds at at Hickstead in Sept. 2015. Except, the day of the Bowie gig, the heavens opened in the afternoon. Suede were on before him. They were wonderful. Brett Anderson kept us distracted from getting a drenching. But when “The Dame” arrived on the stage, the sun returned and a most memorable night ensued.
David Bowie has had such an extraordinary presence in the world. Such a talent. Such amazing songwriting. And so very, very loved by so many. Your light will burn brightly forever, Mr Jones.