I have to have a moan. I NEED to moan. We just had a workman in the flat to sort something out that had been niggling at us for weeks and I was listening to David Bowie’s live Bowie at the Beeb album from 2000 (that long ago???) and he said his 7-year-old daughter met David Bowie the other day at the Dome. I couldn’t believe my ears, I said, ‘Pardon? She MET David Bowie???’ Yes, he says, there was a kiddies’ thing on at the Dome based on his work and he was there. Now, I’ve wanted to meet God for twenty years and, knowing that he and Iman spend most of their time in the New York apartment, I’ve always been kind of realistic about my chances. However, I also know that he has a pad in London, too, so the hope is always there. But the fact he paid Brighton a visit – AND I MISSED HIM – is making me feel quite queasy, and this is the truth.
Hence the first line of this blog entry. If I were a person of a weaker disposition, I might even cry. But I’m 35 and I’m all growed up and big girls, as we all know, don’t cry. But it was DAVID BOWIE!!! Inside my head, I’m screaming and tearing my hair out at the roots and wondering when my next chance will be. In 1995, I went to the Cork Street Gallery in London to see his art exhibition and bought a signed Minotaur/Laura Ashley poster which I now gather is worth somewhat more than I originally paid for it. So I’m trawling the internet trying to find out how much, exactly, someone would pay for it (not that I would ever be such an idiot as to sell it) and listening to God sing on my puny but half-decent speakers and the workman drops the bombshell. He was here. In Brighton. Ten minutes’ walk away from here. I did. I had to. I swore.
The thing about David Bowie is he’s been part of my life for so long. I was a late starter, I watched Labyrinth when I was 15 and then went to the Milton Keynes Bowl (don’t say anything, I already know) that summer to see him on his Sound+Vision tour, a day that has stayed with me for the last twenty years. His talent is immeasurable. His music is innovative and original. So many musicians say they’ve been influenced by his music that it’s impossible to name them all. As a creative who lives for the arts, I see him as someone who can’t be topped. Not by anyone. He is a person whose genius has infiltrated music, film and even novelists (is Neil Gaiman a Bowie fan? Methinks he is…). People of all shapes, sizes, ages and creeds have worked with him and argued with him and fallen out with him and befriended him but the people out here, the people like me, would be happy with a handshake and a chance to tell him how much of an inspiration he is to us in our everyday lives.
I have watched Labyrinth, since that first time, more times than I can possibly begin to count. The script has wedged itself firmly in my psyche. I have watched films simply because David Bowie is in them (how many people bought The Linguini Incident or Basquiat on DVD for just that reason?). The only albums I haven’t bought are some of the more recent best-of types and that’s only because I’ve got 99% of the songs on them already. Other films of his are seriously under-rated. Absolute Beginners is one of them. Personally, I think it’s a work of art, not because of its historical portrait of London in 1958 but because of its creative naivety and colourfulness. I’ve never been a jazz fan, but this film wouldn’t be the same without the trad jazz soundtrack.
In 2002, the last time I know for a fact I at least stood in the same building as David Bowie, he played the Stravinsky Hall in Montreux. We didn’t have tickets, though, so we took the dogs along and watched the show on the small screen in the foyer. Knowing he was upstairs and I was downstairs was hard. Waiting for him to come out from the dressing room and see people who were waiting for him outside was near torture and we eventually had no choice but to resign ourselves to the fact he’d sneaked out ages before we even started queuing. Hell. Sneaky bastard but, considering his fame and the need for tight security, perfectly understandable. But hell, nonetheless.
So. Will I one day meet my personal God? When I do, will I get tongue-tied or will I find something interesting to say to him? Who knows? I don’t. I’m still waiting on a new studio album, considering the last one (Reality) was out in 2003 and I’m not used to going so long between releases. If I hear news of another one I truly believe I’ll jump up and down like a giggly schoolgirl and scweam and scweam and scweam until I’m sick. No I won’t. But I’ll definitely bounce around a lot.
Come on, Oh Great One the Bowie God, release a new album and remind the world, in the unlikely case that the world at large has forgotten, how amazing an individual you are, let yourself come through the stunning music you make and let us in, open just a small chink and let people like me see through into your fascinating being. I wait with baited breath.