Trout Fishing, Blue Peter and David Bowie
It all started a month before NetAid when AMan said to me, after a visit to the BNet chatroom and hearing the NetAid excitement, "you know, I quite fancy a trout fishing holiday in the UK". AMan knew I was a bit down about the no Bowie tour announcement and two years since our fabulous Bowie fix in Ft Lauderdale and a trip to the UK, using 1 ticket with hard earned frequent flyer miles and staying with my best mate, Annette, made it a feasible idea. I set to work planning and getting NetAid tickets (not easy to do from across the pond), before AMan could change his mind. It was also our 10th wedding anniversary and a birthday present to me. Ten years ago to the day, I had arrived in the UK and a month later, AMan and I married in the small borough of High Wycombe....that's another story.
In the meantime, rumours abounded about TFI Friday and a Bowie appearance the night before NetAid. We were of the feeling, just get to the UK, perhaps a small gig would be in the works by the time we arrived.
Anxiety descending and excitement was building, the closer we got to our October 1st departure date. Many personal and business situations were also coming to a head, so it was all a bit of chaos before we left.
I managed to call the UK for TFI tickets at some ungodly hour and mumbled into the phone about being the only Yanks to come across the pond for NetAid and would love to see Bowie on the 8th at TFI. The chap replied, "Well you are coming from Florida, so I'll just have to let you in, now won't I?" And my name was added to the Guest List, with 2 guests. This woke me up and got me into gear - we were going to see Bowie! At least twice!
I quickly sent a message to David Bowie (via Ask David on BNet) because I heard he does read the submissions, albeit answers very few. So, not expecting a reply, but wanting my situation known, I sent a message to the Action Man that basically said, "I don't take kindly to the English weather, but I'm making the journey to see you. Please make it HOT (If I'm Dreaming My Life would do it for me)".
Side note: right after I sent the message, the phone rang and I thought "oh gawd! He's ringing me up!" - it was Annette, finalizing arrangements.
We get to the UK a week before the Bowie events - I got a quick fix of finding some Bowie in the Virgin Store at Gatwick upon arrival, procuring a couple of the singles, Thursday's Child. I manage to go to HMV in Aylesbury during the week and find Hunky Dory and Scary Monsters on CDs - no promo 'hours...' material at this store, however.
It's October the 8th, exactly two years since I met Bowie in Fort Lauderdale and got the 3 1/2+ hours concert - Friday finally comes and we set out on our rail and tube journey to Hammersmith for the TFI taping. 2 hours later we are there... finally finding the studios and I am practically in Steph's face before realising, it's her! At long last I find Steph and Carl! I receive hugs all around and I think, ahhhh finally the Bowie family is all together, but where is Paul? I get into queue, order AMan to get us drinks, promptly we are told we can only drink on the other side of the street and I felt I was back in England for sure now. The glamorous Helen arrives and I finally feel calm and all is right with the world. So doors open, we check our gladrags (coats) and handbags, proceed to the bar till the studio doors open. I chat up the security man, as you do, at one of the side doors and glean the info I need about which doors for where. We don't want upstairs for the interview, we want downstairs for the best stage jockeying position. We are finally corralled to one of three stages and I am up front for the Eurythmics, by the small steps that the performers use to get on and off the stage. A riveting performance by Annie Lennox, I tell the cool backup singers, upon their descension off the stage, about how beautifully they sang and thanked them and they are grateful for the comment!
We are then supposed to move position to the next stage for a performance by The Charlatans - not wanting to lose my fab position on this stage, I hang back and stand between the two stages, ready to run back if need be. Chris Evans, the show host, appears and I notice a camera aimed at me in his line of fire. I find the nearest security and tell them we need to get near the stage for Bowie and I am told which stage Bowie will be at (same stage as Eurythmics). I sidle back to that side, and by now knowing the deal, I begin directing audience members like the camera crews do, making way for various wires and cameras, moving people about and back to their shuffled position. We watch the Bowie interview on the monitors, though it was hard for me to concentrate on the interview.
Gail breezed past me and as I turned around, I was face to face with her, I was so taken by surprise to even see her, I said " OHHHHH HALLO GAIL!" and she turned and said hello back to me with a beautiful smile and a direct look. I get chills just from the sight of her. It was then the excitement started to get to me and Bowie appeared and descended the steep steps to the floor and right past me and I manage to touch his shoulder with a "hallo sailor". I felt like I was in the chatroom again, as he gave no response. HA! Don't you know, you were touched by the hand of Moaner (again!), sailorboy!?
I can't even recall what Bowie word was spoken but the songs performed transformed me to that special place Bowie always knows how to take me - you know the one, like you and him are the only one left in the world and it ain't such a bad place then, is it? Starting with Survive, followed by China Girl and Rebel Rebel. I love this version of Rebel Rebel by the way - the only Reeves-less rendition I accept (sorry but those 2 other guitarists don't add up to no Reeves!). I try to catch Mike Garson's eye, as I know he would recognize me if he saw me, but to no avail. Bowie seems to want to perform more but it all ends abruptly and the cameras are off - Bowie leaves the stage and goes past me again, this time surrounded by security, though I still manage another grab on his shoulder (the right one this time), but he leaves.
It's all over so we go back to the bar and hang out a bit, taking pictures of our newly gained Bowie tie amongst ourselves and rumors are that he may even walk through the section we are in on his way out. We reluctantly go outside to breathe the Bowie-less air and hear more rumours that he is doing another interview across the road and may catch him leaving there. That doesn't pan out and a few of us make our way to the Edwards pub. We get some much needed food and wait for the Bowie fans to arrive. Steph and Spaceface have set up a fabulous room above the pub and we are well treated with food and Bowiefare. I lend my new hours CD to the cause before the arrivals. Soon the mayhem begins and I finally meet Ian, Adi, Zardoz and others... I gain more Bowie insight from Paul and "why don't Bnet give some promotional material to the cause" is my feeling, as the room is also filled with UK fans that are want to join BowieNet, some for months, to no avail!
More drink and I try to ensure everyone knows where to meet for NetAid. I notice a table of Italians and make my way there to find they already know me! And Stefano and Paola greet me like a long lost relative. Pictures are taken throughout and the evening ends, with us having to leave as the party gets rolling! Having to take the train back to Aylesbury, 11 pm leaving time is our best bet.
NetAid 9th Oct - quick meet up at the Greyhound pub and a bite to eat and more drink. We all had the mother of all queues to get into NetAid, each with varying entrances. The amount of people is astounding and my first ever concert this size. It's a bit daunting but as long as I drink, I'm okay. We manage to meet up again once inside, which is amazing in itself. And I spot Steph and Co in some seats on the right front part of the stadium, and we rest our weary bones into some seats. The stadium is not filled to capacity but most of the crowd is on the pitch. The ones seated fight boredom and start numerous waves that reverberate around the stadium. Annette and I even did a 2-man wave in our hungover state - "eh", *pause* reply "eh" - that was it! Eventually even that small wave did it's reverberation and the other side of the stadium eventually WAVED big time! The evening gets colder and even the blow up aliens don their jumpers.
After hours of waiting for the man, I know the moment arrives when Angelica Houston says something about "the legendary, the one and only..." and Bowie ambles on stage and says something about "it's lonely up here, glad you're out there" and starts singing Life on Mars... And that transfixed, glazed look overcomes me once again. I am like standing on a chair and taking pics, trying to capture the moments. I notice I am the only one around me singing loudly and proudly to Pretty Things Are Going To Hell, by now committed the words to heart (having had a copy of 'hours...' two weeks prior to the release date! Ha!). Before I know it, I'm grooving on Rebel Rebel again and it's ended!
We make our way outside Wembley and get a few snaps outside. I end the roll when me and Steph find a wall right outside Wembley Stadium, covered in 'hours..' posters, a befitting end, the hours are up!
I didn't get If I'm Dreaming My Life (not performed until Vienna) and we didn't get any special benefits for being BowieNet members - but we did get each other and that means the most. Seeing the excitement of Steph, Spaceface, Carl, Gilly, Spidey, Bianca, Simone, Adi, Ian, Paul, SteveK, Annette, Helen and others, made the trip for me. To Spaceface and Steph I say a big THANKS for making it a truly special event and organizing a slap up party.
|Created: Oct. 1999 © Paul Kinder||Last Updated: 21/10/99|