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[personal profile] glamtasm
This is about me, on Bowie's influence on my life, as he was such a phenomenal influence on the lives of so many others.

I mean, seriously, how much art, how many films, stories, etc, that came out after say 1973 were influenced in some way or by some degree removed, by Bowie? How many people who have created great work since then were touched or moved by him? The man genuinely has moved from being mere human to being some sort of mythological figure that is larger and more all-encompassing.

So I have written before (I have probably written a lot of this before, but...) about how I saw David Bowie's 1980 Floor Show on The Midnight Special back in 1974(?) and how it quite literally changed my life.  It truly was a Kick In The Eye awakening, and I discovered Red Haired Freak Pride. And via Bowie I discovered so many other incredible and inspiring bands, films, books, ways of viewing the world.

More than anything or anyone else (except perhaps my grandmother) Bowie saved my life and made it.

In SC in the 70's, there weren't many Bowie fans. I knew of me, and a couple of college kids who worked at the local indy record store.  One of my things would be to run around to the various record stores when a new Bowie single was out, and pester them for some of the free promotional material that record companies would send out. I got a few very cool items that way. But a couple of times I would hear about a particular boy who got there first. I would be furious, and determined to track down this upstart who was copping my swag!

Months went by, and we often missed each other by minutes, as our competition grew. One particular store delighted in playing us off one another, telling us each that they had received X collectible, and betting on who would arrive first. Kinda funny in retrospect,but at the time neither of us was amused.

Then came the big Aerosmith concert! I dressed up and arrived early, b/c I wanted front row seats. The only other people there so early were a boy wearing a magenta jacket and scarf, with a great shag haircut, and his friend.  Boy and I eyed each other for quite some time, then eventually one of us approached the other. I don't recall who (sue me, it was 40 years ago!)  The dialogue was something sparkling like "You're that boy!" "You're that girl!" But instead of mutual hostility over the competition for items, we instead instantly bonded over our all-emcompassing worship of Bowie, and shared tales of the shrines we had built, the songs we loved, and all the wonderful things about him. We watched the show together, and soon afterwards were fast friends.  He introduced me to bootlegs, which opened a whole new world of Bowie live concert and rarities enjoyment!

On Bowie's birthday that year, which was fairly shortly after we met, we put together a huge celebration! This entailed lots of Bowie music (no MTV, no Youtube, netflix, or even VCR back then. How did we survive? Well, we did have cassettes and 8 Tracks. Never mind) And we hatched a plot: We would individually go back to that record store, pretend we didn't know each other, and throw a massive, dramatic "fight" in front of those salespeople who played us against each other! Which we did. And it was hysterical!  And we ran out of the store together laughing!  Then we took boxes and boxes of Mr. Bubble, and poured them into the fountain in the middle of downtown (no fish or living things in it) and watched the bubbles foam out and cover the entire block! And ran around singing Bowie songs at the top of our lungs!

We drove across the state to see The Man Who Fell to Earth. (We also discovered Rocky Horror together.) We dyed out hair and experimented with make-up together.  Years later he, me and the band followed Bowie on tour together, but only for about a week. We came home after Nashville - there was a cashflow and an I-was-gonna-get-expelled issue. 

In 1976 I was finally old enough to cajole my parents into taking me to Atlanta to see the Thin White Duke tour Too bad they thought 14 was too young for the Diamond Dogs tour. :(  I was wildly excited, and dressed so Ziggy it would have blinded you. OK, I was a little behind, but my enthusiasm was incomparable.  I was SUCH a teenybopper - I think I cried through the entire show. I met another girl there who was also a crazy Bowie fan, and we instantly bonded. She was also from SC, down near Charleston, I think, so we kept in touch and she visited me. Gary didn't like her. She got married soon after, and left it all behind her, and we lost touch.

It wasn't all fun though - Bowie fans were considered rather odd in those days, and I guess we were fairly odd for the demographic in any case. Even when we weren't stirring up drama, we would sometimes get chased out of malls for our outrageous attire, painted faces, and spiky hair. And Gary could flame with the best of them, and did. And I loved him for it. (though 16 year old me *was* a bit disappoint he would never be my "boyfriend." But we had a bond.

By 1978, I also had a band, and Gary was part of it.  We were called West Wall, and we were SO punk rock, in that very British way of being Punk Rock with a ton of Glam thrown in. And Bowie was touring touring again, and we were all GOING TO SEE HIM!

I don't recall all the prep details, but it turned out the four of us  riding smelly greyhounds & crashing together in hotel rooms that would have caused my mom to faint, but weren't really so bad.  Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprising, there was no "fooling around" going on, we were just all so focused on Bowie. The Nashville show was the big one, and we arrived super early, all decked out, to figure out how we could get backstage. We hung around for HOURS, then, at about the time of the soundcheck, some roadies or tech people came out, the door didn't click shut (such luck!) and in we snuck!  We were awed & excited, and then IT HAPPENED!!!

BOWIE HIMSELF came strolling back stage, fresh from the soundcheck. We tried to approach him, but were utterly paralyzed as we stood there gaping and stuttering. Yes, any semblance of being cool had deserted us.  Bowie looked over, saw us, and for a moment we were afraid he would have us thrown out. But instead, he just smiled and waved, and said "Hi kids,enjoy the show!" and kept on his way. Wow. What a kind, sweet thing to do.

Also backstage was another glitter boy, who had a camera. Later at the show, I approached him. He had been following since New Orleans, where he lived, and we struck up a conversation and exchanged info, Eventually he and I would become dear friends, and I stayed with him when I first moved to NOLA in 1979. He was also in bands there, and was quite a local popstar, as well as a huge Bowie fan. (I just discovered he still performs there, and has totally stayed true to it! Mad props to him!)

The show itself was amazing, of course, and worth all the trouble getting there, and all the trouble I would be in afterwards! And BOWIE SPOKE TO US!!! Dreams truly did come true!

There are so many more stores in my life, of the impact Bowie had, the people I met and things I discovered from his influence! Little stories, larger ones. Shortly after I moved to LA, being given an advance copy of Scary Monsters b/c one of my apartment mates was a reviewer, taking it to one of the Melrose shops to listen to, and meeting Patrick Mata, and bonding over Bowie. We became friends, & were briefly in a band together.

I haven't been an "active" Bowie fan since the early 80's. But his influence has always been there, in me, in people whose work I admire.
And now that he is gone from this world, I know that influence will live on in so many others. He was unique - yes, he wore his influences on his sleeves at times, but he also transformed them and made them his own, and other things he did and said were so uniquely his they will never be repeated. And he will never be forgotten. Potential to be a superman fulfilled.

"We can be Heroes"
"You're not alone, you're wonderful"
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