8 years ago
In 1972 i was sitting in my bedroom in my tiny house on a council estate in London when the penny dropped. I put pen to paper and picked up my battered guitar and began to write my first song. I had no idea where i was going too but i knew subconsciously that this was me. My songs were deep and fanciful, i was drifting between romance and theatre, both of which i knew nothing about. On my record player the constant revolving of David Bowie and Space Oddity. A few years ago i received some tapes recorded in 1971 by a friend of mine who lived down the block from me, these were my first demos. When i listen to them now i can hear how much i leant on David Bowies inspiration, even the voice, i was South London with a slight dash of Anthony Newley. David Bowie gave the me the lyrically voice that started me on my way. I saw Bowie play at Eltham Collage in 1972, the audience were sat on the floor and during the show he came out and shared his guitar with us, we reached out strumming at his blue 12 string. After the show i walked home with a friend, whatever Bowie had i wanted some too, but like his guitar it all seemed out of reach. One afternoon i stood outside his house in Beckenham, just to see him and to have a chance maybe to say hello. It was a wasted journey, he never showed up, maybe we had the wrong house. Another friend of mine worked for him, Will was his road manager, and when he toured at Ziggy i was invited to the Lewisham Odeon to see him, and hang out back stage, i wanted so badly to be close to him and his incredible music. The band were from Hull, but they pretend to come from Mars, i wanted to be with them on Mars. I even wrote a song called Welcome to Mars. Will was kind enough to let me help him paint the lighting strike on the stage. Once in the 80’s Squeeze played some shows with Bowie on his Glass Spider tour, to be as the side of the stage was exciting. HE and his crew gave us a standing ovation one eh first night of the tour. On the plane from London to New York i sat across the isle from him and his son. We talked about the fear of flying, we drank large glasses of Vodka. I had no idea what to talk to him about, i didn’t want to bother him but he was so open and led some of the conversations. I remember nothing about what we said. I do remember the plane having to divert very quickly as we just missed another plane leaving the runway at JFK. I looked and him across the isle, he was the thin very white Duke. I was the slightly tubbier version.
This weekend i went on to the Tidal website and listened to his new album, i was drawn to its depth, and even though i was not sold completely on the songs i could sense something very deep. This morning when my wife Louise woke me up to tell me he had died, the penny dropped. There are no words, my tears collect as i recall the wonderful opening lines of Letter to Hermione ‘The hand that wrote this letter sweeps the pillow clean, so rest your head and read a treasured dream, I care for no one else but you, I tear my soul to cease the pain I think maybe you feel the same, what can we do? I’m not quite sure what we’re supposed to do so I’ve been writing just for you
Im not sure what I’m supposed to do either so i will write some words of love to you. Thank you and God Rest your Soul in heaven.