Tattoo by

Tattoo by

Mr. Touchshriek

Why It Took Me So Long To See Bowie Live!

June 6 '73. The last time Bowie played Sheffield as Ziggy Stardust and my parents tell me I'm too young to go. We all know what happened just under a month later.

Fast forward to July 27 that year and my 14th birthday and surprise surprise I was now old enough to go to concerts at The City Hall. Thanks mom and dad! Only trouble was Bowie had moved to the other side of the world!

Consequently my first gig was watching a Paedophile in Bacofoil jumping around! But I didn't know that then, obviously, and may I just point out to people who are not familiar with Bacofoil that it's a silver, sort of crinkly paper you wrap Turkeys in at Christmas prior to cooking them, not a place in, or near Sheffield!

The May '76 Empire Pool shows at Wembley saw me at Art College and skint! I really wanted to go and see him then....... I'd been obsessed with the guy for 4 solid years but, my parents had scraped together the money I needed for art equipment and I didn't wanna let them down by packing it in after only a few months. However, a few weeks later, after the disappointment of missing him live again I just couldn't stand it anymore.

Watching my mates going out drinking and buying things I couldn't afford started to sway me and then one day at college this guy chimes up.... "Don't you ever f**kin' talk about anything else but Bowie!"

That was it. I thought what am I doing here. I dropped out and got a job at Tesco. Not the best career move I ever made, but that's life!

June/July '78. Next lot of English dates. Guess what I was doing the following month? I'd fallen head over heels in love and was going to get married, after vowing in '76 that I wouldn't. She was just 18, I was just 19, Every penny we had went on the wedding.

I never had enough cash to travel abroad to a gig and it's not surprising, I was now married with two children. By the time the Serious Moonlight tour came to England in the summer of '83 I was up to my neck in debt, as anyone with two kids will know.

By ' 85 I was divorced and, unemployed again, which roughly translated means..... I was flat broke again. I had to watch Live aid, like most others, on T.V.

1987. The Glass Spider tour! Well I suppose like a lot of other people I strayed from the flock a little but, I was back on the social anyway after getting the push from selling advertising in the local paper, and a new girlfriend and a council flat to furnish, among other things, took the little cash I had, so to be honest even if I'd wanted to go I wouldn't have been able to. one of the other things was booze!

Unlike a lot of people I was into Tin Machine when they toured in '89. I was also into gigging with my own band and even more booze than I was in '87. From here until '96 things were pretty much the same story. Drinking, gigging, working, drinking, gigging, working. When the Outside tour hit town, I'd hit all sorts of things and had lost track of a few others.

The band I was in at this time were doing alright. We'd had two albums out and were gigging relentlessly but alas, banging our heads against a brick wall. Nothing really came of it and after six years of flogging a dead horse, it died.

'96 and '97 are a bit of a blur, then I somehow managed to get myself married.... AGAIN and tried to settle down. BIG mistake. Always skint.... again.

Fast forward to last summer and the Manchester gig. AT LAST. Well, i'm not gonna bore the pants of everyone with a rambling account of the gig. You'll have either been yourselves or read the reviews but, how I got to see him was a great surprise.

My 2nd marriage was all but over bar the official confirmation! My two daughters visit me and say "Dad, we've got an early birthday present for you."
At this point the penny was nowhere near the dropping stage!

"Put on your favourite David Bowie song." says the eldest.
"Why?" says I.
"To create the right atmosphere." she says.
Still no sign of any penny dropping upstairs. Mr Durr-brain or what?
"Slow Burn" was the one I was playing to death at the time so on it went.

Then she hands me this envelope. Still no penny. When I opened it, to say I was absolutely stunned would be the largest of understatements you could buy at an understatement superstore sale.

You could have knocked me over with a feather!

Two tickets to Move at Old Trafford. "Two" I indicated by holding them up, still slack jawed, speechless and now shaking like a leaf.

My brother chirps in "I'm hiring a car for the day and taking us." Still astounded, he continued, "After all the shit we've had this year... (he was in the same relationship boat as me)... we need a bit of joy mate."

Before I had chance to test if my mouth would co-operate and join in the announcements, my eldest starts up again, "Don't worry about spending money because Uncle Paul and Grandma are giving you cash to buy yourself a T-shirt or something."

I was truly shellshocked. Even the birth of these two women in front of me didn't stun me as much, because I knew that was going to happen.

I'm sure you get the picture by now. I could go on forever expressing, shock and joy but that was it. Just as it happened.

So from watching this weird bloke sing "Starman" on TOTP, 6/7/72 to eventually seeing him perform live in the flesh in Manchester 10/7/02. It took me 30 years and 4 days.

Sometimes the truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

Mr. Touchshriek.
11th February 2003.