dearest iman, lexi & duncan,
i'm one of those "feeling lost" souls & have been in a bit of a fog since our beloved david passed on. I haven't felt this way since my mother passed a few years ago. they were the two people in my life that I can look to as influencing who I am & who I am still to become..
when I was 17 (or it could have been 18, either 1977 or '78, I forget) I made a red-enameled soaring bird lapel pin with the Chinese symbol for happiness on it's wing. I had recently heard that duncan's mother had left him alone (in a closet, perhaps?) while she did stupid things, thus leading to their divorce (thank God!). so, I made it in my highschool art class and wanted to somehow give it to David when his tour hit detroit. I used to always leave school early, dress how I "thought" people would to "blend in" backstage, open the stage door at whatever venue my heroes performed in and quickly make my way into the seating area of that venue to catch sound check. fortunately for me, it worked more often than it did not! I was grateful to hand my gift over to David backstage but asked him not to open it in front of me (I would be mortified in case it wasn't received graciously, SILLY ME!). in the small box, I included an equally small piece of paper that had the happiness symbol as well as my note that read "happiness: all that I wish for you & your son"...I WISH I could include the photo I am about to mention here, but unfortunately it is in storage as I am in-between moves and only have temporary shelter at present...imagine how a teenaged fan who ADORED him felt when he came on stage that night WITH MY PIN ON HIS JACKET!!!! I had nice seats, but rushed the stage to get a photo of him, leaning against a stack of speakers on stage right, wearing that pin over his heart! what a thrill!
years later, as a freelance journalist, I interviewed him for the tin machine tour. I had to have my questions pre-screened by his staff, as they wanted ONLY questions regarding the band or their first release...nothing personal, nothing about himself, only tin machine-related issues. when his staff sent back approval (with only one question deleted), they mentioned they would be on an extension and would cut me off if I went off those pre-approved questions.
the week before my interview, and after the questions had been approved, I saw the ABC In Concert with tin machine on the tarmac @ LAX...and as the end-credits rolled, I noticed little richard go up on stage to greet your father/husband...so at the end of what was the pre-approved interview, I thought I could "sneak in" another question (since it WAS tin machine related) and asked him how it was that little richard got up on stage. well, his answer and the way he answered is yet another of my most cherished moments: he started GUSHING like a little kid that little richard had the same eye problem as he did and how thrilled he was that he had come to the show and came on stage. I was SO happy that I had the nerve to go past the approved questions! so I took it a step further and said "well, I've always said if I ever had the chance to, I would personally thank you for something you did when I was quite young..." and mentioned the red enameled bird pin that I made and which he wore on stage in detroit. his response was to thank me and to add (paraphrasing here) "well I am wearing very bright thierry mugler this tour, so if you want to make me anything else..."
by that point in my life I hadn't made anything too spectacular in quite some time, so I asked my friend who was making hand-painted watch faces (on working wrist watches) if I could purchase one for David as well as the rest of the band. the night of the concert when I was able to meet with him backstage, I showed him all 4 watches on my arm and asked him to pick the one he wanted. he chose the one with the largest face, which also had dancing pin lights by where the numbers would have been, and he asked if it would be alright if he gave it to his son. so duncan, I hope you remember it and enjoyed it for as long as the battery lasted.
as I mentioned previously, david bowie meant the world to me! those small gifts were the very least I could do for an artist/entertainer/human being that helped to mold my being as much as my mom and life's experiences. when I finally find my next home and unpack all my possessions & touchstones, I look forward to hearing my interview again (I saved it of course, on cassette) and seeing the photo of my hero with my pin over his heart.
God bless you and God bless David Bowie, forever in my heart & soul.
PS, it just so happens that I work in the theatre where he first performed in Detroit in 1973. that stage is precious ground to me! how was I to know that years later, my career would lead me here?