Friday, 11 March 2016

David Bowie

Organising a tribute to David Bowie, hero of her teen years, plunges Jane Green into a sea of nostalgia and the often rough waters of eBay

Written by Jane Green
I am still finding the loss of David Bowie painfully large. I will confess, I have not been a consistently loyal fan all these years, but from 12 to around 18, David Bowie was my world, and I can still sing, word for word, pretty much every one of his songs.

A friend of mine emailed me and said she was also suffering, and wouldn’t it be lovely to gather together people who loved him, and listen to his music, and sing a bit, and maybe cry a bit, and lose ourselves in a sea of nostalgia and love.

I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do more. I enthusiastically offered to organise it with her. By the time she told me, the next day, that she was off travelling for the next three weeks, I had already booked a venue, organised the caterer, found a music director, and got the creative genius started on an audio visual presentation.

I decided that no Bowie tribute would be complete unless the walls of the venue were plastered with posters of him, preferably with magazine folds and staple holes, just like the bedroom walls of our youth.

And so I duly went on eBay to try to source some vintage posters for the decor. Reader, I try very hard to avoid eBay. Even sitting here typing the name on my screen sends a small thrill of pleasure running through my body – eBay, for me, is like knowing where the buried treasure is hidden, and having to muster every ounce of willpower I possess in order to stop myself from digging it up every second of every day.

I have found spectacular treasures on eBay, and even more spectacular failures. A friend of mine once bought a vintage dentist’s chair for her husband’s office, marvelling at the bargain price, only to find, when it arrived, that it was in fact a model chair about the size of her hand.

I once wired a somewhat large amount of money to a man in Indonesia for a bag that never arrived. But I did score a gorgeous 1950s crocodile handbag that had been very well loved and did a beautiful job of sprucing up whatever I decided to wear.

I went to a charity tea with a girlfriend who had a not dissimilar bag over her arm, and each time someone complimented her, she thanked them, explaining it was her grandmother’s. I do believe the bag actually had belonged to her grandmother, but at the same time realise that it was a far better story than saying you had found it on eBay.

After that, whenever I used the bag and received a compliment, I smiled, said thank you, then said it had belonged to my grandmother. Bless my grandmother’s heart, she did not, as far as I am aware, possess any crocodile bags. If she did, I certainly never saw them.

I have managed to stay off eBay for quite some time since the crocodile bag, but the vintage posters of David Bowie have brought me back. I found many posters. And a few necklaces. A bracelet or two. And a rather wonderful vintage bag… I would wear it to my David Bowie tribute, but something tells me it’s not very rock ’n’ roll.

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