With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

The David Bowie World Fan Convention 2022 – Day 3 June 19, 2022


Just how did the final day of the rather spiffing David Bowie World Convention come around so quickly? I really don’t know, but here it is. the day kicked off really well as I managed to complete a great set of autographs in the “Little People, Big Dreams – David Bowie” (written by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Ana Albero) for my 18-month-old grandson Leo. The book has dedications for Leo from John Cambridge, Woody Woodmansey, Donny McCaslin, Gail Ann Dorsey, Robin Clark, and Carlos Alomar. Carlos was kind enough to add a cartoon self-portrait. I plan to teach Leo everything I know about Dame David! I suspect that after the excellent Bowie Ball on Saturday night that there were a few sore heads in the audience for Sunday, but the schedule was busy and exciting.

Jonathan Barnbrook
Pegg, Duffy, Auliac, O’Regan

First up were a couple of very interesting and informative short films presented by the curators of the David Bowie Is exhibition, Victoria Broackes, and Geoffrey Marsh. This was followed by Jonathan Barnbrook a supremely talented designer who created the cover for Bowie’s final two albums and Heathen to name just a few. Not only is he a great designer he is also a confident and eloquent raconteur. His sense of humour is magnificent and frankly right up my street! After that Kevin Cann was back to facilitate a conversation with the owner and creator of the Duffy Archive, Chris Duffy. Chris is a talented photographer in his own right and his father was the person behind the iconic ‘Aladdin Sane’ album. Chris talked about his childhood, his father, Bowie, and many of the artists he has photographed. Very entertaining indeed! Chris returned for the next session in which Nicholas Pegg was in conversation with Mr. Duffy, Phillipe Auliac, and Denis O’Regan. It was pleasing to hear Phillipe say that it was him who shot Bowie not doing a Nazi salute at Victoria Station in 1976. I was there and there most definitely was not a nazi salute. The press turned a snapshot into a vile slur. O’Regan’s memories were enlightening, especially his story about the on-stage feuds between Mick and Keef. The final session was Nicholas Pegg in conversation with the obscenely talented Donny McCaslin. Donny went into great depths about the creation of ‘Black Star’ and the ‘No Plan’ EP. We learned that while Donny is a master of many instruments, the piccolo is not one of them. Donny shared some demos of his new project which is performing ‘Black Star’ and other Bowie songs with a full concert orchestra. The plan is for it to be performed for the first time in the US in September. Even the demos sounded magical, they made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end and I was washed with wonderfully warm emotions. Donny closed his session with a solo sax performance of, I think, “Warszawa”. Every session has been incredibly good, (apart from the NFT presentation on Friday), but I think Donny’s just about shaded it for me as the best of the whole weekend. Before we left we were treated to seeing all the remaining guests appear on stage as a final thank you.

Donny McCaslin

The 2nd David Bowie World Fan Convention is planned for June 2023 in New York, sadly I won’t be able to make that, but I am so glad I made it to Liverpool for this one. We met some great people, especially top bloke and our new friend Jeremy. Perhaps a slight disappointment was not being able to get into the incredibly limited capacity Bowie Quiz at Phase One. But that is minor and did not spoil a truly spectacular weekend!

If you have enjoyed this article feel free to follow the blog, or follow us on;

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

EMail

Are you interested in writing and reviewing for With Just A Hint Of Mayhem? If so then please get in touch.

 

The David Bowie World Fan Convention 2022 – Day 2


All of us hard-core Bowie fans flocked back to the Mountford Hall in Liverpool on Saturday for day 2 of the magnificent David Bowie World Fan Convention. Proceedings were kicked off by Bowie specialist and author, Kevin Cann, If you ever had to choose someone who might truly be the font of knowledge for all things Bowie, Kevin might well be it, followed closely by Nicholas Pegg. Kevin’s rather excellent presentation centred on Bowie’s early years, particularly his childhood and early manager Ken Pitt. He shared some very rare clips and photographs that absolutely delighted his audience. Woody Woodmansey’s appearance on day 1 was incredibly funny, but early Bowie drummer John Cambridge’s session on Day 2 took the humour to another stratospheric level. What a wonderful raconteur he is and his memory definitely borders on photographic. He stayed in touch with David over the years and some of their interactions, particularly the emails he shared showed that both Cambo and Bowie possessed great comedy talent.

Nicholas Pegg was back on stage to facilitate the next session which featured Professor Alex Sharpe and Doctor Bethany Usher alongside John Cambridge and Woody Woodmansey. Woody clearly enjoyed the first day so much that he stayed on! Although we had two wonderfully talented academics on stage this was also quite a fun session too. It was really interesting to hear Professor Sharpe’s personal take on how Bowie had been so important in her journey as a transgender woman. Dr. Usher’s story about living opposite Roker Park in Sunderland as a young child and hearing David Bowie play there in the 80s started her own Bowie journey. John Cambridge confirmed what many of us probably believed that David Bowie was an alien. Obviously, I took that as a cast-iron fact! The day’s proceedings closed with Kevin Cann hosting a panel that included Carlos Alomar, Robin Clark, Gail Ann Dorsey, and Donnie McCaslin. This was perhaps the most emotional session we have experienced so far with all four of the panel sharing intimate memories of their friendship with Bowie including their very last conversations with him. My new friend Jeremy suggested that this might have been quite cathartic for them and I think he is right!

After that, we all dashed back to our hotels to sparkle up for the Bowie Ball. My wonderful wife Catherine and I used the theme of “put on your red shoes and dance the blues”. Check out our pictures below. There were some truly amazing costumes on show and so many people had made a huge effort to look great. Many of us are more all the old dudes (and dudettes) these days, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time enjoying some great film footage from Nacho (check out some of his fab Bowie videos below) and singing and dancing to a great Bowie tribute act, Rebel Heroes. We left just as the Bowie DJs started playing. Why so early? Well at our age we need the sleep! The venue, St. Georges Hall is a stunning and in places labyrinthian building. The size is breathtaking as are the stained glass windows. Day 3 will, I am sure be another epic day!

Catherine, me, and Jeremy jazzin’ for Blue Jean at the Bowie Ball
What a lucky man I am 🙂

If you have enjoyed this article feel free to follow the blog, or follow us on;

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

EMail

Are you interested in writing and reviewing for With Just A Hint Of Mayhem? If so then please get in touch.

 

The David Bowie World Fan Convention 2022 – Day 1 June 17, 2022


Day 1 of the David Bowie World Fan Convention was good. Nicholas Pegg, writer, actor, Dalek, Twitter star, and wonderful interviewer facilitated sessions with Gail Ann Dorsey, Woody Woodmansey, RobinClark, and Carlos Alomar. Gail Ann Dorsey is an all-around wonderful human being she was really open about how sometimes she felt worried that she wasn’t very good. I have seen her play live and she is supremely talented! Woody Woodmansey has absolutely hilarious and extremely honest. Carlos Alomar was interviewed with his wonderful wife Robin Clark, what a stunning voice she has! They both came across as great people. I even got to ask them a question: “I was lucky enough to see David Bowie play live quite a few times from 1976 to 2004 and in every show, it seemed like Bowie and everyone on stage with him were really enjoying themselves, so what was your funniest moment on stage with David?” It was quite a brilliant but long reply focussing on Bowie’s sense of humour and how he turned Robin and Carlos on to British humour, including Monty Python. I thanked them both and added “nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”. I was so pleased when Robin guffawed and looked over at me and said “Touche”, my day was made!

The evening drinks reception for us VIP guests at the British Music Experience in the Cunard Building was great, I will definitely be coming back to spend more time there, probably early next year with my delightful wife Catherine a.k.a Catwoman! A big shout out to a new friend and Bowie fanatic Jeremy too. His suggestion that I should dress up as the Laughing Gnome for the Bowie Ball tomorrow night was brilliant, I just wish that I thought of that ages ago! You can find a rather delightful video of me and Jeremy dancing to Madonna’s “Vogue” at the BME on the Mayhem Twitter account, our performance will definitely scare Madonna! Day 2 is looking good too, John Cambridge, Kevin Cann, and more from Gail, Woody, Robin, and Carlos!

If you have enjoyed this article feel free to follow the blog, or follow us on;

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

EMail

Are you interested in writing and reviewing for With Just A Hint Of Mayhem? If so then please get in touch.

 

Holy Holy – Barbican, York – Friday 8th February 2019 February 10, 2019


I had wanted to see Holy Holy for a long while but I have never been in the same place at the same time. But this time I made it! For those of you who are unaware Holy Holy is a band with the backbone of two David Bowie stalwarts; Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey a former Spider From Mars and Tony Visconti who produced many of the Dame’s albums and contributed bass on ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ The vocalist is Glenn Gregory off of Heaven 17. Are they a Bowie tribute act? Not in the wonderfully theatrical sense that Absolute Bowie are I see Holy Holy more as a band that is keeping the legacy alive through people who were there and were a part of the whole Bowie phenomenon. But more of Holy Holy in a bit, there is the support act to consider first and this was a solo acoustic set by none other than John Bramwell off of I Am Kloot. This was apparently his first support gig in sixteen years since I Am Kloot supported Turin Brakes. His between song chat was hilarious, John is a true raconteur who speaks eloquently and intelligently. That eloquence and intelligence is a strong part of his lyrics too. This was the first night of the tour and John regaled us with the fact that he had forgotten his guitar stands and that he had left his merch in the car. He also explained why he always talks to the audience while tuning his guitar, at a gig some years ago while tuning he overheard a comment from the audience where someone said “I don’t like this new one!” Bramwell is a very talented singer songwriter who knows his audience and wins people over with wit and very classy songs. I reckon he had quite a few new fans after tonight.

In the past I was never a great fan of bands playing a whole album from start to finish at a gig, but I have grown to love it over the years. Tonight was a fabulous night with not just one Bowie album played in its entirety but two. First came ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ followed by ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’. It takes a good band to do these two LPs justice and this is a great band. Along with Woodmansey on drums, Visconti on bass and Gregory on vocals there are two guitarists; James Stevenson and Paul Cuddeford. Berenice Scott on keyboards and the multi instrumental Jessica Lee Morgan on acoustic guitar, saxophone, percussion and vocals. Glenn Gregory as the singer in this band is an inspired choice, he doesn’t try to be Bowie but he handles all the songs powerfully and tastefully. He certainly knows his rock god shapes and poses too. Hearing these two albums again in this environment made me think how fresh, new and different they must have sounded to fans back in 1970 and 1972 respectively. The explosive power and sheer bombast of set opener “Width Of A Circle” should have given Sabbath and Led Zep a run for their money but ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ album never really took off until after Ziggy Stardust exploded into being. The band really showed their full on hard rock credentials during this epic track and it set the scene for a great night. As a part of this blogs recent 10th birthday celebrations I posted my top ten Bowie songs, I did say that it changes regularly and after this Holy Holy gig I really need to find a space for the magnificent “All The Madmen”. When I first bought the album on cassette back in 1972 that was always my favourite song. Tonight all those teenage memories were brought to the fore again with an immaculate run through of this classic treatise on insanity where the only sane people are those in the asylums. Glenn Gregory and the band were firing on all cylinders for the first album of the evening and the crowd were singing along with most songs. Especially the title track and the “oh by jingo” refrain from “After All”. Obviously the first part of the show ended with “The Superman” on which Gregory’s vocals reached a new peak.

Now it was time for what many see as their favourite Bowie album, “The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars” to give it its full title. Incidentally my favourite Bowie album is ‘Diamond Dogs’. Woody Woodmansey’s understated drum sound on “Five Years” still sends shivers down my spine coupled with lyrics of hopelessness in a world that is dying. I don’t believe that Glenn Gregory quite captured the sheer emotion in Bowie’s delivery on the record but he still did a great job. “Moonage Daydream” was probably the point where many of the crowd left their seats to dance, that song blew the house down and I reckon Mick Ronson would have been more than satisfied with the guitar skills on display. As expected no one stayed quiet for “Starman” especially the “la la la” part. Interestingly, and perhaps to give Glenn Gregory a well deserved break, Jessica Lee Morgan (who is Tony Visconti’s daughter) sang “Lady Stardust”, this woman is incredibly talented. Has there ever been an album with a better closing four tracks than this? “Hang On To Yourself”, “Ziggy Stardust”, “Suffragette City” and “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide” tore the house down and put the roof into orbit. The only thing that could possibly have made that better would have been David Bowie actually being there. A spectacular band had just played two of Bowie’s finest albums, did they have anything left? Well yes they did, after a short break they were back for an encore. They kicked off their four song closing part with a wonderful surprise, not another hit from 1969 to 1973, but the beautiful and emotionally charged come back single from 2014, “Where Are We Now”. The band did not put a foot wrong and Glenn Gregory gave his finest vocal performance of the night, possibly not a dry eye in the house! This was followed by two classics from ‘Hunky Dory’, “Changes” and “Life On Mars”. The showed closed with the sing along sonic assault of “Rebel Rebel”. At the end Woody said a few words about being a part of this experience and being back in Yorkshire and then it was all over. It took me a while to come down from this high after getting home. I will definitely be seeing Holy Holy again!

Public Service Announcement: All photographs and videos were found on line. If any of them are yours and you would like a credit or for me to take them down please let me know.

 

“New York’s a go-go and everything tastes nice” December 21, 2011


Regular readers and Bowie fans who have found their way here by accident will know that footage of Mr Bowie performing “The Jean Genie” on Top Of The Pops in 1973 has recently been unearthed. I posted about it on December 13th, just click here to read that one.

Anyway, first reports said that the BBC would air the film on BBC4 next year. Then last week some news reports suggested that it would be shown today at 19.30 UK time on BBC4. Then on Monday it was confirmed that it would be included in the Top Of The Pops 2 Christmas special broadcast at 19.30 on BBC2 earlier today.

I’m pleased to say that the song appeared reasonably early in the 90 minute show and it was superb. It was recorded live in the BBC studios on January 3rd 1973 and broadcast the following day. Bowie was backed by the Spiders; Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey, Trevor Bolder and the late great Mick Ronson. Bowie wore something far less loud than you might expect for the period; a very glam era jacket and trousers combo. Ronson had the jump suit and Bolder had those amazingly ridiculous sideburns. Mr Bowie also showed his prowess on the harmonica, even throwing in a short burst from a Beatles tune. Was it “Love Me Do“. It’s amazing that this is almost 39 years to the day that the single entered the UK charts. It went on to become his biggest hit up to that point when it peaked at number 2.

Bowie was sporting the classic Ziggy cut, the only time a slightly mullet style has ever been cool in my opinion. Was this the last TV appearance by the Spiders? Does anyone know? Bear in mind that this was just a few months away from the famous Hammersmith Odeon gig ‘retired’ and broke up the band. I’d love to hear what you thought of the clip and hopefully if you’re not in the UK you won’t have too long to wait. In the meantime click here to hear an interview with cameraman John Henshall (apologies for saying that he was retired in my earlier post about this story, apparently he isn’t) on BBC Radio Oxford and the audio of “The Jean Genie” from that show.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: