25 Years Of Collecting Bowie: Strange Relics

One thing you discover about yourself when you are a collector of sorts is that, with the passing of time, you learn to enjoy the more obscure items that you acquire.  They often come with an interesting back story and have a touch of adventure when it comes to remembering how they came into your possession in the first place.  You remember the day, where you were, the weather, the time, the mood you were in, the clothes you were wearing and even how you had your hair and what you ate for lunch that day.  Or maybe that’s just me?  Either way, the next three items all have a special place in my love of collecting.

I should add, that aside from collecting Bowie, I collect many other things including coffee mugs of the many football grounds in Europe i frequent, programs from the football matches I attend and also that I keep all the books I read.  You will never see me off loading a pile of dusty old paperbacks because they bring not only dogs ears and cracks in the spine, but a plethora of memories from the experience reading said book at the time.  Oh, I am also one of those who tends to re-visit a novel down the track to find new perspectives that I failed to embrace the first time around.  Take George Orwell’s 1984 as a prime example.  I surveyed the pages within for the very first time at the age of 15 thanks to the recommendation of my English teacher and have been back to it no less than four times over the years.  As I grow older, I see the content within on a far different scale to the way I first observed it all those years ago as a pure novas.

1978 Tour poster

Now, the first item off the rank today is an original tour poster from Bowie’s first jaunt down under in November 1978.  He was closing in on the end of his world tour and the people of Brisbane were lucky enough to enjoy the spectacle on a balmy Tuesday evening.  November 21st to be more precise.  The poster itself lay dormant in a box room of Lang Park for more than 16 years before it was found in a clean out when Lang Park was undergoing refurbishment in 2004.  Many other concert memorabilia items ended up in rubbish bins which would have been a great shame.  This little gem, along with multiple other items was taken to Rockaway Records nearby where it sat in the poster rack for some time until the day I arrived to find it with an asking price of $10.  The perfect end to a wonderful day out.  I’d just been out with friends for sushi and it was a hot day without a cloud in sight so I needed some respite which led me to Rockaway for some browsing.

It became a guarded item on the crowded bus ride home and I rushed out the very next day to buy a frame though I always felt as though it needed something more regal.  In 2004 that regal idea came to fruition when I had it framed properly by a lady named Leonie at Framing Corner in Toowong, a suburb just outside of the city.  It cost $450 at the time to frame but was worth every penny because the protective glass and TLC has ensured this beautiful item still looks amazing to this day, almost 40 years since the original concert took place.

Another piece I am fond of and glad I acquired is a record store cut out to promote the re-issue campaign of Bowie’s back catalogue in 1990.  This particular item was once of 5 different designs issued to commemorate the campaign and in particular, CHANGESBOWIE, an updated take on the 1976 compilation, CHANGESONEBOWIE.  The album peaked at number 1 in the U.K and reached as high as number 6 in Australia, number 2 in New Zealand and went top ten in a further 6 countries upon release.  In America, it failed to generate a great deal of business, only reaching as high as 39 in the Billboard charts.

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The little stand up display you see above was originally in place at Tower Records in London and one of the staff, managed to nab it when the promotion period ended.  He held onto it for a number of years before listing it on a mail order page during the mid 90’s and not realizing the absolute hassle in getting it posted to Australia, I snapped it up at first glance.  A friend of mine here in Brisbane at the time had the Aladdin Sane counterpart but I have not seen any of the others from the Ryko period turn up anywhere for sale.  Bowie’s stock wasn’t very high in 1989/90 so a lot of the promo material ended up in bins and being trashed.  This cut out is still one of my favorite items. One day soon, I may have to begin looking for the other four cut out displays that were issued at the time.

Finally, we come to the last item of the day.  It links up nicely with the earlier mentioned tour poster from 1978.  This time, we have a few items in framed in one lovely setting.  A tour shirt, concert ticket from the Melbourne show, a tour program and a copy of the Blackout 7″ on blue vinyl that was issued in Holland to promote the Stage double LP which also saw release on yellow and blue vinyl in the same country.  I bought the shirt and ticket stub from a private dealer in the mid 90’s and not long after, found a copy of the tour book which cost me $100.  Probably a little over the odds for the time as I already owned a further three copies yet this framed copy was and still is, in fantastic condition.  The blue vinyl was a purchase from a record fair in Sydney during the summer of 1996 when I was down visiting friends.

1978 Tour Shirt

As you may have also noticed, the framing is similar to that of the Brisbane tour poster.  It cost slightly more at $500 but once again, it was worth every penny because all the items inside have been magnificently protected over the years and I look forward to once more being able to hang these items at home where I can admire them on a daily basis instead of leaving them literally in the dark of a storage unit along with the other two thousand plus Bowie items and various bits and bobs.  Why is all this in storage you ask?  Well, I travel a lot and have been moving a great deal in recent years, no less than 13 different addresses since 2008!

Dear Diary…..

Once upon a time, many woman, and the occasional stray male such as yours truly would keep a hand written diary.  Between the pages one could discuss the day to day goings on of life along with personal thoughts that you wouldn’t want to share with other people.  I’m sure back in the day, many parents would have attempted to unravel the “woe is me” tales from their often troubled teenage children.

I went along to my storage unit today after work so I could pick up some books for weekend reading and stumbled over an old diary that I sporadically scrawled in when I was in the final couple of years of high school.

One particular entry kind of took me by surprise as I didn’t realise how difficult and troubled my thoughts were on March 15 1995.  It read as follows……….

 

Today was a good day because I didn’t feel like throwing myself under a bus.  One day I want to buy a sharp hunting knife and slash the throats of everyone here who picks on me.  I just don’t fit in with these people.  Even the teachers think I’m strange but they are all idiots anyway.  There are still ages to go before I leave school but I will be so happy to be away from here.  Next week is Austudy week so at least I can wag and go to the city and look at the record shops again.  If dad gets me some cassettes I can make some mix tapes and take them into that girl at Skinny’s.  She loves my Smiths tape and likes Marion and Elastica so she is a keeper but I guess I have to ask her out to begin with for her to be a keeper.

The batteries on my Walkman died on the way in this morning.  I was halfway through Pulp’s “His’n’Hers” tape so had to walk the final steps from the bus into school listening to other people talk about stuff that doesn’t remotely interest me.  My brother gave me a copy of an Oscar Wilde book which is hard to get.  If anyone sees it I am going to get rubbish bins tipped over me for being gay.  At least in a few months I will be free from school and can begin my life properly.  Once I turn 18 I am going to start being a DJ and run clubs that play my music and everyone is going to dance like Brett and Jarvis and girls are going to actually like me and want to have children with me and move to England with me and read these Oscar Wilde books with me and tell me they love me every morning so I won’t feel like throwing myself under buses anymore and nobody is going to tease me about my hair or call me ugly or tip rubbish bins over me any more.

 

25 Years Of Bowie Collecting: Marshall Jarman Catalogue – Winter 1994

Following my initial orders with Marshall Jarman, I received his European winter catalogue in the Australian summer of 1994 which was again, jam packed with multiple collectibles that I poured over with tricky decisions as to which items I would like to buy from.  By now, and with a copy of Marshall’s “World 7″ Discography” book in my possession, I was growing an increasing liking for the RCA era orange label singles.

I should add that Marshall would send separate bootleg catalogue listings with these but I will cover those in another blog.  I will also pick up one of copies of Marshall’s 7″ books this evening and put together a more detailed blog about that too over the weekend when I have more spare time available.

For now though, please enjoy this latest entry and should you have any questions, as always, drop me a line and I will be happy to help as best I can.

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PAGE 2:  Section One – 7″ Singles & Section Two – 7″ Singles With Picture Sleeves

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PAGE 3: Section 2 (continued)

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PAGE 4: Section Two (continued)

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PAGE 5: Section Two – Continued & Section Three – Picture Discs

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PAGE 6: Section Four – 12″ Singles

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PAGE 7: Section Five – Continued

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PAGE 8: Section Six – Compact Discs

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25 Years Of Collecting Bowie: Marshall Jarman Catalogue – Spring 1994

As promised earlier, I decided to share some of my old Marshall Jarman catalogues to you all in an effort to give an indication of how much the collectors market has changed over time.  I cannot speak highly enough of Marshall.  His prices were always reasonable and his service was second to none!  With these catalogues, I have decided to take photographs of each page as I don’t own a scanner so my apologies in advance for the crookedness that may appear with some of the images.  There are a further five catalogues to share plus a plethora of flyers and bootleg listings to come so keep checking back.

Without further conversation, I give you the Spring 1994 catalogue!

PAGE 1: Cover

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PAGE 2: Section 1 – 7″ singles not issued with a PS & Section 2 – 7″ singles with a PS

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PAGE 3: Section 2 (continued)

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PAGE 4: Section 2 (continued), Section 3 – Picture Discs, Section 4 – Interview Discs, Section 5 – 12″ Singles & Section 6 – LP Records

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PAGE 5: Section 6 (continued)

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PAGE 6: Section 7 – Compact Discs

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PAGE 7: Section 8 – RYKODISC & Section 9 – Tin Machine

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PAGE 8: Methods of Payment & Pistage

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Breaking New Ground

Something quite surprising happened last night.  This very blog you are reading broke new ground by surpassing the previous calander years record of views set back in 2014.  And its only June 20!  When I began writing The Complexity Project on a warm morning in January all those years ago, I never imagined it would get to this stage of readership giving me such immense personal satisfaction.

There have been people from all over the world who have written to me to say thank you for inspiring them in any number of ways and, for many reasons.  Those people have come from as far as Slovenia, Peru, Tanzania and as near as the city I now reside in, Brisbane.  In the beginning, I thought nobody would read it and that I would tire of it after a few months.  I’m glad I was wrong.

As a boy, I had dreams of being a journalist but they were soon quashed when teachers at school said my writing style was not good enough to progress.  And I believed them! Looking at the hack journalists I see writing for media outlets today, I’d wish I had ignored those English teachers and been more persistent in chasing my dreams.  It’s a major factor why I don’t listen to people today and just do my own thing and to be honest, I just don’t give a flying fuck for what people think.  And nor should you!  It’s your life.  Just do what makes you happy!

For now however, I’d love to thank each and every one of you who has read segments of this blog, shared it around, sent emails and messages of kindness or been inspired from reading one of my entries.  I’m just so incredibly chuffed to know that my adventures and stories have inspired others to be themselves, challenge themselves or just think outside the box.  That’s what life is about after all.

Thank your from the bottom of my heart!

Now, which media outlet wants to give this kid a job?

How To Walk Your Way To A Better Life!

Let’s face it.  More than ever before, we live in an image obsessed society.  The pressure we face from our peers, the media and even close friends and family is immense on so many levels.  But why do we worry so much about how we look?  In 2015, research (World Health Organisation) revealed over 2 BILLION people on earth were overweight.  Of that number, 600 MILLION were considered obese.  Are you surprised?  I’m not.  And here’s why.

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We lead busy lives more than we ever have.  Mortgage payments, long hours in the office, easier accessibility to junk food, credit card debts, the distraction of smart phones and social media take up lots of our time and head space.  And research shows that we spend more time sitting in our cars than at any other point in history.  We also have a society conditioned to think “if I can’t look amazing than why should I bother?”  Well, there are many reasons to bother and make the effort.

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Walking home tonight, I felt a little wobbly from a long day at work.  I’d walked 9.6 km’s to work, then, foolishly, failed to eat properly.  Halfway home, I needed food.  Sadly, my only option was McDonalds.  Subway was shut.  The sushi train was shut and no other options available, I was off to the Golden Arches for a cheeseburger and orange juice.  It was ok I guess but I could have murdered a Subway.  With 14 km’s in walking up for the day, I bunked the train home and kicked back.  I’ll be walking again tomorrow, as I do most days but will pay special attention to eating properly unlike today.  All up this week, I plan to walk around 80-90 km’s.  I don’t find it boring because I have endless podcasts to churn through, Spotify playlists to enjoy and thoughts about life to ponder.

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Over this calendar year, I will walk and run a grand total somewhere in the vicinity of 2,500 km’s.  That would equate to walking to Sydney and back then halfway back to Sydney again.

When people see how much walking and running I do on top of regular gym workouts, they often scratch their heads because I don’t look like someone who runs around a footy field on weekends, runs half and full marathons for a hobby or walks to and from work most days during the week.  Age is one factor.  I’m hitting 40 next month.  Genetics are another whilst food is also a determining factor.  Those who know me will understand that I love my carbs too much, enjoy my sweet tooth and am in no way a role model for a balanced diet.

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What walking will do for you is give you the following benefits.

  •  Increase your cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness levels
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Reduce the effects of high blood pressure
  • Reduce muscle, joint and bone soreness
  • Improve your balance
  • Increase muscle strength
  • Reduce fat cells

It’s a series of pretty good benefits yes?

I know walking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but you can learn to love it I promise.  Sometimes you just need to start out in small increments like a few short walks of 2-3 km’s each week.  Maybe take the kids with you?  The dog? Your husband or wife?  Or perhaps you can use the time to clear your head, plan work and study ideas, catch up on some new music or find a nice lactation to take in the scenery.  Sometimes, I even use walking to think about what I would like to write about in this blog or contemplate countries I would enjoy visiting?  As with most things, you can make the walking experiences whatever you want them to be.

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Most of all, make walking a habit.  Rest when you feel tired and have rest days or lower impact walks where needed.  If you normally walk say, 6 km’s and only feel like 3 km’s on a particular evening, don’t look at it as a failure for not completing your target.  See it as a success.  Any exercise is better than none!  More than anything, don’t worry about how you look or what others may think.  We all come in different shapes and sizes so it’s vitality important that you accept, love and respect your body however the cookie may have crumbled for you.

Speaking of cookies.  Just eat the bloody thing!  Your regular walks will ensure eating the odd cookie isn’t the end of the world!

Meeting Girls Made Easy…….

Cast your minds back to a time that is now far, far away.  September 1995 to be exact.  It was a time when I began to learn the ways of the female species.  The setting? A place called The Record Exchange, a spacious second hand store in the city that sold vinyl, tapes, shirts, bongs, clothing, boots and a whole lot more.  The girl in question?  Her name was Jewel and she was in town from the country visiting her aunt who, as it turns out, lived just a couple of suburbs away from me.  Jewel was a bit of a hippy at the time.  She had long, flowing, dark curly hair that reached halfway down her back.  Her smile was very checking and she was tall.  Almost 6 foot in fact but being quite thin, it made her look even taller!  So how did this chance meeting come about you ask?  Sit back, relax and let uncle Davey tell you the story…..

I was working part time in another record store which was just around the corner from The Record Exchange.  During my extended lunch breaks, i’d go for a wander around some of the cities other stores to see what they had on offer.  This one particular sunny afternoon, I headed up the stairs to The Record Exchange and made a bee line to the Bowie vinyl (where else would I start?) to see if any new arrivals had been placed on the racks.  And there she was!  My only previous experience with a girl was some two years before when I met someone at school whilst on detention (yes, I was a naughty boy) and we walked home to her parents house and made out in the pool room.  We kissed for what seemed like hours though, it was probably closer to twenty minutes before her parents came home.  Lisa was her name.  Anyway, where was I again?  Oh year, the Bowie vinyl.

So I moved in to introduce myself.

“Hi, I’m David”

“Oh hey, I’m Jewel.  You like Bowie too?”

“You could say that?  Where are you from?”

“Rockhampton. You?”

“I live her in Brisbane.  It’s my final year of school so I work part time in the record store around the corner.  You should come in one day and I will play you some cool music.”

“Yeah sure.”

“So, would you like to come and join me for a cup of tea?”

“I’d love to!”

I popped back into work and told my boss that I met a girl and wanted to get to know her and he, in turn, gave a cheeky nod of approval.  So off we went.

The next three hours we spent sitting on our cups of tea was magic.  We discovered that we both loved and enjoyed the same music, films and artists.  It was the first time in my life that I truly connected with any member of the opposite sex like this.  I was in heaven!  As the evening progressed, I didn’t want to go. I could have spent days listening in on Jewel’s point of view and thoughts about the world we lived in.  A few times, we gingerly touched hands under the table.  My palms were sweaty as were hers.  Eventually, the cafe closed and we decided it was time to head home so I got the bus with Jewel part of the way.  The whole bus ride we just stood in silence.  That magical silence where you feel nothing but a sweet sensation of bliss.  We held hands too!

A few days later, we arranged to meet up in town to go to the riverside markets.  I remember the day being incredibly warm and sticky.  It didn’t bother either of us though.  Once more the hours rushed by and with lunch and afternoon tea under our belts, our second day together was now coming to a close.  I dearly wished we could have spent the night hanging out playing records.  Sadly, Jewel’s aunt was very particular about her being home in time for dinner and it was too soon to have me over.  A few days later though, that would all change.

The sad thing about all this was knowing Jewel would be heading back home in a few days so we decided to make every post a winner.  We visited art galleries, book stores, alternative clothing stores and drank lots of tea and ate more cake than either of us could handle.  Sunday came around and it was the day before Jewel was due to head home.  School holidays were almost done with so we decided to spend the day at her aunt’s house and play music whilst fritting the hours away with endless conversations.  I’d brought some rare Bowie CD’s over that I knew Jewel would not have heard along with a box of blank cassette tapes so we could make tapes for her to listen to on the long bus journey home.  It was my first time making mix tapes for someone I liked so in a funny way, I felt loads of pressure to get the “mix” spot on.  She later informed me in one of her letters that I nailed every tape to a tee. Phew!

As the afternoon sun began to set into the distance, we played a live CD of Bowie’s performance from Montreal in 1983.  It was a soundboard recording released on the old Banana label that ran from Adelaide here in Australia.  When “Life On Mars?” came on, Jewel loved it!  It was her favorite song from Hunky Dory and this was the first time she had heard a live version of the song.  She loved it so much that we decided to put it on repeat and listen to it over and over.  It was around the fifth rendition that I decided to go for it!  Our arms were wrapped around each other and eventually, we started to kiss.  It was soft and tender, very slow with a gentle passion.  I felt like I had died and shuffled on to heaven or some such place.  Bowie on the hi fi, a beautiful girl in my arms and a moment that I remember as if it was just yesterday.  These are the memories that you take to your grave with a grand sense of fondness.

I think it was somewhere around the 13th repeat of “Life On Mars?” that the CD started to skip as if the Gods were telling us to cool it.  We moved to the couch and snuggled up into a ball as the rest of the CD played out.  By the finish, it was time for me to go home so Jewel walked me to the train station and we sat in the darkness for another hour just holding on to one another.  It all started to feel a bit sad because Jewel was heading home the next morning.  I’d promised her that I would lag off school to meet her at the bus station in town.  It still didn’t hide the sadness.  This was after all the age before the internet so aside from the occasional phone call and letter, it would be a few months before we would see each other again.  Sensing this, Jewel decided to do something that was completely unexpected and left me surprised.

We were both virgins and had absolutely no experience in that erm, area shall we say?  Which is why I was a little stunned when Jewel decided to unzip my pants at this dark and secluded train station before going a little further than I had expected.  You probably don’t want to know the full details but can I just say, it was incredible!  I had no idea a girl could “perform” like that with just her mouth!  I could have and would have gone on longer had it not been for my need to be on the last train.  I was too embarrassed to call my dad for a lift so it was choo choo or bust for this little duck.  I went home and barely slept a wink.  All my thoughts were trained on the previous 12 hours or so.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t put “Life On Mars?” back on the stereo and listen to it as I drifted away into a night of peaceful sleep.

The next morning, I was up and on the bus into town at an incredibly early time.  Well, it felt like that but I think it was around 7 am so not really that early I guess?  Anyway, I had to be at the station to see Jewel off.  We met on the bus platform at Roma Street and waited for the 8:55 am Greyhound coach to arrive in readiness for a departure.  I was hoping it would be running late but sadly, the driver pulled in right on time for a quick departure.  We held a kind of nervous conversation.  Not a lot of common sense was made out of anything thought Jewel did inform me that she had picked up extra batteries for her Walkman so she could listen to the mix tapes we had made together.  Eventually, the time came for Jewel to board the Greyhound and head home.  We promised to call each other and write on a regular basis until we saw each other again in December which, seemed like an eternity.  As she pulled out on the coach, we waved frantically until the bus was out of sight and I decided to head into town and kill time in book stores for the rest of the day which, may I say, is a total blur.

Life is best when you build memories.  Some 22 years on, I am still building memories.  I saw Jewel again a few more times but she eventually settled down with a guy who turned out to be a wife beater in the coming years.  Maybe one day I might look her up and see how she is but perhaps it’s best if I leave the memories of her as they were?  I’ll never forget that tall, dark haired girl in The Record Exchange with a cheeky smile and an obsession for Bowie that matched my own.