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.

Ryko Promo.jpg

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!

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