Stardust

HILTON’S Patricia Flannery is a lifelong David Bowie fan who saw the artist perform umpteen times around the world.

She was crestfallen on hearing of his death and lit a candle beside a photo of The Thin White Duke in her lounge.

Flannery had grown up in Glasgow in the 1960s and became hooked after hearing Space Oddity.

“There was a shop in Govan Cross that used to make those huge platform boots that Bowie wore and I remember my brother James bought a pair and I was dead jealous,” she laughs.

“You can imagine the looks my brother got wearing those boots in Govan.

“When Bowie played the Apollo in Glasgow I was 16 and snuck into the Albany Hotel to meet him, but we were rumbled by staff and got thrown out just before he arrived.

“I moved to London in the ‘70s and saw him loads of times there and then emigrated to Fremantle in 1978 and saw him on the Let’s Dance Tour.

“The video for Let’s Dance was shot in a bar in Australia and every time it came on people back home were looking for me in the background—I had to remind them that Australia was a big place.”

• Patricia Flannery with her “Star Man” David Bowie. Photo by Stephen Pollock

• Patricia Flannery with her “Star Man” David Bowie. Photo by Stephen Pollock

Bowie’s last gig in WA was in 2003, when he played the Supreme Court Gardens on his Reality tour.

It was the first time the singer had toured Australia and New Zealand since 1987’s Glass Spider tour.

He’d previously played three nights at the Perth Entertainment Centre in 1983, promoting Let’s Dance, and performed two dates at the same venue in 1978 during the The Low/Heroes world tour.

This week, Fremantle record stores have predictably seen an upturn in Bowie sales.

“There isn’t one day when someone doesn’t enquire about a Bowie record, but since he passed away demand has gone through the roof,” says Record Finder owner Mark LaHogue.

The significance of Bowie’s death seemed to go over the heads of younger members of the Herald office, but among the over-40s there was a collective sigh and shaking of heads, as we tried to process the news that a big chunk of our youth had just slipped into the ether.

Flannery says she frantically phoned her brother eight times, before 7am in the UK, to tell him Bowie was dead.

“When he came on Top of the Pops my father used to say ‘There’s the main man’,” she laughs.

“He appealed to all generations—it’s really sad he’s gone.”

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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