The ZIGGY STARDUST Companion

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Uncut Version
by Stardust Grrl

Part II: The Concert

"HAMMERSMITH ODEON. AT 8 P.M. WE’RE WORKING TOGETHER WITH DAVID BOWIE," the massive sign over the Hammersmith Odeon read.

Small groups of people were already gathering outside the doors of the Hammersmith Odeon music hall. She recognised some of her friends from the fan club as she was driving by. She quickly parked her little blue Volkswagen and ran toward them, waving ecstatically.

Margaret had planned on meeting some select fans from the fan club months before. There was Thomas Bailey, a dark-haired, dark complected 24-year old from Philadelphia who worked at a record store; Kisch—whose last name Margaret could never remember—a 23-year old with long black hair and dark eyes from Russia who worked at an insurance company; and Jacqueline Martin, a 22-year old with brown hair and blue eyes from Canada who worked for the government. Margaret herself was between jobs; she hoped to become an editor of a magazine or newspaper someday. She had sent letters and pictures of herself to her friends, they had sent pictures and letters back; but they had never actually met each other. Margaret was very nervous…she remembered the first time that she had called Canada to speak with Jacqueline. All they had said for ten minutes was "Wow!" "Um…" "So." Margaret knew that after they had got over the initial shock, they would be okay—and they were.

"Your favourite’s Woody Woodmansey, eh? Well, mine’s Mick Ronson," Jacqueline said to Kisch as Margaret came running up to them. They were discussing who their favourite Spider was.

"Oh my God! This is so amazing!" She gave each of them warm hugs. They all had costumes on similar to hers, only they were all one piece, with the exception of Thomas’ Kabuki cape and his separate two-piece costume under it. Jacqueline’s costume resembled Margaret’s closely; the only difference was that it was red and she was wearing a black feather boa. Kisch was wearing a blue and yellow half-leotard with an orange flame design emblazoned on it. She wore with it a yellow cloak attached to the costume. With her long black hair pulled back in a braid and her bangs carefully spiked, she looked like one of David’s own costume designers.

"Wow! Margaret, my dear! You look fabulous!" Thomas studied her costume.

"So do you, Tommy," Margaret beamed, giddy.

"Oh, brother!" Jacqueline laughed, joined by Kisch.

"So, how were your trips?" Margaret asked.

Kisch rolled her eyes. "It was a long one. Russia’s pretty far from here, you know."

"Hey, so is Philadelphia!" Thomas said.

Jacqueline got a little defensive. "What about Canada? It took forever!"

They all looked at Margaret, waiting for her answer. "Not mine. It took me around 30 minutes to get here, but the traffic was terrible. It would’ve taken 15 minutes on a regular day."

"No fair!" Jacqueline said in protest. She loved to joke around with her friends.

They lingered around for a few hours, discussing such things as David’s costumes, his upcoming album, glam rock, and all sorts of other interesting topics they all revelled in.

"So are we all going to your flat after the show, is that how it’s going to work? Oh, and do you live with your parents? I forgot." Kisch was very organised. She liked to know exactly what was going to happen a long time before it actually did.

"Yes, I live with my parents…unfortunately," Margaret laughed. "I think we’ll go there afterwards, though. I didn’t tell mum about it, but I figure I’m old enough to decide for myself." Margaret was 22 years old. With that bit of information, Kisch took Jacqueline’s arm and went over to look at the posters on the outside of the Hammersmith Odeon.

"Yeah, plus we’re going to get there pretty late, right?" Thomas, the party god, asked.

"Mmm hmm," Margaret nodded in consent. "We’re going to a few pubs afterwards. It’s going to be super!" She thought about her little blue Volkswagen and if it could hold four people.

"Yes, I suppose you know the underground night club scene of London by now," Thomas laughed. He looked at the sky. "Margaret, love, it looks like rain." He always cared about other people, especially Margaret.

"Oh, no! I didn’t bring an umbrella!" Margaret’s perfect evening was going to be ruined!

"I didn’t bring one either. Sorry."

"It’s alright, Tommy. The BBC never said anything about foul weather. And maybe it really won’t rain, maybe that’s just the pollution."

Soon after, a loud rumble of thunder followed by a bright bolt of lightning pealed across the sky.

"Damn it! Rain!" Tommy swore, looking at the sky. "Your makeup will run!"

"Well, so will yours! Here, let’s get under the overhang," Margaret suggested.

"We can’t! It’s roped off."

Kisch and Jacqueline ran over to Margaret and Thomas just as the first few raindrops started falling. "We thought we’d leave you two alone for a while and then BOOM! This thunder comes out of nowhere! I can’t believe it," Jacqueline said hurriedly.

"We’re going to be stuck in the rain. Great," Kisch said with exaggerated sarcasm.

"Our makeup’s going to run!" Jacqueline cried.

"I know!" Thomas said. It was quite an irony that Thomas had to worry about makeup running.

Margaret suddenly had an idea. "Wait! Let’s all get in my car!"

They all ran to her Volkswagen as the rain got worse. Margaret was very fortunate to have her own car.

"Hey girl, your keys are in there," Jacqueline observed.

"Really? That’s odd," Margaret felt her hips for pockets. No pockets?! She tried to open the door, but to everyone’s dismay, it was locked.

"Damn!!!" Margaret and the others swore.

"How are we going to get back to the flat?" Kisch asked.

"Please, one thing at a time," Thomas said. "This rain—it took me a long time to put on my makeup and do my hair. I’m sure it took you girls even longer."

"It’s raining in!" Kisch said, pointing to the inside of the car. Sure enough, drops of water were falling into the interior of the car.

"Wait a minute, maybe I can reach the lock on the inside," Margaret said. The window was rolled up more than three-fourths of the way. She reached in, but to no avail. She had locked her keys in the car!

As she pulled her arm out there was a loud ripping sound. "Oh, no," Margaret said when she realised what had happened. The plasticy material had caught on something and it had ripped the seam all the way up to her shoulder.

"No!" Kisch said. By now it was pouring.

Thomas walked over and tore off the material. Now one of Margaret’s arms was fully exposed and one fully covered.

"Hey! What the hell was that for?!" Margaret yelled.

"I call it a look," Thomas said artistically. The others had to agree.

Margaret looked at her reflection in the Volkswagen’s window. "Well, I suppose it does look quite Ziggy-ish." She laughed.

"Let’s get back in line!" Jacqueline shouted and pointed at the accumulating crowd. "It’s around seven!" The motley crew ran back to the line. Everything, especially them, was drenched. It was getting unusually cold for a July.

"We look terrible. Our makeup is all over the place, our hair is matted and wet. We’re quite a sight," Margaret told Thomas when they got back in line.

"Oh, no, Margaret. You look ravishing. A little wet, but still ravishing." Thomas smiled.

"Oh, Tommy, thank you." Thomas was such a nice person.

Margaret was shivering. "My, it’s cold!" Thomas put his cape around her and sang a modified verse of the song "Lady Stardust" softly into her ear:

"People stared at the makeup on her face
Laughed at her long red hair
And animal grace
The girl in the bright blue jeans
Jumped up on the stage
As David Bowie held her and kissed her pretty face"

Which was just what Thomas did after singing the tune. Margaret was somewhat hesitant to this little treat, but she played along.

Jacqueline poked them and said, "I hate to break this up, but it’s almost eight. Can you hear Beethoven’s Ninth playing?"

Thomas, reluctant to turn away from Margaret and lose the magical moment, said, "Please, Jackie! Don’t ever interrupt us like that again! Now, what were you saying?" There was a grateful look in Margaret’s eyes. Thank you Jacqueline! she thought.

Kisch stepped in and said, "Beethoven’s Ninth. Can you hear it?"

"Why, yes! That’s Bowie’s signature tune for the Aladdin Sane tour. It’s going to start soon!" Margaret jumped in the air. She was so exhilarated!

She felt her hips for pockets for her ticket. No pockets?! "Bloody ticket!" She then remembered slipping it inside her zipped up shirt in the bathroom. Recalling this, she reached inside her shirt. It was not there!

She hastily looked everywhere for her invaluable ticket. On the ground? No. In the street? No. On the person in front of her? No! "What the f…"

She looked at Thomas with desperate eyes. He was grinning and holding two tickets in his hand, hers included. "Hey, give me that ticket! How in bleeding hell did you get that?"

Thomas grinned mischievously. His gaze was averted to a blonde woman wearing a red and white striped skin-tight shirt, running through the light rain. "Look! It’s Angie!" He got everyone’s attention, including Angie’s, when he yelled, "ANGIE!"

She came over and gave them all hugs just like an old friend would. She said, "Have a good time tonight!" She flashed them a smile and quickly ran inside the music hall.

Soon after, the line began moving. Everyone cheered. "Can you believe it, Margaret?" Thomas hugged Margaret. "We’re actually going to see David Bowie!"

"It’s amazing! But we look terrible." Kisch sighed.

"So what?" Jacqueline yelled. "We got front row seats!"

It was truly a sight to behold when they got inside the Hammersmith Odeon. A flashing strobe light immediately hypnotised everyone. Margaret, unfortunately, was next to a screaming girl who was utterly crazed, even more so than Margaret herself was. When Mick Ronson struck the first chords of the opening song, "Hang On To Yourself," the girl became even crazier. She thrashed about, tearing at everything, including Margaret’s already torn shirt. Margaret was in plain sight of David now, and she could not afford to look any worse.

She tried to move away from the human vortex but was too slow. The fanatic grabbed Margaret’s top. RIP! Off came Margaret’s shirt she had worked so hard on, patiently labouring over the sewing machine for hours at a time. She looked on the floor. It was in a million pieces.

Margaret panicked and turned to Thomas, who had seen the whole thing. Thomas was bug-eyed. Margaret began to realise what he was looking at. She had not been able to wear anything at all under the costume because it was so tight. Straining her voice to be heard over Mick’s guitar and crossing her arms over her front, she yelled, "Tommy, stop that! What am I going to do?"

He tried to keep his eyes fixed on her face, but…

Thomas suddenly had an idea. He tore off his Kabuki cape and swiftly handed it to Margaret, who quickly put it on. The cape was not meant to cover everything in front, so Margaret had to pull the sides together constantly in order to hide anything that was normally concealed.

Thomas looked at her and said, "I don’t know why I gave you my cape. I think you looked better the other way!" As Margaret glared at him, he said, "Well, sorry! You did!" Margaret laughed.

Margaret looked up at David, now singing ‘Ziggy Stardust.’ He looked at her and winked. Had he seen the escapade with the reckless fan?

The show was an exceptional one. There were numerous costume changes, and even a surprise visit from Jeff Beck (who seemed quite out of place in his blue jeans). The most shocking part of it was at the end before the last song, when David made an announcement.

"Of all the shows on this tour, this one will remain with us for the longest, because…" Deafening screams from the audience burst from the highest balconies down to floor. "Because, not only is this…not only is this the last show of the tour, but it's the last show we’ll ever do. We love you, bye-bye." This announcement then neatly segued into a memorable ‘Rock ‘n Roll Suicide.’

Everyone was completely taken aback. Even the band, The Spiders from Mars, seemed a little shaken. "Did he just say what I think he said?" Margaret asked Thomas, hoping for a negative response.

"I…I…" Thomas looked at Jacqueline and Kisch. They were holding each other, crying. Margaret, seeing the hopelessness in Thomas’ eyes, threw herself onto him for a comforting hug, almost losing the cape.

"It’s okay, love," said Thomas, desperately trying to believe his own words. "He’s just an actor, playing parts. He’s just going to stop being Ziggy for a while. He’ll come back. You’ll see."

"Oh, Tommy! I hope you’re right!" Margaret wailed, still crying, her crystalline tears falling on Thomas’ sequinned costume.

---This page last modified: 29 Jun 2002--

-Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)