Live: Aurora Hotel, Gillingham

David Bowie performed twice on 31 October 1969. Following an eventful show in Gravesend, he performed at the Aurora Hotel in Gillingham.

A friend of David’s, known as Flag, who worked at London City Agency, offered him a ‘double’ gig which he thought would help David financially. The two jobs were at the General Gordon, Gravesend and the Aurora Hotel, Gillingham, towns within easy reach of Beckenham, and where he would be required to perform for only twenty minutes at each. These venues probably were not ideal, but David was attracted to them by the money, which was one-hundred-and-twenty pounds in cash.
Kenneth Pitt
The Pitt Report

The venue was originally a Naval, Army and Air Force Institute Club (NAAFI) until 1962. It then reopened as the Aurora Hotel but was renamed the King Charles Hotel in 1980. The club, which occasionally hosted live music, closed in 1988.

I remember one night when we were doing a double-header down south in outer London rather than the usual two hundred or more miles away up north. I was having a hard time that night. I’d been hauled off by the cops for trying to throttle some yobbo who’d been flipping lit cigarettes at David’s face while he was singing for his supper, and I’d slipped out of that mess only to find myself shivering and shaking in the rain and the dark, trying to load that bloody PA onto that ludicrous little car so we could go get our fair share of abuse from the next crowd of yelling, puking, beer-sodden idiots, and it hit me: I’d had enough.

‘David?’ I said. ‘I’m over this, man. This has got to stop.’

‘I know what you mean.’ He sighed, and the angry-dog look in his eyes told me he was speaking real truth. ‘I’ve been over it for two bloody years.’

Angela Bowie
Backstage Passes
Last updated: 23 March 2023
Live: General Gordon, Gravesend
Travel: London to Zürich
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