Live: General Gordon, Gravesend

David Bowie performed twice on 31 October 1969. The first was at the General Gordon pub in Gravesend.

According to local legend, this was not a successful engagement for Bowie, who received abuse from members of the audience.

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. Years later he would say that skinheads had thrown lighted cigarette ends at him, but at the time he seemed satisfied at the way the evening had passed and was glad to have the money.
Kenneth Pitt
The Pitt Report

The General Gordon opened in 1932. In 1976 it was renamed Gay Gordons, but reverted back to its original name in 1983. A fire broke out shortly after its closure in 1992, and the site was later redeveloped for housing.

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

After the show in Gravesend, David and Angie drove to Gillingham where he performed at the Aurora Hotel.

Last updated: 23 March 2023
Interview: Jackie
Live: Aurora Hotel, Gillingham
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