Live: Three Tuns, Beckenham

David Bowie performed at Beckenham’s Three Tuns pub on 18 January 1970.

This was his 31st appearance at the venue. It was for Growth – the Beckenham Arts Lab, which he had co-founded the year before.

Bowie often appeared at the Arts Lab events, which were mostly on Sunday nights at the pub. But towards the end of 1969 his interest had started to wane as his career began to take off, and by this time his appearances were becoming less frequent.

Also present at this event was Bowie’s manager Kenneth Pitt.

I went to Bromley on the 18th to see David’s mother. She was about to have an important meeting with her solicitor in regard to Mr Jones’s affairs and she had asked for my help in the matter. I arrived early in order to have tea with her and a few hours of discussion and then at eight o’clock David came to pick me up and take me to Haddon Hall and to the Arts Lab. When we walked through the door of the Three Tuns we were greeted by Angela, who had gone ahead to give some assistance, and David said to her ‘I should take Ken through to the bar. Nothing much is happening here.’ I got the impression that David was beginning to tire of the Arts Lab venture, for too much reliance was being put on him and too few people were coming forward to do their own thing. He told [Jeremy magazine’s] Tim Hughes:

‘I have this Arts Lab in Beckenham where there’s a lot going on. But I exercise tight control over it. I have to. Free expression often means chaos, and in any case they need a leader. I don’t want to be a leader – after all, who wants to be a cause?’

Kenneth Pitt
The Pitt Report

David Bowie plaque outside the former Three Tuns pub

Last updated: 28 March 2023
Recording: The Prettiest Star, London Bye Ta-Ta
Live: Three Tuns, Beckenham
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