David Bowie kept an eight-part diary in May and June 2000, ahead of his appearance at that year’s Glastonbury Festival. It was first published in Time Out magazine. Here is the final entry.
Sunday nights in our house have been monopolised for the last few weeks by a riveting TV series called ‘The Corner’. Based on a book by a white former crime-writer, it tells a story of drudgery, devastating social circumstances and the drug hell-life on an inner city block in Baltimore. What surprises me most though is that it portrays, with huge emotional impact, addicts as real human souls, with love and sadness in their lives. Just like real people. If it ever plays on British TV do not miss it.
Black director/actor Charles Dutton was called in to direct. Three weeks before the shoot began he met his crew for the first time. With only a few exceptions they were all white. He remembers thinking: I’m not going into the ghetto for the whole damn summer with an all-white crew. The final compromise had 41 whites to 33 blacks, not a perfect solution for Mr Dutton by any means but one he had to work with. The complexity and highly charged atmosphere of the shoot is captured well in today’s Sunday Times. That’s the morning gone. Wish I did Pimms. Sweltering today. Lemonade’s fine, though. Well, we have a show. Several, actually. The big deal will be deciding which one to do but I guess the Roseland shows will sort that out.
The first and only Glasto that I’ve done before was in 1971. All I can remember is staggering out of the Worthy Farmhouse at some ungodly hour. I had been ensconced in there for some of the night, drinking and smoking and such like with the tremendously talented Terry Reid and Linda Lewis. None of us were in the best of shape. No curfew in those days so I was playing to a mainly sleeping crowd. They awoke benignly enough and gave me much encouragement as I fumbled through about nine songs. I accompanied myself on poorly played guitar and an even worse outing on a Woolworth’s electric organ. A Dutch girl, even more stoned than myself, insisted on jumping onstage to duet with me on the then completely unknown ‘Oh! You Pretty Things’. All in all, a delightfully light and silly couple of days, all Tolkieny and mushrooms and ‘Oranges’.
The whole thing was pretty much pulled together by Jeff Dexter, the only DJ in those days to actually know what music to play for big crowds. He used up his own funds to finance the thing and arranged for most of us performers to appear and got not a word of thanks from the then co-promoters, as far as I know.
Ah! Now I remember why I want to do it again. I left my Bipperty-Bopperty hat there, in the farmhouse. I wonder if it’s still on the chair? With my bottle of cannabis tincture? Also, I can’t resist the idea of encouraging all those slightly dazed and glazed peeps to give their voices full throttle to a chorus or two of a song or three. Just one last time. Oops! I’ll never say ‘never again’, again. Possibly.
Other Glastonbury diary entries:
- Part one – 15 May 2000
- Part two – 19 May 2000
- Part three – 25 May 2000
- Part four – 1 June 2000
- Part five – 6 June 2000
- Part six – 7 June 2000
- Part seven – 9 June 2000
Also on this day...
- 1973: Live: De Montfort Hall, Leicester
- 1969: Live: Midsummer Pop Festival, Cambridge
- 1967: David Bowie moves in with Kenneth Pitt
- 1966: Live: David Bowie and the Buzz, California Ballroom, Dunstable
- 1965: Live: Davie Jones and the Lower Third, Starlight Rooms, Brighton
Want more? Visit the David Bowie history section.