… and raise a glass to David Bowie who lost his battle against cancer this week. He was a musician and artist who was a trailblazer for musical trends and pop fashion, reinventing himself and his music over many decades. He published his latest and last album “Blackstar” on January 8, 2016 – his 69th birthday – 2 days before his passing.
Like many artists, David Bowie was suffering from fear of flying, so the only way to cross the Atlantic for his overseas concerts was by sea.
David Bowie on QE2 – Getty Images, Photo Credit Theo Wargo
The first time Bowie toured the US in 1972, he crossed the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth 2, departing Southampton on September 10, 1972 and arriving in New York on September 17. He returned via sea again on the Royal Hellenic Mail Ship Ellinis on December 10. He later sailed on other famous liners such as the SS Canberra, SS France or SS Oronsay.
On one occasion he turned up for dinner in his colourful Ziggy Stardust costume. It must have been quite a sight for his fellow diners.
David Bowie in Ziggy Stardust costume on QE2 1972, Photo Credit Mick Rock
He travelled with George Underwood and his wife who recalls that Bowie wouldn’t come out of his cabin after that. He said, “They were all looking at me.” I said, “What do you expect?”
In 2002 he opted again for the QE2 for his North America tour. He disembarked at Pier 62 in New York on July 26, 2002.
Getty Images has some great shots of David Bowie on the QE2 which you can view here.
Recognize some familiar faces from the QE2?
David Bowie was one of the prominent GQ Men of the Year. In the inteview originally published in the QG Magazine in 2002 he talks about his QE2 experience.
Quote from QG Magazine 2002 Interview:
What’s the best thing about travelling on the QE2?
Well, right now, at this moment, I’ve got my phobia about flying back again. I’m coping with it to a certain extent. I flew the whole of Europe. We flew. But I just can’t face that transatlantic trip. I don’t want to be on a place going over the Atlantic. I got my phobia before 11 September – it started when my baby was born.
What’s it like being on the ship, though? Is it fun?
Oh, I love it. It’s like this hotel, only at sea. But bigger. I mean, you cannot believe how big the Queen Elizabeth is. It’s bigger than this hotel. It’s got five restaurants, two cinemas, two or three theatres. Gym. Swimming pools. Shopping malls. I mean, it’s just beyond… There’s about 1,800 passengers. But there’s also about 1,800 crew to look after you. I’ve never been on a Caribbean cruise but I get the impression that it’s a bit Club Med and a lot of party nights, and all that stuff. But the QE2 isn’t like that. People who go across the Atlantic go for very different reasons. I think a lot of people bring books with them, and they’re quieter, more academic. I’ve bumped into writers, musicians, painters, politicians and, on the last trip, John Cleese. I wanted to see what it was like to be adrift for seven days. It’s a challenge, because you know you’re not going to stop off at any exotic locations.
And so a normal day for you on the QE2 would consist of what exactly?
I sleep in and try to get up at around seven. Then I order a quick breakfast or muesli or porridge, or whatever. Then I normally go and jog round the desk, which is like a fifth of a mile, and so you do a few rounds of that. Then I do some regular aerobic lifting. And then in the afternoon I’ll just lounge around reading. I usually take an enormous number of book with me. I’m quite happy… I can read all day long and float between two or three books at the same time. And then I go down and choose which restaurant I’m going to have lunch in. I tend to ask for solo sitting, because I can take a book with me for lunch. But then at dinner I usually see who else is around on board, and who’s on my table, and kind of stick with it.
Davie Bowie has left us, and we believe him when he says:
The music world for sure is more boring without him.
R.I.P. Major Tom!