Yesterday, I boasted of the ingenuity and bravery of the long-distance David Bowie fan. Getting into the smaller, more convincingly sold-out shows could take a great deal of imaginative effort. So I claimed. But it was all talk, no trousers. I should have offered an example, but I didn't.
It's October 12, 1991. Tin Machine are a week into their tour through the rain and snow of Europe. I'm part of a small travelling army of fans gearing up to enjoy gig #6 in Munich. Except we're running very, very late. A day off in Venice ended with our car being towed while we sight-saw, putting us way behind schedule and a considerable chunk of Lire lighter. By the time me and my two travelling compadres, Ali and Pete, pulled up outside the rotund Circus Krone it was pretty much curtain-up time.
We had no advance tickets. A glance up and down the strasse confirmed our fears: there were no touts. A hand-drawn sign on the door screamed that the show was "SOLD OUT. GUESTLIST ONLY".
We were in trouble. We stared at the sign. GUESTLIST ONLY. Hmm. GUESTLIST ONLY...Hmm...
"Hi, I'm on David's guestlist!" I heard myself blurting out to the man on the door, my English accent more pronounced than it had ever been. I was hoping for a little extra British-flavoured gravitas.
"Yes, it's Andy, er Alan, um Thomas, I mean Hughes..."
Teutonic head tilted, eyed the list, then me. Then shook. Nope.
Pete took over: "We're probably under a different name, can I see the list?"
"OK, he might know me as Richard. William, Willie, Bill..." oh God.
By this time, Pete had curled around my side to flank the bouncer. I could see his furtive eyes darting surreptitiously down the list, much of which had already been struck through.
"I think he said he'd leave it in the name Pop Rocky," said Pete.
"Oh yes, Pop Rocky. I'm Pop Rocky. And so are they." I nodded at Ali and Pete. This could get serious. We'd surely been caught out. This was ridiculous. We'd pushed this envelope a little too far.
The bouncer's steely gaze fixed mine, a little angrily. Then shifted to his clipboard, where fingers were detaching an envelope and pushing it into my quivering hand. The words 'Pop Rocky' were handwritten on the front.
"Enjoy the show," he said. We rushed forward to the ticket booth, tore the envelope open and - bless my fuckin' stars - THREE tickets. AND an all-areas photo pass. Which meant, ladies and gentlemen, that we all got in for free, and Pete was able to take his video camera with him. He got a good film out of it. I'll put a clip on Facebook.
Just don't tell Pop Rocky about this. Right?
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