Bowie and Lemmy – Just in case we Forget

It might be a few weeks since the sad deaths of both Bowie and Lemmy but we felt like we couldn’t let them pass unmarked. Now, obviously Bowie had very little to do with East Leeds apart from the people here his music touched.
But Lemmy and Motorhead actually did have some links round here. For a fair few years their fan club was based on South Accommodation Road and in about 1980, the band were actually spotted in the Arndale Centre as it was then known. Nobody knows what they were doing there, possibly a price comparison between TipTop and Chicks, or maybe sampling the delights of the Georgian Cottage or even buying a roasted chicken from Sea Land Foods but they were there and if it had been in this era, it would have gone viral on Facebook, Instagram etc. However we only have the blurry early teen memories of a couple of local paper boys at the gone but not forgotten Post News Shop, formerly known as Fred Gaines.

Former delivery boy Neil Sutcliffe drummer of local covers band ‘SUBSTITUTE’ takes up the story…
“We were sat in the back room of the shop on Austhorpe Road waiting for the papers to come so we could start delivering. One of the other paper boys ran into the room, all excited gushing Motorhead were in the Arndale. I wasn’t a fan but went with the others to see what all the fuss was about. And sure enough, there they were, hovering about near Greenwoods, Lemmy, Philthy Animal and Fast Eddie plus a few ‘rock chicks.’ I clearly remember Phil Taylor had a neck brace on which according to the media at the time was as a result of some bet which he ended up with a broken neck. They didn’t seem too phased at being accosted by half a dozen paper boys and they signed autographs and generally chatted away with those among us who were fans. I’d just started drumming and I knew Philthy Animal was a drummer of some repute, so I asked him what the best kind of drum sticks to use were. He seemed to lean right into me as his eyes met mine and he grunted…The heavier the better! I told my drum teacher the next time I saw him and asked if I should change my drum sticks, his advice was to stick to what I had if you excuse the pun. And almost 40 years later I’m still drumming with band Substitute, I did actually try the heaviest drum sticks one rehearsal and nearly gave myself an injury, so I guess my teacher was right.”

If you’re not a fan, understanding why someone could get upset over the death of a pop star they didn’t actually know is difficult to understand and it’s easy to be dismissive. But, anyone who appreciates music witnessed a golden age between 1967 and 1987, where creativity was pushed to the limits, whether it was by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Kate Bush or many others. But does anyone really compare to the creativity and boundary pushing of David Bowie over nearly a FIFTY year period? In the immediate week after Bowie’s death, his music was wall to wall on the radio and TV and just generally in the background in shops and restaurants which really brought home just how good and influential he was.
Now, you may ask why we are going on about an international mega star who had nothing to do with East Leeds and has already been covered on TV and in the mainstream press.
Well, a few years ago, regular contributor Mick Mc.Cann wrote a book, Coming Out as a Bowie Fan in Leeds Yorkshire England. The book, which heavily features Crossgates and Whitkirk was one of the main stories in our very first issue. So we asked Mick if he wanted to contribute a few words about Bowie but he didn’t want to write anything which could be construed as cashing in on his death and to be honest, after being asked the same questions by a host of media outlets in the last few weeks, he seemed a little brow beaten. So, we thought it quite fitting to just use an article reprinted from our first issue in Autumn 2009 as a suitable tribute to Bowie and the influence he had over one young lad growing up as a Bowie fan in East Leeds, Yorkshire, England.

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