I was living in the high-plains town of Havre, Montana when I first heard David Bowie. My friend Scott had just purchased Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and with the intense urgency known to teenagers–which we both were–told me, “You’ve got to listen to this.”
Back then, early 1970s, the Sunday New York Times arrived in Havre by train on Tuesday. Distance was a very real thing, and yet somehow, even in small high-plains towns, you found the stuff that you needed. The stuff that would shake up your world and you would share with your most precious friends. Its how friendship was defined. What the art writer Dave Hickey would call the creation of “communities of desire.”
We listened to that record all night, over and over. In that hard-scrabble town of pickup trucks and rifle racks, we could look up into the night sky blazing with northern stars–no light pollution in north-central Montana–and imagine how “he’d like to come and meet us but he thinks he’d blow our minds.”
For those of you who read these posts on Facebook, you’re welcome to share your own first-time-with-Bowie stories.