Gary Flockhart: Waiting for the return of the rock chameleon

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LAST week I was beamed back to 1983. That was the year I got my first exposure to David Bowie after my older sister’s boyfriend gave me a copy of Hunky Dory on cassette tape.

It was the first album I owned and, though I found it a bit creepy at first, I soon had it playing on repeat. I’ve been a huge fan of Bowie ever since.

Flash forward to Friday past, and I’m thinking about all this as I take a look at the David Bowie Is... exhibition that’s currently packing in the crowds at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

I was in the Big Smoke for a wedding and didn’t even know the exhibition was on until I was weaving between pedestrians and pickpockets on Oxford Street and caught sight of the Bowie-themed showcase window at Selfridges that, in collaboration with the V&A, has all manner of Bowie merchandise up for sale.

The museum has been granted unprecedented access to the Bowie archive to curate the first international retrospective of the singer’s extraordinary career, and it features more than 300 exhibits, from handwritten lyrics and original costumes to childhood photos and sketches.

A feast for the eyes and the ears, the vast, career-spanning exhibition is truly awe-inspiring and, like the singer’s recent material, has piqued folks’ interest in all things Bowie.

As luck would have it, it was planned long before anyone had any idea that Bowie was about to release his best new material in yonks – at the age of 66 – and it has become the venue’s fastest-selling event ever.

Despite him being one of my favourites, the gender-bending, trend-setting, rock chameleon is one of only a handful of legends I’m yet to see live.

I was too young to attend his concert at Murrayfield in 1983 and there has been no opportunity to see him in our neck of the woods since.

A 2013 UK tour is a possibility, though, after his wife, Iman, said a few weeks ago that she and his daughter won’t be able to join him on the road this year.

Whether that would mean a long-awaited return to Edinburgh remains to be seen, but if it does happen, I’ll be there in a heartbeat.