Ladies and gentlemen, Mr David Bowie

BY THORSTEN KAEDING

On the tenth of November 1983 while dining at a Melbourne restaurant during his Serious Moonlight world tour, David Bowie noticed a television was showing the last ever The Don Lane Show (1975-1983). Having watched and enjoyed the show on previous tours he decided to drop in and give an interview:

‘I was eating around the corner, about three blocks from here, kind of a birthday dinner for somebody, and it turned into your birthday dinner ‘cause the TV was on. We’ve been watching your show the last five years, since we first started coming, and I understood this was the last show you were going to do and I thought “Somebody made a great mistake”.’

Here, in this extract from the NFSA’s television collection, you can watch a stunned Don Lane and studio audience come to terms with his surprise visit: ‘This guy, I have never met him in my whole life, and I had no idea that he was even going to be available. I don’t even know what to say to him when he comes out, but I’m so excited! Ladies and gentlemen, Mr David Bowie!’

According to Bowie this was his first ever talk show appearance. He talks about playing for large crowds (‘like playing for an ocean’) and whether he’s a fan of Frank Sinatra.

About his ‘conservative Bowie’ look (as described by Lane), the musician said: ‘I’ve spent such a long time being characters on stage, and over the last few years I’ve approached touring and making records in different ways. I wanted to see what I was like and what kind of things I wanted to express, rather than the characters I created.’

Excerpt from The Don Lane Show, 10 November 1983.

Courtesy Nine Network. NFSA title: 4975

David Bowie first toured Australia in 1978 and influenced countless Australian musicians and performers. He recorded film clips for the hit singles China Girl and Let’s Dance in New South Wales – the later highlighting Indigenous Australians on a world stage. As part of the band Tin Machine he recorded their second album ‘Tin Machine 11’ in Sydney, where he maintained a residence for much of the 1980s.