Friday, 29 October 2010

Gerry Gill and David Bowie in Cornwall

David Bowie performed in Cornwall on two snowy nights during Christmas 1968. At the time he was still under the influence of 'Lindsay Kemp', with whom he had performed in the earlier part of the year, and he had also met Hermione Farthingale and was performing with her as a trio called 'Feathers'. In Falmouth his performance was a mime to music that was played by his DJ friend Gerry Gill, devised as a response to the invasion of Tibet by China. He'd done something similar with Marc Bolan and TRex at the Royal Festival Hall earlier in the year.

And this ad is the proof. Jill Johnsons group played as part of the same 3 night event, though apparently not on a night that Bowie was performing.

I will get a better copy of this ad - but thanks to Richard from kernowbeat I was able to speak to Gerry Gill this evening who was active as a DJ in Cornwall between about 1968 and 1972. During this time he saw Smile perform a few times and compered at concerts that Queen played in Cornwall too.

Interestingly it was Roger Brokenshire (who sang with Roger Taylors band in Cornwall) who organised for Gerry to move down to Cornwall from London, where previously he had known Bowie quite well. Whilst he played at Falmouth Bowie stayed with Gerry in his flat on Illogan Highway for a few days over Xmas before going back to London on the train. Interesting stuff! Thanks Gerry.


  1. Great blog, thanks

  2. Whilst an art student at Redruth School of Art, Clinton Road, Redruth Gerry Gill was a truly exemplary participant in the music scene as a very talented DJ using lightshows and as pretty much the only person I'd ever come across with so many unheard, rare and extraordinary records. Gerry was also a very approachable and kind person, how he remained so affable in the face of our niƩve meanderings I can only guess. Redruth became a ghost town at weekends for me as I was one of the few students who boarded all week because my home was in the Isles of Scilly and even with grant aided funding I couldn't afford to fly home every weekend, Gerry's flat in Illogan became an infrequent haunt, a place that was reassuring to know existed and he often hung out at the Quasar Cafe in Redruth where a strangely shaped cylindrical mug of coffee would last for an eternity, just another haunt in those cash strapped formative times, offering a safe harbour from an otherwise harsh and critical world. Bowies performance at Falmouth is now legendary and every so often I hear another perspective. I'm interested in this blog as the participants in that moment have either dwindled or are just staying incognito. I'm really happy to see Gerry Gills name here and I wish him the very best