It was the beginnings of a long, hot and life-changing summer of 1972 when I got the news.
I had just graduated from high school the previous fall, and as a graduating present my parents and my cousins parents agreed to send my cousin Cree and me to France and England to see a bit of the world and then escort Cree's sister Barbara home from her studies at the university of Lyon in France.
Cree and I first traveled to Lyon, where we met up with Barb and were introduced to Barb's boyfriend, Brian, who was a nice chap who grew up in Leeds and had got to know Barb at university. The only thing I remember about our short stay in Lyon was that the slightly rundown hotel that we stayed at was kind enough to put us in a suite of rooms that were haunted!
Erie shadows that crept across the room, waves of invisible cold air and pictures that seemed to vibrate on the walls, where the kinds of things that didn't make for a good night’s rest. This was my first experience with other-worldly visions, but not my last. Later that year I had the pleasure of "meeting" myself in my parents basement, but that's another story for another day.
After escaping the room demons in Lyon, we flew to Leeds to meet Brian's parents, have our first taste of fish and chips and explore the nightlife of this rough ’n roll English city. In fact, one night after leaving a pub at closing time, we met a little character outside (who's face looked like a fleshy ashtray) who proudly introduced himself as "George Alexander Dick." Cree and I tried to understand his thick and drunken accent while trying to catch the meaning of his slurred humor. He seemed to laugh and enjoy us American blokes for awhile, but then he suddenly stopped mid sentence (I think?) and stared deeply into my cousin’s eyes and said in a now clear and deliberate tone, "eh, I don't like you." Stunned, we didn't stick around to discover the reason for his abrupt change of heart, but, he certainly did live up to his last name.
Our final stop before heading home was London. Waiting there was my fierce dream of visiting Apple Records on 3 Savile row and meeting the Beatles!
Walking up to the Beatles' offices in London's classy business district, I felt myself slipping into a somnambulistic dream of feeling as though i had done this before. I walked through the large front door with the handle in the middle, and found myself in a small all white room with no furniture and a granny smith green bumper sticker on the wall that said "a is for apple."
There was also a white staircase off to one side of the room that went from floor to ceiling and nowhere else. I heard laughter and the sounds of a busy office as I dreamwalked toward the next room. The room had a small collection of people working at desks spread across the space with an aisle down the middle. I started to think that I was just going to walk through the room and find myself face to face with one or more of the Beatles. Then from across the room, I saw a man that I later realized was the Beatles’ press officer, Derek Taylor. Our eyes met and he got up from his large tall backed wicker chair, and approached me with the question, "Can I help you?"
My mind went blank and I had no answer. "Well, you can't go through, you know!" he said to me knowing that I shouldn't be there. The only thing that I could think of saying was a weak, "thank you" and then I turned on my heels and left my dream and 3 Savile Row. The Beatles didn't want to hold my hand.
On the evening of July 6, 1972, Cree and I and sister Barbara were sitting in a hotel room in London watching the telly and waiting for the music program, "Top Of The Pops" to come on. David Bowie (aka Ziggy Stardust) was on the show that evening. When David and his band, "The Spiders From Mars" hit the TV screen, the three of us sat in stunned silence as we watched these colorful space invaders play a song called "Starman."
I felt as though a door had been opened in my mind and I became an instant fan for life. Never before did I imagine that something so foreign to me would become a template for my dual creative worlds as actor and musician.
I never had the chance to meet David, but I did get to know the Spiders’ guitarist Mick Ronson in the late 1980s.
God bless David Bowie and the wonderful artistic creativity and awareness he brought to our world. The Starman has left the building.
Victor DeLorenzo has been performing for audiences around the world for the last 40 years, give or take a few hours here or there. Victor is proud to have worked as an actor, writer, speaker, producer of sound and image, director and musician.