Twenty Three

Today, Friday 15th January 2016, is The Forum’s 23rd Birthday. Coming just four days after the sudden, to the world, death of David Bowie, it’s been a bit of a week for reflection.

There are some people who can’t understand the outpouring of grief over Bowie. However, I was standing in the kitchen on Monday morning, checking my phone while the kettle boiled, and couldn’t believe the first wave of tweets #RIPBowie – but the news was confirmed by a newspaper source, and the feeling of this not being a hoax set in.

I stood there and burst into tears.

Now, I won’t claim to be the biggest Bowie fan. I’ve never seen him live. I don’t even own many records. But from ‘The Laughing Gnome’ on the radio, to a cassette a school friend gave me when we were fourteen, to the ‘Ashes to Ashes’ video, to ‘Let’s Dance’ during the first years of art college, the songs formed a background to my younger years. With his new album released last Friday, suddenly the idea that ‘that’s it’ cut quite deep. I had to turn the radio off as I couldn’t bear to hear anymore songs about the Starman or Heroes…

So – The Forum turning 23? In 1993 I had just moved to Tonbridge from Canterbury, and it was May before moving to Tunbridge Wells. I have looked back in diaries (you know – those things people had before blogs?) and generally we didn’t seem to have much money, and generally went to parties at people’s houses, before having children – and then NEVER going out (much!). So it was Unfest 2011 before The Forum had any real part in our lives. Running their twitter account for the past 15 months has been a great insight into the goings on at a live music venue. The twitter feedback today on birthday wishes has been incredible – because for many The Forum was the background to their younger years.

It’s still there for the next generation. It’s still there for others of us to enjoy The Blockheads and China Crisis. Sometimes the next generation may be inspired by the past. Let’s hope there are some who have the creativity of Bowie and The Forum owners to take music onwards into the future.

Now, put on your red shoes, and dance the blues….




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