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Updated: Jan 24, 2022

24th March - 14th April 2018

I was fortunate enough to be invited to a Private View of this exhibition at the Francesca Maffeo Gallery in Leigh on Sea, Essex.

The Gallery is dedicated to providing a welcoming space to experience, acquire and collect photography.

The exhibition presents ‘David Bowie, The Geoff MacCormack Collection’ by writer, producer and photographer Geoff MacCormack.

In addition to the photographs, the gallery is pleased to present ‘The Long Way Home’ a cine film shot by Bowie documenting the progress of their trip from the docks in Japan through Siberia/Russia on ‘The Tran Siberian Express’ to Moscow for the ‘May Day Parade’.

Five of the images in the film are in ‘The Geoff MacCormack Collection’, the gallery is honoured to be able to offer all photographs from the collection for sale through Francesca Maffeo Gallery, this includes two unique editions signed by David Bowie.

“Just suppose your Brilliant Pal said: “Will you join my band [The Spiders from Mars] and come on a tour? And would you mind awfully if we travelled [first class] by sea to New York, and then sailed from Los Angeles to San Francisco, Canada, Hawaii and on to Japan? And then, from Japan to Siberia, through Russia [Trans-Siberian Express] to Moscow [for May Day Parade], Poland, East and West Germany, just in time for tea at the George V Hotel in Paris? Followed by a relaxing holiday in Rome, just to chill out?

And then, just suppose, when you thought all the fun had finished, your Brilliant Pal said: “Would you mind being a dog [Diamond], coming back to New York on an even better ship, eating caviar every day and joining another band, then another band, helping out on a few albums [six], and generally hanging out and having the time of your life for a couple more years? Supposing all that happened...Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have kept a photo or two?”


It all resembles the plot of a yet-to-be-written musical. Avid mod and aspiring

singer Geoff MacCormack - who moved in the same circles as modernist ‘faces’

like Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn - was selling advertising space for a London

construction newspaper when an old school pal ‘phoned him and urged him to

work with him. The date was January 1973, the caller was David Bowie, and the job entailed joining his band, as singer, percussionist and dancer. He said “yes”.

Within weeks, MacCormack was sailing to New York with the flight-phobic Bowie.

He remembered to pack his camera, so “the party that lasted for three years” was

recorded in endearingly intimate “holiday snaps”. While always one to adopt a

pose, the feeling here is of an unguarded Bowie - almost as though these are shots

from a family photo album. The sense of two mates - one of whom just happened

to have become a rock star - having riotous good times is palpable. So much so,

that a seasoned music journalist became tearful on seeing these photos.

Fortunately, MacCormack knows a Decisive Moment when he clocks one, and has

a natural eye for composition; that’s why these images withstand repeated viewing.

(Written by David Gavan)

My verdict: A rare opportunity to to see a unique collection of images of a defining period of pop culture history recorded by Geoff Maccormack who was not only there but took part.

Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, a unique town known for its extensive art scene, and is just a 45-minute train journey from London.

+44 (0)1702 474 300 m – 07970 846 497

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To request further information and images please contact:

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