David Bowie exhibition to reclaim Ziggy Stardust for Freedom Festival in Hull

By Ben Miller | 02 September 2013

Exhibition preview: ZIGGY, The Museum of Club Culture, Hull, September 6 – October 24 2013

A black and white photo of a male musician singing into a microphone and pointing
© Peter Hardy
Named after the Ziggy Stardust album and tour they provided the backing beats, bass and strings for, few support acts can claim the reverence of The Spiders from Mars, the three-piece accompanying David Bowie on his descent from outer space during the early 1970s.

In 1973, on the last gig of their schedule at Hammersmith Odeon, Bowie declared the group would never play again, killing off Ziggy Stardust in brutal fashion, if not that particular chapter of the careers of guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansey, who went on to perform with his incarnation as Aladdin Sane.

Now Peter Hardy, a late photographer from Hull who captured much of the preceding tour and that climatic conceptual finale, is about to have his photos showcased in an exhibition which, when it was offered to the Museum of Club Culture by his sister, Lorraine, you imagine must have taken little pondering for the venue.

“Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust era was - and still is - the ultimate icon, so it’s a real coup for us,” says Mark Wigan, an artist from the Humberside city, reflecting on the “stunning” photos.

Together with Kerry Baldry, who he co-curates the museum with, Wigan was given the option of displaying the silvery shots alongside Lorraine’s press cuttings and scrapbooks from 40 years ago. They will be a star draw at this weekend’s sixth Freedom Festival of pop, soul, spoken word, comedy and general creative joyfulness.

“But the real story for Hull and the people who will visit Freedom Festival over the weekend is Mick Ronson and Trevor Bolder,” he argues.

“As The Spiders From Mars, they were the most important, influential band to have ever come from our city.”

A street and stage are named after Ronson, who died 20 years ago. Ronson’s death earlier this year, meanwhile, prompted Bowie to mourn the loss of a “great man”, called him a “major inspiration” and “foremostly a tremendous guy”, a view echoed by Woodmansey (“I’ll miss ya mate!”), who has reminisced over his touring adventures during a year when Bowie has been culturally omnipotent.

“They had such a massive influence on rock music and punk and completely shaped the musical landscape as it is today,” adds Wigan.

“They left an enormous legacy. This is our tribute to them.”

  • Open 11am-5pm Saturday and Sunday (by appointment during week, 6pm-late September 6, 11am-late September 7, 11am-6pm September 8). Admission free. Follow the museum blog and on Twitter @museumofclubs.

More pictures:

A black and white photo of a male musician on stage singing into a microphone
© Peter Hardy
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