Northern Ireland

Remembering David Bowie: 'A generous spirit'

David Bowie
Image caption David Bowie presenting a BBC Radio 1 special in 1979

One of the screenwriters behind the 2013 film Good Vibrations has revealed an act of generosity by the late artist David Bowie.

The film told the story of Teri Hooley, who founded the Good Vibrations record label in Belfast.

Based on a true story, the movie follows Londonderry band The Undertones, and their path to fame during the height of the Troubles.

Belfast writer Glenn Patterson said that Bowie provided the track, Star, from the album Ziggy Stardust, for a significantly smaller sum for the production.

"It was an act of generosity and was the perfect track for the end of the film," Mr Patterson said.

He was speaking as people across the world expressed shock at the news that singer David Bowie has died at the age of 69 from cancer.

Image copyright Gerry Leonard
Image caption Dubliner Gerry Leonard (right) performing on stage with David Bowie (left)

Dublin guitarist Gerry Leonard performed and worked alongside Bowie for his later albums, Heathen (2002), Reality (2003) and The Next Day (2013).

Mr Leonard had just finished performing at the Dublin Bowie Festival on Sunday when he heard the news of the artist's death.

"It's devastating," he said. "At first I thought it was a hoax. It's unbelievable".

Mr Leonard moved to New York in 1994 where a mutual friend introduced him to Bowie.

The introduction was unconventional.

Image copyright Gerry Leonard
Image caption Gerry Leonard (right) on stage with David Bowie

Bowie, looking for a guitarist, heckled him during a small gig with his solo project Spooky Ghost.

"My friend called me and said, 'Look I'm bringing David down,'" Mr Leonard said.

"We always had a little bit of banter in between songs and I knew that David loves comedy and he shares the sense of the surreal.

"He just joined in on the banter and heckled me during the show but it was all in good fun."

Image copyright AP
Image caption During his Ziggy Stardust phase in 1973
Image copyright PA
Image caption David Bowie performing as the headline act at Glastonbury in 2000

Mr Leonard said it was "an amazing experience" to work with the late artist.

"Bowie was an obvious master of his craft," he said.

Image caption Being interviewed at the Nationwide Rock and Pop Awards in 1981, where he picked up the award for best male singer

"He's been really part of the fabric of people's lives," Mr Leonard said.

"He's saved people in the way that music does. He consoled people and exhilarated people."

John Bereton, organiser of the Dublin Bowie Festival, said that the singer gave fans permission to be "different".

"He was an icon," Mr Bereton said. "He made you feel like you weren't alone. People across the world felt that they could be themselves."

Image caption David Bowie performing in 2002

"I'll miss hearing his voice on the phone," Mr Leonard said.

"I'll miss his laugh and I'll miss playing music with him.

"It's been an unforgettable experience and there's nothing that can replace that."

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