That Time OG and I Ran into David Bowie in Fez

Did I ever tell you about that? Nah, I probably didn’t. So, here goes.

Our adventure starts with OG and me as we meandered through the labyrinthine side streets of Fez, Morocco. We had just arrived in town a few days earlier after we spent a year working at an archeological dig at the Capitoline Temple in Volubilis. Our visas were due to expire.

I wanted to visit the Fez’s famous leather shops, and even though OG doesn’t like leather, she agreed to join me as long as we could do something to overcome the acrid smell of the tanneries. First, we stopped in a spice shop in search of ras el hanout — the exquisite Moroccan mix of salt, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, allspice, black pepper, and ginger. And, I was looking for mint sprigs to hold under our noses for the tannery visit. Alas, that would have to wait.

We heard a massive ruckus. Men screaming and cursing in Arabic and Berber and French. Children crying. And the thumping and crashing of pottery smashing on the ground in the claustrophobia-inducing bazaar. Just then, OG poked her head out of the spice stall we were in and yanked in a tall, thin man with orange hair who just a second before had been scurrying and scampering around the mass of bodies in the street.

The thin man went nearly vertical as OG pulled him into our shop. She directed him to scrunch down and urged me to help stack spice sacks around him. As I added the last burlap bag to obscure him, he looked up. The thin man had one brown eye and one blue eye.

A huge mass of people came dashing past, screaming and shouting. Ziggy. Ziggy. Ziggy. There were hundreds of them pulsing and pushing through the souk. Half a dozen of the crew crashed into the shop we were in.

Ziggy, they yelled, imploring us to tell them if we had seen the man.

Who’s Ziggy, OG asked, first in Arabic, and then in French.

Ziggy. Ziggy. ZIGGY, an unbearded man said, breathing heavily. Ziggy Stardust. ZIGGY.

OG shook her head. No. And she waved the mob off.

After another 15 minutes passed, the medina quieted down. OG bent down to let the thin man out from behind the spice sacks. He got up and brushed cumin from his hair. And dusted cinnamon from his shirt.

And just then, it dawned on me. The eyes. David Bowie looked right at OG admiringly and said this:

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can beat them, just for one day
We can be heroes, just for one day

David Bowie, Heroes

OG was a hero. And for her smart and strong move, we got invited to be on stage at the thin man’s concert in Marrakesh. And Bowie sent OG a poster to commemorate her heroism in saving him from the mob in Fez. Here’s a postcard OG made from that poster to help me recall another Adventure with OG.

10 comments on That Time OG and I Ran into David Bowie in Fez

  1. Teresa Edmunds says:

    Great story! Wonderful adventure. I always imagined that David smelled of cumin and cinnamon. =D

    1. Frank says:

      You know, now that you mention it, those are the perfect scents for David.

  2. Ana says:

    Your stories with OG are the greatest. You have traveled the world and this encounter of the third kind was fabulous.

    1. Frank says:

      I like adventures. And David Bowie.

      1. OG says:

        Adventures with you are the best Frank! I love this story and I wish I was that brave and quick-witted. I realize again how much I miss going to concerts… and especially the thin man’s concerts!

        1. Frank says:

          I like my Adventures with OG, too. You were swift and decisive. And for that, Bowie wrote you a song. I mean, that’s an accomplishment! Also, yes to missing concerts. Basically these past two years are just a blur. That’s why I like the memories of our adventures.

          1. OG says:

            Who can claim that David Bowie wrote a song for you?
            I can, and he even wrote „Heroes“ in Germany, but this is another story!

          2. Frank says:

            You did that heroic act. Quick thinking. And then he went to Germany to write that song about you.

          3. Rich Lilly says:

            I absolutely love hearing about your adventures with OG! And David’s music! My adventures in Morocco were nowhere near as exciting and I wish I had thought to grab some mint before visiting the tanneries. I did bring home some indigo and a blue Bedouin turban cloth though!

          4. Frank says:

            OG always keeps it interesting. And Bowie…I mean, what are the odds?

            Sounds like you had a wonderful journey in Morocco. Those cloths you acquired sound exquisite.

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