Mick Ronson (26th May to 29th April 1993)

 

After a long weekend in Scarborough I drove down to Hull to search for one grave. After an hour’s drive I pulled into the cemetery on a sunny Bank Holiday afternoon. I parked on a path between rows of graves and had a cheese sandwich. I saw a petite oriental-looking girl walking up and down the graves nearby, small bouquet in hand. I didn’t know it then but she was here to locate the same grave.

 

I had a coffee then went to find the gravestone with the help of a grainy photo. After about ten minutes I found it. This was the grave of Mick Ronson a highly talented guitarist and songwriter. He isn’t as famous as Eric Clapton but was David Bowie’s guitarist in the heady “Spiders From Mars” days. You might not know the name but if you see footage of early David Bowie stuff you’ll probably know him.

 

He was born here in Hull and, as a lad, wanted to be a cellist. He heard the music of Duane Eddy and switched to the guitar. He played in some bands and moved to London aged 19, making a living as a mechanic. He was recruited to play in The Hype, David Bowie’s group before they recorded those seminal albums.

 

Over the years he rose to a session guitarist and versatile musician with an edge, working with luminaries as Elton John, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. He released three solo albums and was a respected producer.

 

Though living a full life in London he died of liver cancer at just 46. As a Mormon a service was held in a London chapel but he was buried in Hull where life started. He left behind a wife and three children.

 

I took some photos and was returning to the car when I saw the oriental lady again. She looked to be about 18 years old. I soon found out she was born in Japan, lived in London and was a huge fan of 1970's music. I led her to the grave and we had an animated chat about music and musicians. I could not quite believe it - it was an unexpected pleasure to find someone who would make a special journey to find a specific grave (it’s the kind of thing I would do.) A beautiful smiling face indicated she was about 18 so I thought she was too young to favour 1970s music but he was 33.

 

In bright sunshine I tried to show her my website on her mobile phone. Animated conversation continued as we drove through Hull centre to an art gallery. I drove the wrong way which prolonged conversation. We swapped email addresses and I’m in touch with Mamiko.

 

 

Doing a bit of air guitar…

 

 

Mamiko who had travelled all the way from London to put flowers on the grave…