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The day granny met Bowie

A Peckham shop assistant who sold sequins to David Bowie during his heyday was completely charmed during their brief meeting, her granddaughter told the News this week.

Elsa Gordon was working a routine shift at department store Jones and Higgins, on the corner of Rye Lane and Peckham High Street, sometime during the early-1970s when the late music legend popped in for some costume accessories.

Her granddaughter Carla Fraser, 24, said: “She was a big show-off, and that story would always crop up when someone else had a good story.”

Elsa, who lived in Deptford, passed away aged 90, but always remembered her meeting with the Heroes singer, who passed away after an 18-month battle with cancer on January 10.

Carla and Elsa
Carla and Elsa
The Jones and Higgins store front, which still stands in Peckham
The Jones and Higgins store front, which still stands in Peckham

Actress Carla said: “She was apparently very giggly all evening. She said he was very lovely and charming, I think she might have had a crush on him.

“She did love stardom, and was always into music, listening to Top of the Pops. She was a big fan of David Bowie and my first reaction when I heard he had died was to imagine her ringing me up on the phone saying ‘oh, it’s so sad.’”

Elsa was a well-known character in the Deptford area, and even gained social media fame when she sent an Instagram message to pop star Bruno Mars with a message declaring her affection.

Carla said: “She was 90 years old but she loved Uptown Funk. She just loved showbiz and the costumes and make-up, which is why she liked David Bowie so much.”

Jones and Higgins shut down in 1980 but the building where a young Elsa Gordon was charmed by Ziggy Stardust himself remains.

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