The thing I like best about having a blog is the power. I mean, in every other area of life and work, there's certain rules to be obeyed or considered. Not with a blog. It's mine, all mine I tell you (cue deranged manic laughter) so I can do what I like with it. So, if you’re here for the cake, there is shed all today.
I may have hinted in the past to my deep devotion to David Bowie specifically the one(s) in the seventies. Let's face it, this blog all but wears a tank top and brandishes its clackers at all who come near. But yesterday, I went to the Bowie exhibition at the V & A and I loved it (predictably) so much I felt compelled to scribble about it.
It may be of interest to those who already share my love and to those who don't, well to quote himself, I'm going to take a foxy kind of stand and witter on regardless.
Apparently, the exhibition takes about an hour to 'do'. It took me double that, perhaps a bit longer. I went round 3 times. Rather than go into the bewildering talent and imagination of Bowie, which everyone knows about, I thought I'd bullet point my thoughts as I circuited round and round, in no particular order:
- I had forgotten how fit he looks in Boys Keep Swinging.
- I still like him better before he had his teeth done.
- The clips of him and Mick Ronson swaggering to Starman on Top of the Pops are totally exhilarating to watch. He knows it, Mick knows it and when you watch it, specially on the big screen, you know it. It's just so good. Even now, he looks other-worldly and cocky with it, and rightly so. When you put it into the context of the dark old days of Britain in 1972, my god, it's no surprise he galvanised and inspired a generation, and not only would-be rock stars. And in the context of the early pics of him looking variously like a mix of Tommy Steele and his 1983 "Lets Dance" incarnation (a well coiffured blond goat), the mime artist with Lillian Gish lips and frankly disturbing tights, to his Man Who Sold the World curved ball - the girly hair and man dress on the cover of an album which belies the Led Zep-ish darkness within- then you see how magically the stars aligned, it all slotted into place and Ziggy landed.
- I have always wondered what he saw in, and why he married Angie, a woman with all the charm and allure of Kendo Nagasaki. There was a picture of Lindsay Kemp, the guy who taught Bowie his mime moves and had a major (Tom) influence on him. This picture showed Lindsay (not a looker) all dragged up. The spit of old Ange. Puzzle solved.
- He's a tiny man. No, really tiny. The number of original stage costumes they have on show is incredible. But he is not tall and so slight, it's amazing, specially as I've seen him live a few times and it never dawned on me before he was anything but a 6 foot strapper.
- The tailoring of the seventies really does look better on film. For instance, the suit he wore for the Life on Mars promo film (no vids way back then) looks like a vision in crimpolene. Perhaps it's just him and he could make anything look cool. Mind you, I do have a theory here. Properly cool people transcend their decade and the fashions it inflicts. For instance, George Best in full tie-dye t shirt and loons doing his lounge lizard thing in the Twisted Wheel doesn't look daft even now. Bryan Ferry with full on slap in the Eno-phase of Roxy still looks cool. Bowie just didn't put a tiny platformed foot wrong in the seventies. It takes a very special man to rock a leotard.
- I always loved his Berlin albums and they took on a new slant with the moody films on screen and the paintings he did at that time on display. And you have to love him. He's off his thin white face on coke and decides to get himself clean around 1976. So what to do? Go and live in Berlin, the heroin capital of the world, with drug enthusiast Iggy Pop. Genius!
- Duffy and Mick Rock… rock.
- Apart from his peroxide goat phase in the eighties, David Bowie has always had great hair.
- I hated it at the time, but the Tin Machine stuff I heard yesterday, I sort of liked. But this was half way round so perhaps the crush had returned with a vengeance.
- I still can't believe I paid good money to see him on the Glass Spider tour. They played clips of it and it was as bad as I remembered - overblown eighties nonsense. Strangely, still good hair though.
And if you don't like David Bowie or aren't sure who he is, get his albums and try them on for size. I am totally biased but I'd say stick with seventies Bowie. It was then that he ignored all the rules and when he shone brightest.