Strange day. Woke up to the news that David Bowie has died. Rest in Peace.
But I must be honest …I never liked him or his music.
As I have said before, the soundtrack of my high school years (1963-70) was the Beatles, Beach Boys, Four Seasons, Animals, Hollies, Kinks, Hermans Hermits.
The Summer of Love (1967) somehow by-passed West Belfast….and Glasgow, Middlesbrough, St Helens, Swansea…and I daresay on the other side of the Atlantic, it meant very little in Des Moines, Iowa and Lawrence, Kansas.
We casually talk about Carnaby Street (1965), Haight-Ashbury (1967) and Woodstock (1969) as great watersheds in popular culture. But actually they were not. To embrace cultural change, you need cash in your pocket and all this style attached to Pop requires disposable income.
David Bowie came along in 1969 with a topical #1 “Space Oddity” and frankly most people would have thought that Bowie was a “one hit wonder” …no different from Norman Greenbaum, Napolean XIV and Whistling Jack Smith.
If you are looking up Wikipedia, you are proving my point.
As an avid listener to Radio Luxembourg, Radio Caroline and Radio One, it might seem strange that I did not own a record player until August 1968…a reward for passing my O Levels. And I would like to say that I jumped right into the music of the time. But for several years, I was playing catch up buying 1960s hits in Mrs Moores Second Hand record shop in Smithfield.
At this time “Pop” became “Rock” as the schoolchildren from the 1960s became university students and tried to look more adult with glasses and LPs by Cream and the Moody Blues.
In truth, there was always an element of “style”. The puff pieces in the New Musical Express in the 1960s did not mention drug, groupies and cash bribing DJs to get certain artists on to a playlist.
We were of course…Stupid.
And curiously snobbish. The university students found kindred spirits in certain bands …not the glam rock or later punk scene….but university students can be just as naive as the teeny boppers on the shop or factory floor.
And thats really were David Bowie comes in….the concept album and the front line of seeming cultural change.
The make-up, the clothes….the sexuality and the endorsement of Fascism ….all as phoney as the Man Himself.
So it is curious that so much of the News and Social Media are affected by Bowie’s death.David Cameron, Madonna and Ricky Gervais are all devastated. He has …we are told …influenced them. But is the influence Music, Fashion….or Phoneyness?
As I have said, Bowie was actually a creature of Poshness.
The Political and Journalistic classes….the chattering and twittering classes ….falling over themselves to identify with Bowie is remarkable.
David Bowie RIP.