David Bowie RIP

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.

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6 Responses to David Bowie RIP

  1. Bernie says:

    Different strokes…… I grew up in West Belfast as a teenager in the 70s.Bowie and Roxy Music were my musical heroes.LPs werebought from the record shop beside Terry Doran’S shop on the Andersontown road.Oh and I liked Elvis as well….

    • I dont actually remember a record shop beside Dorans Shop. Any new record I bought was generally speaking from Harrisons in Castle Street or McBurneys at Smithfield….and occasionally Smyths at Queens Arcade.
      There was a record shop…briefly on…the Falls Road between Brighton Street and Islandbawn Street.

  2. bangordub says:

    I think the really shocking thing for me this morning when I heard of his death was that I grew up alongside Bowie’s soundtrack and kinda felt that he was ageless. I was surprised that he was 69.
    His last year was spent recording and releasing a new album. Not selling his cancer story to the sordid elements of the press or seeking sympathy.
    That is a measure of the man. RIP

  3. Its a thin line between National Treasure (to be fair he declined a knighthood) and nAtional Disgrace.
    There are aspects of Bowies excesses …not just drugs, fascism and phoney sexuality…that will not be mentioned in any BBC trribute.
    If you get a reputation for getting up early, you can lie in bed all day.

  4. Political Tourist says:

    Thing is if a man walked through the door of a pub in a working class area in 1971 wearing a skin tight yellow jumpsuit wearing make up and had green hair, how long would you have lasted.
    Was it all phoney, sure was but millions bought the records.
    In 1970 my limit was listening to Glenn Miller.
    Somebody else’s younger years spent during WW2.
    Bowie, truthfully i thought the guy was odd.
    I didn’t even think the songs were that great although i can still hear them now in my head.
    Jean Jeanie, Ziggy Stardust…….
    I don’t think i’ve ever bought a record in my life.
    RIP not to Bowie who millions out of something I knew very little but my to younger self.

    • I think thats a good point in respect of the Bowie sexuality. But even that was fabricated. He claimed he was a “closet heterosexual”.
      But I think its fair to say that there was an elite group of pop fans in the 1960s who despised anything that was commercial and embraced “underground” and notably iconic groups like John Mayalls Bluesbreakers.
      It was a sign of sophistication to NOT be a fan of Dave Dee, Dozy Beaky, Mick and Tich.
      I knew people who carried Cream and Jimi Hendrix albums (in those days they were simply LPs) under their arms but sometimes I think it was all for show.
      Bowie dressing up was really just an elite version of Bay City Rollers dressing up.

      But as I made the point to Mr Dub in another comment and this is NOT a reference to David Bowie, who has just died….we are remarkably tolerant of excesses by some “rock” stars of that era and remarkably intolerant of the excesses of some “pop” stars. Of the same era.

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