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‘Came on so loaded man, well hung and snow white tan’

Remember these lines?

Ziggy Stardust. If you are having trouble. I have an image in my head circa 1971-2 of myself  listening to the album. Everyone else had gone to bed. Except my dad.

‘Do you understand the words he  asked? ‘Of course I do said’, mildly affronted that my relationship with Bowie’s music and lyrics be called into question.

OK I lied.

But I made damned sure I found out pretty quickly

So ‘Well hung‘, slang for a gentleman of generous proportions in the trouser department, while ‘came on (stage) so loaded ( under the influence of drugs or alcohol) Snow white tan, a reference to Iggy Pop, a performer not averse to bringing his ‘Ol Feller’ out on occasion. And it’s quite  a slonker too – I’ ve seen it, along with half the known universe.

Now, I curated an exhibition recently at a nearby gallery. Well, I say ‘curated’ I just arranged some pictures and hung them up on the walls. Thankfully we had all the gear necessary to complete the task. Which makes a change. Step ladder, Staple gun, Staple remover, Frame hanging wire.. and my trusty metre stick and spirit level.

During her speech of welcome,The director of the gallery, as well as telling the audience something about the fascinating history of the venue, also  happened to point out to the assembled that yours truly was responsible for the layout. Of which I was quite proud, I have to say.

Bottles of wine were duly opened and everyone began to circulate, as they do; when  I was accosted (very gently ) but accosted nevertheless by a woman I guess in her late 60s, about five foot tall, dressed in dark trousers and a grey sweater. she looked me square in the face and said

‘Well Hung’

Now, I must admit she took me by surprise somewhat, she hovered a little longer as I wrestled with the problem: question or statement of fact?

I smiled inanely but by the time I had thought of a witty repost, she was long gone into the crowd.

My witty repost? The best I could do under the circumstances

‘It’s not a lot but it will fill a pram’

donk

The Teenage Brain

Now then,

if I seem to be sitting a bit gingerly, it is because I am ‘recovering’ from my bowel screening procedure. This is where they stick a camera up where the sun doesn’t shine (and I’m not talking about Greenland in the winter here) and look around for any pre- cancerous polyps. It feels like they forgot to take it off its tripod.

And then, when it’s over, like the log flume at Chessington World of Adventures, they give you a photograph! What are you supposed to do with it? Frame it, as ‘My Rectum’ and put it on the mantelpiece?

Anyway, I’m getting distracted. On to the Teenage Brain.

Not a very inspiring topic to write about I can hear you say, as there doesn’t seem to be much going on in many of them.

But you would be wrong. The Teenage Brain is an awesome piece of electro-chemical engineering. Specifically that period between

a) language aquisiton, the development of the skills to decode and navigate complex social and environmental situations. And

b) the discovery of alchohol.

I’ll explain what I mean.

Back in 1974 long before Lady Ga Ga was invented and I was fourteen, I borrowed the David Bowie album ‘Diamond Dogs’ from a friend for a week or so. We did that back then. I, like a lot of people was a big Bowie fan. I had ‘Space Oddity’ ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ ‘ Ziggy Stardust’ and ‘Pin Ups’ and found I loved ‘Diamond Dogs.’ Bowie’s vision of a dystopian post-apocalyptic world inspired in part by Orwell’s 1984. It was duly returned. I didn’t record it, because I didn’t have a cassette recorder and I didn’t buy the album either because I was too skint. Anyway the point is that during the week I immersed myself in the record but apart from the single ‘Rebel Rebel’ I haven’t listened to any of the songs from, or owned a copy of the album since.

Fast Forward forty two years (forty two!) to January 2016 and the news of Bowie’s death. I found myself looking on You Tube for something appropriate to mark the great man’s passing and came across the full album version of ‘Diamond Dogs’ and put it on. From the moment it started playing I began to sing along, and was astonished to find that I was able to recall the song lyrics word for word without even thinking about them. They had imprinted themselves on my still-developing brain back in 1974.

Who says there’s nothing worthwhile going on inside TheTeenage Brain?

Intereresting factlets: my sources (Wikepedia) tell me that ‘Diamond Dogs’ was originally conceived as a stage verion of ‘1984’, but the Orwell family would not release the rights. The sessions were held over the tail end of 1973 and early ’84 and mark Bowie’s last collaboration with Mick Ronson, although Ronson didn’t play on the album. In fact, apart from ‘When You Rock and Roll With me’ (Earl Slick) and ‘1984’ and ‘Rebel Rebel’ (session man Alan Parker uncredited for the latter) Bowie, as well as all the keyboards plays all the guitar parts. which makes for a kind of amateur-ish, garage band feel about the LP.

This ain’t Rock and Roll. This is genocide!

So now you know.

Andy Daly

2016

The Man Who Fell To Earth

bowie3

I felt I couldn’t let the passing of David Bowie go unremarked.

I am of an age now where my cultural and sporting heroes are all seemingly queueing up to shuffle off this mortal coil.

I remember buying ‘Space Oddity’ from Bradley’s Records Rochdale and in so doing started a relationship with his music which lasted throughout the 1970s and early 80’s. I just loved the story telling in his songs. And so did most of my mates. Everyone was into Bowie.

But it never occurred to me that David Bowie would ever die. On reflection, of course he isn’t dead at all, he still stands before us, a creative colossus whose status as cultural icon is unassailable and whose music touched so many people and influenced a generation of musicians and artists.

© Andy Daly 2016