I had certainly never seen anything like that in my little, sheltered, suburban life. (Had you??) I still remember vividly the exact first time I saw this creature…and it changed me forever.
OK look: People don’t think of me as a rocker. They never did, it always took them a bit by surprise. To be fair, I have never looked the part, I’m pretty white-bread all-american non-threatening rule-following type of girl. On the surface. But that’s okay, nothing wrong with flying under the radar a little bit. Let people think what they think.
A rocker underneath, and those who know that side, well, they KNOW. And you know who you are.
Herewith is the story of how I got in touch with my INNER ROCKER and broke through the, like, dull, unenlightened, like, totally mid-western haze into GLAM ROCK:
I was at home in suburban Chicago, babysitting for my little brother. I was 13 years old I think. So, 1973. Nothing had happened to me yet. And nothing was going on. Nothing. Like, bummer.
Anyway, there I am watching TV. It’s late. I’m feeling bored, clicking through the channels, looking for something… not sure what. I ended up on the Public Television station, (yes indeed, those were the days!) and there was this highly bizarre personage: bright red mullet, emaciated sunken cheeks, rainbow eye make-up, skinny bone white appendages, and, I think, high heels.
Wow-wee! I immediately knew… NOW something was going on. At last! Thank you Jesus!
Ziggy Stardust was such a freak! Freak. Freak! Freak show! And it went on and on. The costume changes, the music, the challenging strut, and insolent yet seductive facial expressions. Each one fn freakier than the next:
Zow-eee! Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am!
It scared the SHIT out of me!
And I could not turn away. I watched the whole thing, feeling vaguely awakened in some way that I wasn’t really in touch with, and a bit appalled, (actually quite a lot appalled cuz I was a goody-goody-type). I honestly didn’t understand! Especially the pink lip gloss, bodysuits, pale white thighs.
What was this madness??
By the end of the show I still didn’t really UNDERSTAND, but I knew I liked it. A lot. And I became just obsessed! Such was my introduction to glam rock, and the end of a certain part of my childhood.
Let’s be clear: when it comes to Ziggy Stardust and all that ambiguous posturing, you either get it or you don’t. Am I right? And do I really need to get into all the “CONTEXT STUFF”? OK, here’s some context for you: It sounds almost quaint now, to say that this outlandish character coming into our suburban Chicago living room through the TV screen that night, like, blew my friggin mind. It just was so powerful.
Not just the outrageousness, but the talent, passion, and performance artistry. Turned me right round, baby, right round.
Can you think of anything with that kind of impact now? With 24/7 updates, and people seemingly willing to do anything in front of the camera? And many things amazingly commonplace.
Lady Gaga anyone? Marilyn Manson? How about Caitlyn Jenner?
David Bowie was so brave, brilliant, sly, and ground-breaking. Thanks David. R.I.P.
Hey, I know I’m not alone in this, I’m sure many of you have amazing and compelling memories of David Bowie and his music, please take a moment and share them in the comments section… even just place/song/date!
“This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different
Space Oddity, David Bowie