So this time Ziggy Stardust is really dead.
When Bowie killed him off on 3rd July 1973, there was the feeling that this was the end of something; that everyone wanted to continue. Ziggy Stardust was a new type of freak. Ziggy not only played guitar and had a screwed down hairdo. He/she was part male, part female, part reptile. Bowie described Ziggy as “Nijinsky meets Woolworths”. Ziggy introduced the world to glam, to a confusing sexuality that was mind blowing to watch on the BBC at that time. Nothing quite like this had ever been seen before.
But of course it had. Bowie was the ultimate magpie. Stealing bits from where ever he wanted. Part vaudeville, part camp – Ziggy Stardust updated an androgyny that pushed Bowie into the role of chameleon giving few interviews and never explaining.
It seems mundane now to see artists create characters and roles for themselves, but this was just the start for Bowie. The US soul of Young Americans, The Berlin period, and the international pop of Lets Dance were more versions of Bowie lying ahead.
He always had great musicians around him, but most notable was Mick Ronson. Guitarist and henchman in the Ziggy years Ronson gave Bowie that T Rex guitar sound that would characterise Bowie’s music in the 1970s. A Northerner from Sheffield he trained as a classical musician able to create and hold music in his head. He was no-plussed by the Ziggy period and was just a guitarist playing in a band.
This ordinariness characterised Bowie. Perhaps with all the glamour and fame he never really escaped the ordinariness of Bromley and the lack of expectations his parents had of him. To be noticed and get out of Bromley maybe he had to become a freak. Freaks are always trying to escape something.
Commentators are say his death was a work of art. Is this true? Maybe. But until the end he never really wanted to be David Jones: it seemed he never wanted to be himself to the rest of the world.
Did he think he would never be enough for us?
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2016
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This article is designed to provoke argument and critique