08 January 2012

Happy 65th Birthday David Bowie, I've got my party hat on

Today marks the 65th birthday of the legend that is David Bowie. I grew up listening to David Bowie and he is responsible for me singing my head off to his album 'Aladdin Sane' when I'm driving, let me take this opportunity to make a heartfelt apology to the British public, I promise I'll keep my window done up next time.

Bowie was born David Robert Jones on the 8th January 1947 in Brixton, London. He changed his surname to 'Bowie' because he didn't want to be confused with Davy Jones. And before you ask, I don't mean the captain of the Flying Dutchman, the scary octopus monster in The Pirates of the Caribbean, no I mean the actor and member of the band The Monkees. While I am on the subject 'Bowie' is pronounced 'Bo-wee' like Joey not like 'TOWIE', just so everyone knows. 

We all started to fall in love with him in 1969 when his song 'Space Oddity' reached the top 5 in the UK Singles Chart. He actually released some songs and an album before hand in 1967 with the song 'The Laughing Gnome' which is thought to be his worst ever song, but adored by fans. One of those crazy fans who love it is yours truly. Trust me it is really worth a listen. In the quite early days of my relationship with Mr. Boyfriend ie. before he realised the full extent of my obsession with shoes and men in suits, we were having a conversation about Bowie and I told him about this song 'The Laughing Gnome' and my quest to have my own version of it instead of wearing my dad's out. So the next week he came bearing a square envelope which he had scribbled a lovey dovey message on. The envelope held a 7 inch vinyl of 'The Laughing Gnome' which he found especially for me when he went through all his hundreds of records that he has in order to find it. At that point I knew he was keeper. The fact that he had a pretty cool shoe collection and didn't mind watching the same Dad's Army episode hundred times helped too.

So anyway back to Bowie, for three years he experimented with different types of music and in 1972 he rejuvenated himself into the flamboyant Ziggy Stardust and had the hit single 'Starman', along with the album 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.' His persona as Ziggy was revolutionary at the time and was thought to have challenged the core belief of rock music at the time and created perhaps the biggest cult in popular culture. You may think what's the big deal? We are use to singers dressing up in elaborate one piece leotards and using an awful lot of eyeshadow. But these were the days when men dressed like well, men and remember Lady Gaga hadn't even been thought of then.

One of his most famous Ziggy costume's is his space suit, before you start imagining him in an astronaut costume this was a space suit like no other. It consisted of a zip-up jacket and matching trousers made of heavy, stiff metallic silver fabric with stripes in hot pink, silver and electric blue; see I told you they were elaborate. The sleeves have shoulder accents with thin orange and silver stripes alternating with thicker lime green stripes which are also on the thick pointy collar. The wrist and waist bands of the jacket are made of black and coloured elastic to give it a tapered look. His bright red boots were made out of PVC with plastic platforms, now I bet he didn't get them in Clarks.

He went on to conquer America and created another persona 'The Thin White Duke' in 1976 with his 10th album 'Station to Station'. His image changed to slicked back hair wearing a white shirt, black trousers and a waistcoat. he looked virtually normal and quite yummy.

 It was in the 1980s when he went from a singer to a megastar and changed his look once again. He wanted a Pierrot look characterised in the sleeve of his single 'Ashes to Ashes' in 1980. His vinyls whether it be an album or a single always had an awful lot of artwork included, whether it be cartoon or colourful drawings. Over the years he had hit after hit with songs including 'The Gene Genie' and 'Life on Mars.' Throughout the 1990s and 2000s he continued to experiment with different looks and types of music including pop soul and adult-contemporary music. He last toured in 2003-4, but has now sadly gone into part-retirement due to having to have heart surgery. Bowie fans including myself are hoping for one more tour, or even just one gig. I would literally sell all my shoes to see him, now that's saying something.

Item imageKate Moss as Ziggy Stardust of the cover of Vogue Paris.Even though Bowie is now very private and out of the limelight, he is still around us with his songs played in a lot of programmes, adverts and movies. He has been pictured many different ways in art and has models transforming themselves into him, yes even Kate Moss. She had her 'Tonight Matthew I'm going to be David Bowie' moment for the December 2011 cover of Vogue Paris. Earlier in 2003 she was also transformed into him for a May British Vogue issue, trust the French to copy us. Next there will be a 'The Only Way is Toulouse' and they will be having vajazzles. A new spider species that was discovered in Malaysia in 2009 was called Heteropoda DavidBowie, now how many people can say that they have had a spider named after them? I don't think we will see a new spider species named Katie Price anytime soon.

David Bowie has been immortalised in a mosaicTo celebrate his 65th birthday an artist called Ed Chapman has made a mosaic of him out of hundreds of hand cut stone tile pieces. Before you think oh god, it doesn't look like the mosaics you find on Greek holidays, no this actually looks incredibly good. The artwork is called 'Pin Up' and is valued at £4,000. It measures 3ft by 2ft and took several weeks to create, now that is some patience. He chose Bowie as his subject because of the respect he has for him as a musician and as an artist, as well as his 'timeless' appeal. You know that in his spare time he dances around to 'Let's Dance' with a hairbrush.

Lord Royal Highness
David Bowie's fortune is estimated at £500m, so I don't think he will be the first in the queue to collect his pension on Monday morning and I don't think you will see him stacking shelves in Tesco's anytime soon. His music will continue to be devoured over for generations to come. He made a special guest appearance on the SpongeBob SquarePants episode Atlantis SquarePantis as the Lord Royal Highness in 2007, the man is simply a god.

Second Hand Rose

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