Teenage Wildlife

QWatch May 1999

As reported by Dara O'Kearney
daraok@iol.ie

Quite a few Bowie mentions in this month's Q:

PAGE 50: A piece on Bob Geldof's stint as DJ on London's XFM:
"NOVEMBER 20"

Certain musical prejudices are becoming plain; Geldof flatly refuses to play any Nick Drake, Love, Killing Joke, Pavement and Prefab Sprout. It pains him enormously to even consider including The Clash, Paul Weller and Belle & Sebastian ("because they're COMPLETE FUCKING WIMPS!"). On the production side, we have profound difficulty mustering support for Procol Harum, Rancid, Graham Parker and Dr Feelgood. But common ground has been established upon River, Mover, Muse, while some trusty staples have emerged: Black Grape, Suede, David Bowie, Beck, New York Dolls, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Neil Young, Placebo, Nick Cave, Common Mather, the Brian Setzer Orchestra and The Stone Roses. Any of these can be called upon when a storm broods on the horizon."

PAGE 52: Same piece:
"Brian Eno came in for the entire afternoon. He managed to make the most preposterous notions sound feasible, but then that's part of his job. He told Geldof he's received 25,000 pounds for writing the music you hear when you open Microsoft Windows 95. Geldof tried to talk him into re-negotiating the royalty. "Do you think I hadn't thought of that?" laughed Eno, who has probably thought of everything. A handy excuse to play some Eno-inspired and indebted music: Berlin-era Bowie, Talking Heads, Devo, U2, early Roxy and Eno himself. Eno was forced to admit that his falling-out with Bryan Ferry had something to do with Eno getting more shags. Result!"

PAGE 76:
A 5-pager on how there's a new confidence in rock about coming out post George Michael kicks off with a quarter page pic of the famous "Ziggy goes down on Ronson" pose, with the headline ""For gay musicians, Bowie was seismic. To hell with whether he disowned us later." Tom Robinson" and the caption "David Bowie lends Mick Ronson a helping mouth on stage, 1973."

PAGE 78: Same piece:
"Straws were avidly clutched - until January, 1972, when David Bowie provided much-needed revolutionary inspiration by telling a music weekly he was gay. He wore a dress on the cover to prove it, then scattered nudge-and-wink lyrics across three brilliant albums, The Man Who Sold The World, Hunky Dory and The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars.

"FOR US, IT WAS SEISMIC," says Robinson. "To hell whether he disowned us later, the important thing is the effect he had. (For the record, serious Bowie biographies have catalogued men he "neatly fucked", as he put it, in the early '70s.) Until then all pop music was boy meets girl. Suddenly, you heard The Bewlay Brothers and you felt, That's me! That line in Rock'N'Roll Suicide, You're not alone..." After that, every significant British gay artist was influenced by Bowie. Holly Johnson, aged 13, saw the Ziggy tour in Liverpool. Boy George, 12, saw it in Lewisham. Robinson, born in 1950, credits Bowie with "a big part in my coming out". Over the following year, he donned the Gay Liberation Front badge for all occasions, wrote his first songs and went out with his first steady boyfriend. Then he rang his father and said "I'm coming by for the night, is it all right if I bring a friend? and he said One bed or two? I was very lucky."

He took a solemn vow: "I swore that if I could ever pass on to others what Bowie had done for me I would. That's what Glad To Be Gay is about: fulfilling that pledge."

Later on the same page: "The abundant '80s gay heroes were mostly apolitical inheritors of Bowie and scions of new romantic backlash against ugly punk."

PAGE 80: In a sidebar headlined "Were You Trying To Tell Us Something?"
Bowie's dress cover for TMWSTW is pictured: "David Bowie Original cover to The Man Who Sold The World bravely premiered gender-bending theme. Record label filled pants and demanded "high kick" be-trousered version."

PAGE 82: Pic of Bowie lissing Lou, with the caption: "Lou Reed and David Bowie: sharing a quiet moment, 1973".

PAGE 129: Bowie's "I Dig Everything-1966" is pictured in a half page ad for Castle Music as a "Classic Album". Haw haw.

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This document last updated Sunday, 25-Apr-1999 16:37:19 EDT
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