Teenage Wildlife

QWatch November 1999

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

PAGE 9: The following letter explains why a photo of Bowie (in NetAid mode) is juxtaposed with a photo of Juliette Morris at the top of the Letters page:

"Dear Q,
Am I the only one who thinks BBC presenter Juliette Morris, is an absolute dead ringer for David Bowie?
Pete Wright, Berks

Editor replies: Yes, Pete, you are".

The photo caption reads "David Bowie (left) and BBC presenter Juliette Morris. Are they by any chance related? No".

PAGE 14: Brett Anderson of (London) Suede is this month's Cash For Questions "victim":

"At Hayward's Heath Sixth Form college you used to swan around pretending to be David Bowie. Popular, were you?
Gavin Merchant, Maidenhead

What are your readers like? I've never swanned around pretending to be anyone. I just used to wear a yellow suit. I think I looked more like Cliff Richard than David Bowie, actually. But yes, I was popular."

PAGE 24: A news piece on Net Aid is betopped by a large photo of Bowie performing at the event (caption: "David Bowie, Wembley Stadium, October 9, 1999: carry on up the cyber.")

LOG ON, TUNE IN, DROP OFF
Cyber charity NetAid stages a poverty-shattering multimedia global fandango. No one notices.

Five o'clock in the afternoon, under grey skies that threaten to break at any moment, and Eurythmics get NetAid under way. Striding out onto Wembley stadium's stage looking older but happier, Annie Lennox not only smiles, but informs the audience about the potency of their collective political power if they act upon it.

"Join Greenpeace," she urges. "Join Amnesty. Make a difference." With Bob Geldof absent and Bono in New York, this is as polemical as things get. Despite the appearance of similarly caring rock stars like George Michael and David Bowie, today's event - fighting The Issues Of Extreme Poverty - packs little in the way of real occasion.

NetAid takes place not only in London, New York and Geneva, but also on the Net. Beset with logistical problems and an alleged apathy from the many bands invited to perform, the event took a real body-blow when the promoter Harvey Goldsmith went bankrupt. Also, the event's flagship charity single, Wycleaf Jean and Bono's New Day, wasn't released until the following Monday. Tellingly, a phone call to the box office just hours before showtime confirmed that tickets were still available.

Ultimately, however, the day itself proceeds smoothly, if a little eclectically. Catatonia deliver rousing renditions of Road Rage and Mulder & Scully, while The Corrs, despite almost playing second fiddle to a brief rainstorm, have a go at a very willowy version of REM's Everybody Hurts. George Michael lends the line-up some real star quality, although technical problems which no one in the crowd notices later lead to the singer refusing the BBC permission to broadcast his performance on television - itself a hardly charitable act. Incongruously, Bush are up next, their poisonous grunge immediately banjaxing the roadshow atmosphere. A stony silence greets their strangled powerchords.

Matters are not improved when David Bowie concentrates the majority of his 25-minute set on newer tracks, while Bryan Adams and Stereophonics wisely elect to play some hits. Finally, following a live satellite link-up with New York and Geneva for the embarrassing Moment Of Unity, a suited-and-booted Robbie Williams commandeers 60,000 people in the act of dancing with arms in the air while singing the lyrics to Millenium verbatim.

"NetAid is a homebase for virtually any kind of organisation you may feel empathy with and want to find out more information on," says Bowie afterwards. "The best draw of the Internet is that once you feel established with a homebase, you have the motivation to keep returning." NetAid, he concluded, isn't over, it's just the beginning. Immediately after the concert, it was estimated that the Net event got a billion hits, making it the most visited site in the medium's history. In fact, the number was closer to two and a half million. The promoters have declined to reveal how much money was raised.

Nick Duerden

PAGE 30: Dot Dot Dot (the News Briefs section) has:

"David Bowie has been honoured as Commander Of Arts & Letters in France".

PAGE 32: Q's chart page has this to say about the #5 debut position of Hours in the UK (and a small NetAid picture of Bowie):

"IDLE!
'HOURS...'
David Bowie

David Bowie isn't touring this album, so the campaign has been focused on TV promotion. The 52-year-old performed Thursday's Child on Top Of The Pops (the song peaked at Number 16), sang the track Survive on TFI Friday and he showed off his new floppy haircut at America's MTV Awards. Bowie's melodic direction on 'hours...' has been well-received in the media but it's too early to say whether the album (which has first week sales of 17,000) will stick around longer than the last two, 1. Outside ('95) and Earthling ('97) which both had Top 10 chart entries but spiralled down very quickly (1. Outside only managed four weeks). A major Bowie re-issue campaign by EMI (with the artist's full cooperation) has also provided a timely reminder of his classic artist status."

Incidentally, commenting on NIN's drop of twenty six places on the same chart, Q says that it is typical for rock music in the UK right now - a high first week chart placing, followed by a rapid descent due to lack of airplay.

PAGE 72:90s pop quiz:

"34. Fill in the missing numbers of the bands and album titles, below, and add them up to make the highest chart position of Scott Walker's Tilt:
Jurassic ( )
( ) Non Blondes
( ) Summoner's Tales
( ) Dove
Juliana Hatfield ( )
Oui ( )
( ). Outside"

PAGE 125: In the "Like This? Try these..." sidebar to Q's review of the new Beck album, Bowie's "Young Americans" is one of the three albums named. The review itself starts with:

"Every generation of musicians throws a hero up its critical chart, singling out one group or individual as an untouchable pioneer. It was The Beatles in the 60s, Bowie is the 70s, and in the 80s, it was a toss-up between The Smiths and Prince."

PAGE 136: In the "Like This? Try these..." sidebar to Q's review of the new JBK (who are essentially three quarters of the old Japan group) album, Bowie's "Outside" is one of the three albums named.

PAGE 146: Three star review for the Stigmata soundtrack, including: "Remy Zero, Bjork and Massive Attack are outstanding, less so David Bowie, Afro Celt Sound System and Chumbawumba's contributions. The second half is the meat, being a 25-part, 30-minute original score by Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan, assisted by Bowie/Nine Inch Nails pianist Mike Garson."

PAGE 154: A 2-star review for the Earthling re-issue:

DAVID BOWIE
EARTHLING
BMG 7432144944 2

Another airing for Bowie's dance-rock collage from 1996 (sic).

After decades of skin-shedding artistic stealth bombing, David Bowie has struggled through most of the '90s. Earthling was his attempt to graft the jarring rock guitars of his earlier Tin Machine side project on to speedy junglist rhythms and dance grooves. Mike Garson's fractured, off-centre piano harks back to the dysfunctional Aladdin Sane and Diamond Dogs, but aside from the driven, hook-heavy songs Little Wonder, Dead Man Walking and the Brian Eno collaboration I'm Afraid Of Americans, this is an album bereft of memorable songs, with Bowie's and guitarist Reeves Gabrels' melodies sounding as laboured and self-conscious as the lyrics.
Paul Davies".

PAGE 158/159: A 2-star review of the posthumously release Billy MacKenzie album, starts:

Billy MacKenzie's twin obsessions with David Bowie and John Barry endured from The Associates' primitive version of Boys Keep Swinging through to this demo album, recorded with fellow Scot, Paul Haig (ex-Josef K), between December 1993 and July '95. The album's sparse electronic funk and MacKenzie's romantic but enigmatic croon fall somewhere between the cold magic of Bowie's Station To Station and a synthesized Bond theme.

Influenced by... David Bowie "Lodger"
Influence on... McAlmont "McAlmont"

PAGE 164: A review of some Gary Numan reissues:

"The Plan, a spindly shouty "punk" album made purely to get a deal, was recorded in his teens but not released until 1984, three years after the brooding, Bowiesque Dance".

PAGE 166: The "Q Rock Stars Encyclopedia" is pictured, with Bowie (as Ziggy) on the front cover.

PAGE 168: Diamond Dogs is nominated as one of the four best re-releases of the last three months:

DAVID BOWIE
DIAMOND DOGS
EMI

Visually, the cover remains its most striking feature (what did happen to David's penis?), but inside it's skewed, future-shock lyrics and Mike Garson's bonkers piano remains just as gripping."

PAGE 170: Bauhaus' "In The Flat Field" is nominated as one of Q's 12 Best Gothic Albums Of All Time:

"These wiry Bowiephiles had even even copped their name from an art history lecture at Northampton's Nene College. In 1982 they shot overground with a cheeky Ziggy Stardust"

Another album making the top 12 is The Mission's "Children":

"In the same way that Ziggy's Spiders From Mars were bricklayers under the cosmic trappings, so "The Mish" were good-time Northern lads dressed up in frock coats and cowboy hats - and all the more likeable for it"

PAGE 180: The "Q Rock Stars Encyclopedia" is pictured, with Bowie (as Ziggy) on the front cover (yes, again).

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