Monday, 11 January 2016

David Bowie Memories


(I resisted the temptation to name this blog post "Stardust Memories".)

David Bowie has passed away. Here are some of the ways he's popped up in my life.

  • When I was about 9 or 10 my dad made my youngest sister a tape of some songs from his record collection. Me and her used to listen to it together. The tape had Laughing Gnome and Love You Til Tuesday on it. I had never seen a picture of Bowie and based on those songs I pictured him as an aging crooner in a tuxedo.
  • After listening to Nirvana: Unplugged in New York I dug out my dad's vinyl of The Man Who Sold the World. By the end of Width of a Circle I was completely hooked. I dug out my dad's other Bowie records and made tape after tape of my favourite songs from each album.
  • In 1995 Bowie co-presented Mark Radcliffe's Radio One Show to promote Outside. They played Heart's Filthy Lesson and it soon got added to one of my Bowie compilation tapes. Radcliffe also played Pulp's Sorted for E's & Wizz because he thought Jarvis Cocker sounded like Bowie. Bowie said "It's in the genes, Mark" which made no sense. Radcliffe opened the show with Iggy Pop's Lust for Life. It was the first time I'd ever heard it and it blew me away (Trainspotting wouldn't be out for another year). 
  • I listened to Heroes for the first time over my Gran's house. Beauty and the Beast and Joe the Lion make me think of staying over my Gran's.
  • I used to listen to Bowie: the Singles Collection while playing on the Sega Mega Drive with my sisters. Bowie's rubbish cover of Alabama Song makes me think of playing The Lion King.
  • When I was 15-17 a group of us used to hang around a friend's house most Saturdays and drink cider and alcopops (it was mainly me on the alcopops). We would listen to The Man Who Sold the WorldHunky Dory, and Ziggy Stardust a lot. We had the CD versions that had songs like Holy HolyBombers, and Velvet Goldmine as bonus tracks. Those songs still make me think of my mate's living room in Trethomas and the smell of Strongbow.
  • During my first year of Uni Bowie released Hours. I would listen to it while hiding in my room and thinking of all the fun, crazy, drug and sex fuelled antics I probably should have been participating in. Years later me and my friend Tony would sing songs from that album to each other in work, usually in a comedy Bowie voice. Tony and I would also try to sneak the names of Bowie songs into our live science shows. Tony was the undisputed master of this, managing to describe the sparks from a Van Der Graaf Generator as looking like "two trains going from Station to Station."
  • I owe most of the friendships I made in Uni to bonding with people over Labyrinth.
  • In a London club over ten years ago my friend John and I worried that Bowie had died after the DJ inexplicably played all of Aladdin Sane (the album not just the song). Absolute Beginners is also a song I associate with John, as I watched him perform a cracking version of it for Karaoke one New Year's Eve in an East End boozer. 
  • Let's Dance is forever associated with my friend Llyr, who completely owned the song once at Karaoke, despite being confused by an extra long version of the song that I have never heard before or since.
  • I bought Bowie at the Beeb in a record shop in Prague while on a wonderful holiday with a now ex-girlfriend. Every time I listen to it I think of that holiday. 
  • When two of my best friends Emma & Rob, got married to each other they played A New Career in a New Town as they signed the register. I always think of them when I listen to Low, and that song in particular.
  • Recently I bonded with one of the wonderful new friends I have made since moving to Sheffield by discussing our favourite Bowie tracks while we were supposed to be taking part in a pub quiz. I think our team did pretty well but it was no thanks to us.
These are some of the memories that have been going through my head today.

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