Monday, June 25, 2007

Hazy cosmic jive

If you watched the second instalment of the BBC's 7 Ages of Rock offering, you will have spotted my old university chum Nicholas Pegg, creator of the best Bowie book ever published, pontificating on all things Ziggy. Unlike 97% of Bowie retrospectives, the show didn't focus unduly on that TOTP performance of 'Starman', the one that apparently had half the male population of the British Isles questioning its collective sexuality, and encouraged burly, Millwall-supporting hod-carriers to wear glittery eye-shadow to away matches.

In this case it was a missed opportunity. Nick and I share a guilty obsession: the kid in the tank top, bopping lamely in the background as DB gets quasihomofamiliar with Mick Ronson. It was Nick who pointed out to me that the important thing about him is not his unsyncopated boogie, but that this extraordinary moment - one that inspired countless future stars of the 70s and 80s to pick up a guitar and/or a mascara wand - entirely passes him by, because he's too busy gawping at his own image on the monitor screen.

As Noel Coward put it, television is for appearing on, not for looking at; but this guy was determined to do both at once. 35 years on, and such single-minded narcissism would make him a shoo-in for Big Brother or the like. Where is he now, I wonder...

18 comments:

Geoff said...

Marc Almond would have three kids and be working as an insurance salesman if it wasn't for that show.

Andrew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

As far as ages of rock & its heroes go, I've a post you might find educating as well as edifying and illuminating on the greatest rocker of them all, Tim, here.

Tim Footman said...

He is, Geoff. The other stuff is just for show.

I see no link to Pat Boone, Andrew. Some mistake?

St. Anthony said...

Where now is the man in the tanktop?
Was he the opening wedge of the navel-gazing culture we are now saddled with?

Alex said...

Overall it has been a good series, although last weekends episode on grunge took the familiar turn of being a Cobain love in. There was so much more to grunnge than Kurt but the programme made it seem like everything else was there to inspire him.

It needed more of Frank Black and more of the Pixies amongst others to be a truely definitive age of rock.

Andrew said...

There's no mistake, Tim. Pat Boone may be all well & good but he is most definitely not the greatest of them all. Unlike Sir Elton Hercules.

amyonymous said...

oh man - why can't i get BBC in LA? i NEED to see that show! perhaps it will be on dvd sometime in the future. you lucky devils.

amyonymous said...

oh, that has my incorrect blogger name .... sorry. amyonymous is synonymous with amylola.

looks like a tongue-twister when it's typed out like that.

9/10ths Full of Penguins said...

Sir Elton Hercules, Pat Boone, David Bowie....

They all fall down and worship at the altar of His Comedy Progness Rick Wakeman

We all know this to be true

Andrew said...

Blasphemy, Penguin Man. Elton Hercules kicks all ass into the great beyond. Though Rick Wakeman's infinitely fast fingers do put him near the uppermost perch, to be sure.

Murph said...

I think it would help if people held their hand up when they are being ironic.

Andrew said...

Not all ironical people have only one hand, Murph.

Murph said...

Fair point, Andrew. I just press the "paws" button. I've only seen Rick Wakeman on "Grumpy old Bastards" so never appreciated his infinitely fast fingers I'm sorry to say - just his views on traffic wardens, teenagers, ipods and text messaging.

Andrew said...

just his views on traffic wardens, teenagers, ipods and text messaging


Which are enough, I'm sure, in themselves to make him one of the greats.

Tim Footman said...

Don't worry about your log-in, Amy, it's no big deal. At least you haven't taken leave of your senses like these guys...

9/10ths Full of Penguins said...

Murph, my hand was sort of up.

Although, I saw Rick Wakeman for the first time at a random music festival about 5 years ago and he was great. Also, extremely funny too.

As I recall(there was alcohol in appreciable measures involved so my recall is not necessarily 100% accurate) he wore a shorts/tux combo as well. Legendary...

Tim Footman said...

I like the idea of 'a random music festival'. Just stick a pin in the display ads in the NME in March and buy tickets for whichever one you hit. Face it, you're probably going to see the Stereophonics whatever happens...