Saturday, 23 March 2013

David Bowie: Top Of The Pops

"I was a gay 12 year-old just starting to take an interest in pop music and I was knocked out.
"I was watching with my mother who said, Oh he looks like Glenda Jackson playing Elizabeth I - which in retrospect was quite perceptive.
"And then came the famous moment on the show when David Bowie slung his arm around guitarist Mick Ronson - which was simultaneously blokey but also a bit gay. It may not sound like much now but in 1972 it was a revolution.
"A few months before the TOTP appearance, Bowie said on the record in the Melody Maker that he was gay - or at least bisexual. 
"Looking back now, the statement was ambiguous but at the time it was a brave thing to say - it was only five years since homosexual acts had been legalised in Britain.
"I didn't find David Bowie at all attractive in any physical way. But I loved what he stood for.
"He clearly knew his way around gay culture in terms of its writing and music and visual art. "More than anyone else, he blasted the closet-door off its hinges. So for that I'll always love him - but his position on the politics of sexuality is a conflicted one. If, like me, you're a big Bowie fan you just have to accept that.
"At the very least in the '70s he was a pioneer of sexual openness in Britain. It was a long time before anyone came along in music who was unambiguously gay. Arguably in Britain, that title goes to Jimmy Somerville but Bowie paved the way."

Rupert Smith quoted in a BBC News magazine feature David Bowie: Did He Change Attitudes To Sexuality?
I've compiled them together and left out all the other bits in the article using Bryon Gysin and William Burrough's cut-up technique - as a tribute to the enduring cultural legacy of David Bowie.
I don't care about you, but I'm a bit over-stuffed with reading everyone saying how wonderful Bowie is right now, but I liked this.

PS I also liked Tilda Swinton's tribute to the Dame at the opening of David Bowie Is.

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