One of my earliest memories was checking out my red glitter nail polish as my girlfriends and I tottered–in hot pants and 4″ high-heel wedges–down the hill from our row-house neighborhood towards the Tower Theater in West Philadelphia, to hear David Bowie perform as Ziggy Stardust. The year was 1972. I was fourteen.
Maybe it had something to do with the bland sameness of my life at the time, but Bowie and his Spiders from Mars opened up a world of glam and glitz that–aside from the polish coating my nails–I hadn’t known existed.
I staked out the hotel where he was staying during the tour in Philly, but was too shy to knock on his door. I consumed his subsequent albums, studied his movies (The Man Who Fell to Earth), marveled at his Broadway debut as The Elephant Man. I cut my hair like his (from his Aladin Sane period), inadvertently stayed at the same bed-and-breakfast that he had in Woodstock and went to see him one last time with my best friend, Donna (his Serious Moonlight tour), all of us decades older, in lower heels, at a much larger stadium. Time passes.
What, if anything, does this have to do with self-publishing? Aside from the props that Bowie rightfully gets as an original, there was a catalog from last year’s David Bowie exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum that IR reported on. The V&A had been given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive to curate the first international retrospective of his extraordinary career that featured more than 300 objects, including handwritten lyrics, original costumes, fashion, photography, film, music videos, set designs and Bowie’s own instruments.
“Ch-ch-changes / Oh look out now you rock and rollers / Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older.” We did. David Bowie never appeared to.