And so the story goes he wore the clothes. He said the things to make it seem… Probable.


When I was 12 and looking around for male role models, the standard issue on offer had long curly locks / facial hair, wore a cheesecloth shirt and faded blue denim flares, and had a gold medallion peeping through his unbuttoned shirt. He walked in a cloud of Brut after-shave, spoke of women as “chicks” and valued his masculinity more than anything else. Even more than The Eagles.

And then, there was this Starman on the radio. We picked him up on Channel 2. He told us it was alright to be different. We were pretty little rebels, driving our Mamas and Papas insane. As long as you knew who Jean Genet was (or were prepared to find out), you were in. If Life is a University, he was the hip Lecturer.

Back then in 1972, David Bowie made a palimpsest of mine and many a child’s life. Everything was scratched out, ready to be written again.

It’s been more than forty years since then. Not every song and new record seized on as avidly as in the beginning. But as I continued to think my life in song lyrics, it was frequently one of his that sprang to mind.

Time Takes A Cigarette, Puts It in Your Mouth

Five Years. That’s All We’ve Got

Looked A Lot Like Che Guevara

Always Crashing In The Same Car

Cancer, eh? Too soon to know what type. To know the back-story. It doesn’t really matter. I still owe you. I haven’t lost a father or a brother. I was a follower of the Prophet and now he has left us.

In the blessed and cold, in the crutch-hungry dark, was where he flayed his mark. Oh, and he is gone.