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BEEN THERE DONE THAT - EPIPHANY ANYONE?


"In 1969, we moved (my parents and I) to 8 Plaistow Grove, Bromley, Kent. As was the neighbourly custom, to welcome the newcomers to the street, a middle-aged woman rang our front door bell, introduced herself as Mrs Jones, later Peggy, from Number 4, and presented my mother and I with a pint of milk and a 7 inch record, explaining it was her son's first record and not yet released."

by Bertie Marshall

COPYRIGHT © 2002, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

"What we call living is an attempt to read the shadows"
--Peter Brook


Living in England is like climbing up a ladder of sick

"One's isolated efforts are but straws in the wind -- we can do nothing alone"
-- Peter Brook

So where has England gone?
I have no idea.

"An empty and infinite universe, an abyss. We all have a perchant for chaos"
-- Luis Bunel

In 1973 I saw David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust at Earl's Court Arena. I was thirteen. David was a multicoloured matchstick man from where I was sitting, up in 'the gods' (the balcony). I saw him again in 1976 as the Thin White Duke, supported by Dali and Bunel's silent movie Un Chien Andalou: ants crawling thru hands, eyes sliced, Gitane smoke screen, fridge cold. Each time I saw David Bowie in my formative years (that long and painful yawn /vomit called adolesence) I had a realisation / an epiphany

I saw David two weeks ago at the Hammersmith Apollo (nee Odeon) and he's still the glittering peacock, with white piano key dentures, floppy blond hair, a beautiful tight fitted (especially on the thighs and crotch) midnight blue satin suit. David sang for over two hours in a strong, vibrat / baritone -- and for a while the audience seemed bigger than he did. The back catalogue included the spellbinding 'Bewley Brothers' from Hunky Dory, but it wasn't until he got to 'Heathen', the last track on his last album, did drama hit and shivers appear. Alone in his spotlight, eerie keyboards and tapes, David belted out "I can see it now, I can feel it die", the prophet became the actor the singer became the philosopher -- a warning?

FLASHBACK...
In 1969, we moved (my parents and I) to 8 Plaistow Grove, Bromley, Kent. As was the neighbourly custom, to welcome the newcomers to the street, a middle-aged woman rang our front door bell, introduced herself as Mrs Jones, later Peggy, from Number 4, and presented my mother and I with a pint of milk and a 7 inch record, explaining it was her son's first record and not yet released. She thrust it into my mother's hands, saying we could borrow it. We made tea. Put the record on our mono player. Strange very strange noises, a boy /a girl singing? Spacey, zingy, sounds...

"Can you hear me Mayjor Tom, can you hear me Mayjor Tom?"

Our eyes rolled. We stirred our tea. The cat yawned. Perhaps it was raining.







ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Bertie Marshall was born in 1960, grew up in Catford, South London, dropped out of school to follow the Sex Pistols in 1976, and became part of the legendary Bromley Contingent. His first novel, Psychoboys was published in 1997. For more info read our interview with Bertie and visit his website.











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