I guess most of us know where we were when we heard David Bowie had died. Like most in this time zone, I was in bed, staring bleary-eyed at the radio alarm clock as it broadcast the news; wondering if I was in the midst of a bizarre dream. This one touched everyone and I didn’t have a conversation over the next few days without mentioning the Duke.
I’m not normally one to broadcast my feelings on social media. I find the obligatory grief-bombing that takes place after a celebrity death to be a little self indulgent – and there’s been a hell of a lot of it so far this year. So I left the tweeting and FB posting to others but there were some wonderful stories shared that day, along with video clips and audio snips that celebrated the man better than 140 measly characters. Adam Buxton captures the mood perfectly on his Bowie Wallow Podcast (Parts 1 & 2) , which is well worth a listen.
On this day of D for the A to Z Challenge, I give you an entirely prosaic and largely forgettable David anecdote. My big admission here today is that, until my early twenties, I had never heard the second verse of Changes. Audible gasps!? Read on…
Apart from Let’s Dance in my Dad’s car and a brilliant performance of Space Oddity on the Kenny Everett show, my introduction to Bowie proper came via my good friends Ed Fowkes and David Drew in late summer 1987. I’m not sure why I hadn’t caught the space bug, as I was well aware of his music from my older brothers and thought he smashed it at Live Aid. But my mind was truly blown forever when Mr. Drew, the first of us to learn to drive and therefore our transport to school for the rest of the year, popped Hunky Dory into the tape deck one morning. I was sold.
His cassette recording of that album, sitting snugly on one side of a C90 (couldn’t say what was on the other side, possibly Ziggy Stardust – what a tape!) from which I ripped it myself, had one idiosyncrasy. There was a scratch on the original vinyl LP at the start of the second verse of Changes…
“I watch the ripples change their size-change their size-change their size-ch-
-quite aware what they’re going through…CH-CH-CH-CH-CHAAANGES!” Etc.
Yes young readers, in the olden days, physical media for the playing of music was easily damaged and that damage was then recorded when copying that music! As this was the version of the song that I owned and played for years to come until the tape wore out, I can never again hear Ch-Ch-Changes without expecting the scratch-and-jump. That stunning lyric about the stream of warm impermanence (and spitting on children) is lost to me.
Here’s a picture of David ironing Brian Eno’s arm.
See you tomorrow.