Tag Archives: Glam rock

➤ Burretti movie adds an epic and essential chapter to the Bowie story

Starman, Freddie Burretti, film, biopic, Lee Scriven, David Bowie, Man Who Sewed The World, glam rock, fashion

Connected by “otherness”: In a scoop for the film Starman, Bowie himself gave this unseen 1973 picture of Freddie Burretti wearing his own design for a lush crimson suit to launch the Aladdin Sane album. Both photographs by Masayoshi Sukita

Click to zoom down to Andy Polaris’s film review

◼ BETWEEN 1970 AND 1974 FREDDIE BURRETTI not only became David Bowie’s teenage lover but gave visual expression to the singer’s pop ambition. When they met Bowie was 23 and married to Angie while former Mod face Freddie, with his 28-inch waist and voluptuous long-hair, was as sexy as many another 19-year-old in that moment when David Johansen, Marc Bolan and Bowie were creating what became known as glam rock. But Freddie and David clicked instinctively in what Bowie calls their “otherness”, much of which derived from their sexuality. His career rebirth as an alien on Planet Earth was a masterstroke of pop invention and it was Burretti who created the exotic and brazenly sexual one-piece style of costuming in lush fabrics that we associate with Ziggy Stardust.

A new documentary biopic was previewed in London last night and not only breathes fresh life into familiar Bowie music but pieces together a unique chapter about his personal relationships against the austere climate of Britain in the 70s. Director Lee Scriven captures on film a score of eye-witness accounts, chief among them Freddie’s brother Stephen, his special friend and flatmate Wendy Kirby, his younger It-girl protégée Daniella Parmar, and biographer Kevin Cann.

Freddie Burretti , David Bowie, fashion,

Burretti stripes 1973: Bowie photographed on the Aberdeen express by Mick Rock

Titled Starman: Freddie Burretti – The Man Who Sewed The World, the biopic’s impact is cumulative. Burretti described himself as “just a dress designer” – raised in Hackney, transplanted at 14 to Bletchley in the home counties, then escaping at 18 back to London to live the life – yet by the time the on-screen talking heads arrive at GQ editor Dylan Jones, it becomes clear that a body of opinion today ranks Burretti alongside giants such as Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood and even Alexander McQueen, whose design talent blossomed more than a decade later.

Indeed, Burretti’s “stylish, yet slightly whimsical approach to tailoring” and the enduring influence of his adventurous cutting in several suits of the moment during 1973–74 is thoroughly acknowledged in the V&A catalogue to its touring exhibition, David Bowie Is. The singer’s blurring of the line between stage wear and day wear persuades an impressive list of high-fashion designers to admit their debt to him, including Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy whose SS2010 show opened with a black-and-white striped blazer in a blatant tribute to the one Bowie was famously photographed wearing on an intercity train in May 1973.

Bowie told Fan magazine in 1974: “Freddie is extremely patient. He just listens to my ideas and has this sort of telepathy, because whatever I think of in my mind he produces for real. I just hope he’ll continue to design incredible clothes for me.”

❏ Up until now very few pictures of Freddie Burretti were known to the public – even the cover of the sex education magazine Curious shown below surfaced in only 2010 with Cann’s chronology of Bowie’s early life, Any Day Now. As the gay liberation movement was gathering momentum in Britain, we see Bowie wearing a floral “man-dress” designed by Savile Row tailor Mr Fish, known for putting Mick Jagger in a frock for the Stones’ 1969 Hyde Park concert. Bowie had two Mr Fish dresses which he wore in 1970 in cover photographs for the album The Man Who Sold the World.

With Starman, Scriven’s company LJS films has scored a major coup. The publicity photo you see up top has never been published before and was given to the project by Bowie himself, showing off Freddie’s good looks, with grey highlights in the hair. Today you’ll come across very few pictures of the gorgeous suit in rich crimson-and-blue velvet with flared crimson trousers created for the launch of the Aladdin Sane album. Its first outing was Bowie’s interview on the Russell Harty TV chat show recorded on 17 January 1973, and in an associated live clip singing Drive-In Saturday.

Uniquely, what Starman has done is to collage together Burretti and Bowie in the crimson suit to simulate a sumptuous set of photos taken that February by Masayoshi Sukita against the glistening art deco interior of Radio City Music Hall in New York. Scriven said: “I have been told Freddie would arrive at studio shoots in advance with the clothes and help the photographer by standing in as a model so he or she could set up the lighting etc ready for Mr Bowie.” Some of the shots play with his mirrored reflection and the collage cleverly echoes the originals.

In the UK an NME headline revealed the new persona, “Goodbye Ziggy, Big Hello to Aladdin”, while at Radio City on 14–15 February Bowie and the Spiders were launching their US tour. One poor black-and-white photograph suggests he might well have been wearing the crimson suit as he helicoptered onto the Music Hall stage. In this 90-minute show Bowie transitioned through the hit songs of Ziggy Stardust to introduce Aladdin Sane and all but one track from the new album – all this, remember, before his official and unexpected “retirement of Ziggy” announcement in London that July. Included in Freddie’s £1,000 invoice for costumes supplied to the tour, Cann’s meticulous book records “Red Check Suit 40 guineas” (about £500 today).

The tragedy is that the Burretti-Bowie partnership ended the next year, over a “financial disagreement”, according to Cann’s book. Immediately, Burretti slipped out of the public eye.

THE NIGHT DAVID MET FREDDIE

, Freddie Burretti, David Bowie, glam rock, man-dress,gay issues,

Curious magazine, 1971: Bowie wears his Michael Fish “man-dress” and plans to create a band called The Arnold Corns to showcase Freddie as “the next Mick Jagger”. In the studio, it turned out that Freddie couldn’t sing

❏ Their affair had begun in 1970 in Kensington’s fashionable gay disco Yours Or Mine beneath the Sombrero restaurant. The Bowies were regulars, and one night David spotted Freddie cutting a dash on the up-lit dancefloor. Angie Bowie crossed the room to ask him and Wendy to join them for a drink.

In an interview with 5years.com Angie said in 2000: “You have no idea how handsome this man was. Freddie was wearing white Spandex hotpants with a navy blue sailors trim and a sailor shirt with short sleeves out of the same white Spandex edged in navy on the collar and sleeves. He looked totally Scandinavian with high cheek-bones and lots of blond hair, but he was tall and had big hands and feet speaking of his artistry and physical stamina. Every night he made new clothes to wear. He was so brilliant.”

At last night’s screening flatmate Wendy also remembered that day: “Angie approached us and asked us to have a drink. We hesitated and that’s what’s missing from the film – our sheer arrogance. We nearly said no!” She added: “Watching the film was quite strange. No one imagines their youth will be portrayed on screen and it was a little unsettling. I think the film was an affectionate glimpse of a time long gone. I didn’t appreciate at the time how talented Freddie really was. Lee’s film brought home how exceptional his work was. I’m proud to have known the man who was ‘just Freddie’ to me.”

Was Bowie’s gay phase in truth a marketing stance, as some argue? In his 2011 biography Starman, Paul Trynka reports American actor Tony Zanetta saying: “He was bisexual, but what he really was, was a narcissist – boys or girls, it was all the same. He was attracted to the gay subculture because he loved its flamboyance. Sometimes it was just an expression of communication – sometimes it was a way of. . . assimilating someone.” Bowie knew exactly what he was doing.

❏ Read on for a review of the film by Andy Polaris, ex-Blitz Kid and 80s pop singer who regards Bowie as one of rock’s serious gods.

➢ Starman director Lee Scriven’s website

“man-dress” , Wendy Kirby, Freddie Burretti, David Bowie, fashion,

Angie and David at home to Freddie: the host wears his Michael Fish designed “man-dress” that was banned from his American album cover for The Man Who Sold the World

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: 2011, I danced in Bowie’s lost Jean Genie video, by Wendy Kirby

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: 2010, A feast of Bowie-ana served in waffeur-thin slices by Kevin Cann

Last night’s preview: click any pic below to launch slideshow

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
1970, Where to draw a line between glitter and glam

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ANDY POLARIS REVIEWS STARMAN THE MOVIE

Freddie Burretti, Daniella Parmar, fashion,Ziggy Stardust

Bowie’s designer Freddie and It-girl Daniella in about 1971: striking a pose that David and Angie came to emulate

Andy Polaris, singer

Andy Polaris

❏ Starman: The Man Who Sewed The World gives a fascinating insight into the relatively unknown life of fashion future legend Freddie Burretti. This working-class lad had a creative mind able to absorb everything he loved about Mod fashion, having taught himself to make his own clothes at an early age. With enough dedication and focus to learn tailoring as well as the youthful dynamics of the dancefloor, he was obviously adept at observing styles and reworking looks to his own vision.

A chance meeting at the disco lead to the serendipitous collaboration with Bowie and the singer’s as yet not fully realised Ziggy Stardust wardrobe. These bold textured prints and coloured jumpsuits were, and are, extraordinary for capturing Bowie’s otherness at that time. Aladdin Sane prints that looked like Liberty worn by the androgynous male rock star blew our tiny minds back then.

What I loved about the movie was seeing the genesis of Freddie’s glamour vision in a mundanely drab landscape played out with the innocence of his mainly, it appears, female friends notably Wendy bf and Daniella protégée. Wonderful to hear their counterpoint stories of that inner ciricle involved in Bowie’s creation of Ziggy with Freddie’s ascendant talent and confidence.

The pairing of Freddie and Daniella wearing his clothes is groundbreaking. Looking at those photos we see the androgynous beauty of Freddie (like a still from James Bidgood’s 1971 cult movie Pink Narcissus) teamed with Daniella’s Asian complexion and short spiky blonde crop. They had already created David and Angie’s classic image before the rest of the world saw it!

fashion, David Johansen, David Bowie

Coordination of styles, 1973: which came first, Johansen of New York Dolls or Bowie in Burretti suit?

In fact, Daniella also anticipates Ava Cherry singing with Bowie in Young Americans several years later when we note the similar styling – how did that happen?

From my own black perspective, a brown or black face was something I would immediately zone in on, seeing someone like you up there on a stage and hanging out with the stars. Marc Bolan having the black Gloria Jones as his wife was a big bloody deal to some black kids, for sure.

Freddie’s whole look seems to have been adopted wholesale by David Johansen of the New York Dolls, so the influence of this young British designer can today be recognised rippling out into the wider pop culture although it probably wasn’t acknowledged at the time. Maybe a parallel could be drawn between Freddie and Alexander McQueen – both gay and from working-class backgrounds – though McQueen came to work with Bowie as an established star, whereas Freddie created an image that made Bowie a star. Today it is unreal to imagine any designer could achieve such pivotal pop success without a massive team behind them.

➢ Video: Andy Polaris sings Mr Solitaire on Top of the Pops

➢ Follow Andy’s blog APolarisView: one man’s adventures in display and other obsessions

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➤ The Voice’s rock god Lovatt surprises Britain and shocks himself

Jamie Lovatt

Moment of triumph on The Voice Feb 22: Kylie, Will, Ricky and Tom (in there somewhere), all wanting a piece of Jamie Lovatt. Screengrab © BBC

➢ Watch Jamie’s Voice performance in full plus the judges’ verdicts on BBC iPlayer until April 12 (scroll to 58 minutes)

❚ “I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS GOING to turn round and see this rock god dude!” said Kylie Monogue on The Voice UK on Saturday night. The dude in question had delivered his own steady but highly emotional and emphatically rock reinterpretation of Rozalla’s acid house smash Everybody’s Free to his own twangy Rickenbacker guitar. By his hollering climax the studio audience were on their feet and two of The Voice’s four celebrity coaches had spun their chairs in hopes of recruiting him: superstar Kylie Minogue and Ricky Wilson (“the bloke from Kaiser Chiefs”). Within minutes the dude had opted to join Ricky’s team as its final member, before the BBC TV talent contest’s real battles begin next week.

An hour after transmission he posted on Facebook: “Who saw me then eh? SURPRISE.” Jamie Lovatt, cocky 24-year-old face about Shoreditch where he runs a bar, was back. The frontman for the once glam-goth band Romance, since restyled as tribal “cabaret rockers”, had definitely stolen the show, even though the acts auditioning blind on Saturday were a cut above previous weeks, because most proved to be seasoned performers with terrific voices. This dude also looked like nobody else within miles – an eyeful of androgynous 80s glam, Jamie sported long blond hippy hair and eyeliner, a gold crocheted clingy top, snakeskin trousers and cowboy boots. His style is a fusion of Prince, Billy Idol and the 80s postpunk shamanists Death Cult, though the TV audience was spared his usual stage gambit of performing shirtless.

Click any pic to launch carousel

For those of us who’ve known Jamie since he deejayed in London’s fashionable Neo Romantic clubs, the fierce TV act was a surprise metamorphosis from the once shy teenager (off-stage!), through the frenetic vocalist onstage with Romance, to this assured showcase cover version bursting with intense feeling which Kylie and the other coaches sensed immediately. Almost 90 seconds into the number, Ricky hit the voting button and six seconds later Kylie followed.

She was full of admiration: “I liked the emotion in your voice. I don’t know if you always sing like that but the fact that you have the ability to sing like that is very moving.”

What set Jamie’s interview apart was the sadness that brimmed within him as he told how Romance’s first lineup had been torpedoed by ill health and their four-album record deal was cancelled when the label dropped the band in 2011. “I lost management, I lost everything.” But not his faith to carry on.

The coaches rallied. Will-i-am said: “As far as getting dropped, guess what? They lost.” And the audience cheered. Tom Jones paid a couple of quiet complements that were evidently heartfelt. Ricky had been there himself: “I know what you’ve been through. I’m in a band… and we lost a record deal.” Lucky Jamie was able to pick which team to join and as he stepped from the stage it was noticeable how all four coaches crowded in for a piece of him. He’d been dignified, determined and, incredibly, said “Thank you” more times than you’d expect from a self-declared “lone wolf” rocker.

Some think a shiny-floor TV talent show might undermine a rock singer’s credibility, but Jamie is a 21st-century man and believes it’s the only way to crack the industry these days. He told The Sun: “People don’t think of someone like Jagger or Jim Morrison going on these shows but if you were to take them at the age they were discovered and have them living now, would that happen?”

Today was spent doing the rounds of the media as a hot TV property. What’s the question they were all asking? Answer: “How did it feel?” Jamie told Shapersofthe80s: “All I can say is it was surreal then, and from all the support I have received, it’s even more surreal now! Absolutely overwhelming, humbling and shocking. I can’t thank everyone enough… Didn’t think this would happen at all. I’m really moved!”

➢ Catch Jamie Lovatt and his new “glam-noir” lineup Romance Mk2 playing live in London during March and April

EVERYBODY’S FREE: BRIEF CLIP FROM THE VOICE

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2013 ➤ Bowie is Go! Tasters for this week’s record-breaking V&A exhibition

+++V&A video trailer for the new exhibition, David Bowie is

➢ David Bowie is the enigmatic title of a retrospective exhibition of 300 possessions drawn from Bowie’s personal archive displayed at London’s Victoria & Albert museum, March 23–Aug 11. Appropriately, this week his first album in ten years, The Next Day, sits at No 1 in the Official UK Album Chart. It’s his ninth UK No 1 album (though spookily neither of his recent singles releases is anywhere near the singles chart). Before the V&A show launches, ticket sales exceed 42,000, more than double the advance sales of previous exhibitions at the museum. A few tickets are still available by booking online, in person in Kensington, or by phone +44 (0)20 7907 7073.

FROM THE BOWIE COMMENTARIAT

➢ David Bowie, the Return – Tony Parsons, Miranda Sawyer and La Roux’s Elly Jackson discuss Bowie’s music and influence for Radio 4’s Front Row (broadcast March 7, available on iPlayer for a year). Presenter John Wilson is guided through the V&A exhibits by the show’s curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh.

David Bowie, V&A exhibition, White Cloth Gallery, Leeds

Brian Duffy’s photography for the Lodger album sleeve 1979. © The Duffy Archive Limited

➢ The Duffy Collection of iconic Bowie images – which include three of his most famous album covers – goes on display May 2–June 4 at the White Cloth Gallery in Leeds LS1 4HT. The show documents Duffy’s special relationship with Bowie over ten years.

➢ A cryptic guide to the typography of Bowie – The V&A exhibition catalogue dissected by Gavin Lucas at Creative Review, 4 March 2013:

Jon Abbott at graphic design studio Barnbrook said of the book David Bowie Is: “We wanted to create an engaging pop-object for an audience who have come to expect the unconventional” … The book’s body typeface, Priori Serif, is one from Jonathan Barnbrook’s own foundry, Virus Fonts. Drawn by Jonathan Barnbrook and Marcus Leis Allion, the typeface was influenced by British typographers Gill and Johnston, and fittingly it found one of its first outings on the cover of Bowie’s 2002 album, Heathen … / Continued at Creative Review

Celia Philo,Brian Duffy,David Bowie, V&A exhibition,

One of the rejected cover shots for the Aladdin Sane album taken by photographer Brian Duffy in 1973. © The Duffy Archive Limited

➢ The day that lightning struck Aladdin – In 1973, Celia Philo directed the photo shoot for David Bowie’s album Aladdin Sane. The result was one of the most iconic images ever created. She talks to Stylist magazine, 2013:

Sometimes, when you’re doing something that you know is going to be good, it’s because it’s come from an extreme end of the spectrum of experience: either it’s incredibly hard work, or it comes together almost effortlessly. The photographic shoot for the cover of Aladdin Sane happened like magic. Its success was the result of a lucky collaboration of people … / Celia Philo, continued at Stylist

David Bowie, V&A exhibition,Lower Third,Swinging 60s,

Setting out as Swinging 60s Mod: Bowie promo shot in 1966 for his first single on Pye, Can’t Help Thinking About Me, with his band The Lower Third which included producer Tony Hatch on piano. The NME decided: “Absorbing melody, weakish tune”

➢ Iain R Webb: How David Bowie liberated my wardrobe – As a 14-year-old boy living in a West Country village, Webb, the former Blitz Kid and fashion editor and now RCA professor, thought David Bowie’s style statements were a gift. And so have generations of fashion designers. Read feature in The Independent, March 16, 2013:

Bowie’s influence on my life has been major, from the fundamental desire to never be labelled or pigeonholed to my profound love of glitter and penchant for a spikey haircut. And I am not alone … / Iain R Webb, continued at The Independent

➢ Glam! The Performance of Style (Feb 8–May 12) is a seriously well-curated multi-media show at Tate Liverpool surveying the 1971–75 phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic, across the whole spectrum of painting, sculpture, installation art, film, photography and performance. The in-depth survey comes in two halves, drawing a clear distinction between the playful subversion of pop music and fashion that characterised the British glam wave, and the American, which was driven much more profoundly by gender politics. Well worth a daytrip to Liverpool.

➢ 1970, Where to draw a line between glitter and glam: naff blokes in Bacofoil versus starmen with pretensions — analysis by Shapersofthe80s.

➢ How Glam Changed Britain, by Gary Kemp – feature written by the Spandau Ballet songwriter for The Times, Jan 28, 2013.

♫ EXPLORING BOWIE’S MUSIC

David Bowie, V&A exhibition, ,Berlin,Tony Visconti, Hansa Studios

Berlin 1976: Bowie with moustache, Tony Visconti and assistant engineer, Edu Meyer, taken in the control room of Hansa Studios by Meyer’s wife, Barbara

♫ BBC Radio 6Music celebrates the life and work of David Bowie throughout Easter week, March 25–31. Gems from the archive feature concerts and interviews which have not been heard in 30 years.

♫ 2013, Shock and awe verdicts – Shapersofthe80s rounds up critical opinion on Bowie’s born-again single Where Are We Now? and the masterful new album The Next Day – “beautiful, obsessive and deliciously cruel”.

♫ News of special vinyl release at Bowie’s website – His second 2013 single, The Stars, is scheduled for a limited edition vinyl 7inch 45 Record Store Day release on April 20. Backed with Where Are We Now?


❏ Music video for the 1979 song DJ (above) sees Bowie sporting a pink onesie dungaree outfit designed by Willy Brown and walking through London streets being snogged by fans, both boys and girls.

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2013 ➤ Bowie officially not “devastated” as fab retrospective show goes ahead at the V&A

David Bowie, lyrics, pop music, retrospective, memorabilia, exhibition, William Burroughs,Victoria & Albert Museum

Photography showing at the V&A: David Bowie and William Burroughs, 1974. Photograph by Terry O’Neill. Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive 2012

❚ WHAT A COUP! FIRST CAME THE OFFICIAL DENIAL. A press release from Bowie Towers last week denied the godlike one’s involvement in an upcoming retrospective exhibition in London at the Victoria & Albert Museum. “I am not a co-curator and did not participate in any decisions relating to the exhibition,” he said, adding however: “The David Bowie Archive gave unprecedented access to the V&A and museum’s curators have made all curatorial and design choices. 

A close friend of mine tells me that I am neither ‘devastated’, ‘heartbroken’ nor ‘uncontrollably furious’ by this news item.

”

➢ Listen online to World At One discussing
next year’s Bowie exhibition

Then came today’s official announcement. When the V&A confirmed that its show will “explore the creative processes of Bowie as a musical innovator and cultural icon”, the BBC’s lunchtime current affairs bulletin, World at One, interviewed a key curator without a single mention that this show doesn’t open until next spring.

Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie,stage costume, Kansai Yamamoto

Ziggy stage costume by the Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto who described Bowie in 1972 as “neither man nor woman”. This outfit goes on show next year. (Photograph by Polkadot.tv)

After three years of negotiation, Geoffrey Marsh, the curator of performance, and Victoria Broackes, curator of theatre, were rightly exultant to have pulled out the Bowie plum. “He has had so much influence in other areas — film, theatre, fashion, design. In fact, he impacts on all departments of the V&A,” Marsh said, heading off recent criticism that pop-star memorabilia was rather a lightweight subject to justify its own claim to be “the world’s greatest museum of art and design”.

Most of the 300 objects going on show were collected by Bowie over his lifetime: handwritten lyrics, costumes, posters, instruments, stuff he regarded as important records of his career. Marsh says: “It is an extraordinary collection and there are very few performers who have hung on to their collections. In all areas of Bowie’s creativity, he is still having an impact today.”

Potential exhibits shown off at today’s press launch included a model of the set for the Diamond Dogs tour, the spangly catsuit designed by Freddi Burretti for Bowie’s 1972 performance of Starman on Top Of The Pops, Natasha Korniloff’s Pierrot costume from the 1980 video for Ashes to Ashes, and Alexander McQueen’s Union Jack coat created for the cover of Earthling in 1997.

➢ Showtime at the V&A — from The Guardian’s coverage, Sep 5:

No one from the V&A has sat down face to face with Bowie and, given he does not fly, it would be a surprise to everyone if he even made it along.

David Bowie, portrait, retrospective,  exhibition, Victoria & Albert Museum

Self portrait in pose also adopted for the album cover of “Heroes” 1978. © The David Bowie Archive 2012. Image © V&A Images

“I’m sorry to say I’ve never met him,” said co-curator Victoria Broackes. “Of course I’d love to and I really hope he likes it but in a way, because the V&A always takes editorial control of what it produces, it is better that we haven’t met him.”

Geoffrey Marsh said there were piles of books on Bowie – “I’m sure there will be many more university doctorates” – but this is the first significant exhibition and he promised it would be “groundbreaking” and hopefully achieve the almost impossible task of appealing to both diehard fans and an audience too young to really know how much of an influence Bowie was and still is.

That present tense is important and the V&A has called its show David Bowie is. “It underpins a key tenet of the exhibition,” said Broackes. “David Bowie’s impact today.”

It will examine what has influenced him – German expressionism, music hall, Theatre of Cruelty, French chanson, surrealism, Brechtian theatre, avant-garde mime, musicals and Japanese kabuki to name a few – and the countless artists he in turn has influenced… / Continued at Guardian Online

RAPACIOUS V&A PRICING EXPLOITS AN EAGER PUBLIC

➢ Enigmatically titled David Bowie is, the exhibition runs March 23–July 28, 2013, at the V&A, London SW7 2RL. Book online, in person at the museum, or by phone +44 (0)20 7907 7073 where you will spend a lifetime on hold. Top ticket price is an outrageous £15. By booking online you avoid being blackmailed into making an additional donation to the museum, though the V&A has the cheek to add a “handling charge” to all purchases! (Update: Ticketing has subsequently been farmed out to a theatre agency which has upped the price to £15.80 to include its own “booking fee”!)

How dare they, with Gucci sponsoring the exhibition? Gucci could readily pick up the whole bill for the show, and the V&A’s exploitative tactics let the institution down badly. Brace yourselves for a catalogue priced in similar “We saw you coming” mode (a catalogue for the last major show, British Design, cost £40). This is an ugly and accelerating trend among the capital’s cultural institutions.

Is Bowie alive or dead?

➢ Definitely alive — but busy on the school run, says The Times’s chief rock critic, Sep 5:

Ever since 2006, when he last performed live, rumours have circulated that David Bowie is at death’s door. What has he been doing? Taking his 12-year-old daughter to and from school in New York, according to his publicist. Having been too busy as an epoch-defining rock star to be a hands-on father to his son Zowie (now the film-maker Duncan Jones), Bowie is now helping out with his daughter’s homework. He is living through a period of normalcy that his early fame denied him. The state of his heath is unknown… / Continued at Times Online

David Bowie, Starman, 1972, Top of the Pops,V&A , exhbition, tipping point, BBC

The moment the earth tilted July 6, 1972: During Starman on Top of the Pops, David Bowie drapes his arm around the shoulder of Mick Ronson and a new generation of pop is triggered. The spangly 26-inch waist catsuit by Freddi Burretti will be on show at the V&A retrospective in 2013. Videograb © BBC

1970 ➤ Where to draw a line between glitter and glam:
naff blokes in Bacofoil versus starmen with pretensions
— analysis by Shapersofthe80s

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➤ 40 years of Ziggy + another feast of Bowie

Ziggy Stardust, Spiders from Mars, David Bowie, Top of the Pops,✱ Who needs reminding it’s 40 years since “I picked on you-oo-oo”? June 6 1972 saw the release of one of the most influential albums ever recorded — David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars

➢ Bowie evening on BBC4, Friday June 22

9:00 BST David Bowie and The Story of Ziggy Stardust — exhilaratingly observant new TV doc narrated by Jarvis Cocker, 2012, directed by James Hale and exec-produced by Paul Bullock who brought us the brilliant Prince, A Purple Reign last year. Tight, total and definitive (in everything but an Angie contribution), it has contemporary rivals queueing to heap on the respect while nailing the genius with several gasp-out-loud revelations (you will sit up when Mike Garson hits the piano!). Quote of the era: “I can’t stand the premise of going on in jeans and being real.” A landmark. Repeated June 23, 25 and on iPlayer

10:00 The Genius of David Bowie — energised compilation of best archive performances, 2012, with breathtaking mature renderings of Heroes, Ashes and Fashion, plus magnificent Lou Reed and Iggy Pop as guests among others you’d rather ignore. Also June 23, 25

11:00 Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars — D A Pennebaker’s plodding, murky and utterly amateur film might as well have been bootlegged going by its appalling camerawork, shoddy editing, fudge sound (relieved only by its backstage footage revealing Bowie as the angst-ridden artiste). It was shot live at Hammersmith Odeon in 1973, the night Ziggy made his last stand even with Mick Ronson at peak power. “The first we knew we were unemployed was onstage,” the drummer Woody admitted at the Ziggy plaque unveiling in March. Historical curio worth a first watch just so you can feel the heat of real fan worship. If only the evident genius of Bowie himself could have been more watchably captured! But luckily I saw the whole wowie spectacle from Row C and the Standard was the first paper to break the news next morning. (This was the world pre-Twitter, remember.)

12:30 David Bowie at the BBC — live concert at the Radio Theatre, 2000, brilliant mix of classic songs (Fame, Man Who Sold The World, Always Crashing, Wild is the Wind) plus Gail Ann Dorsey on bass guitar. Also June 23, 25

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Where to draw a line between glitter and glam
— at Shapersofthe80s

If David Jones hadn’t become Bowie — at Shapersofthe80s

Behind Bowie’s “lost” Jean Genie video — at Shapersofthe80s

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Birth of Glam , Gary Kemp , Marc Bolan,Radio 2, documentary, glitter✱ TONIGHT — Another brilliant radio doc on The Birth of Glam presented by Gary Kemp goes out June 13 at 10pm BST on Radio 2 … Two years ago under its original title The Glory of Glam it prompted a major assessment of the difference between glitter and glam here at Shapersofthe80s. At that time we said “If this documentary doesn’t win a Sony radio award, there’s no justice.”

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