The aged, not-so-thin white duke

One cold night in 1974, my mother and I made a point of watching the Dick Cavett show.  I watched because I was a borderline obsessive fan of the guest, David Bowie.  Mom watched because she was up late and wanted to try to understand the guy behind the music that continually blasted from my stereo in the basement of our house.

David+Bowie+BowiiieeeMom had learned to dislike the repetitious blues riff that characterized “Jean Genie,” arguably the signature song of Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album.  But more than anything, she was amused that her mostly-normal teenage boy was drawn to this androgynous British weirdo.  So we settled in and watched.  It was the first extended interview I’d ever seen Bowie do.

To my surprise, Bowie had temporarily ditched rock n roll and had morphed into a coke-addled Philly soul singer, pushing a record he was about to release called Young Americans.   His fidgety, semi-responsive answers to Cavett’s questions were mostly puzzling and not the genius I’d expected.  He was a bit horrifying.  Mom found him utterly laughable.

And I thought:  When I’m in my fifties, I’m gonna march in a parade dressed as that guy.

Clark as Angus

Clark as Angus

Fast forward to October 19, 2013.  If you’re among the thousands of folks watching Atlanta’s most amusing annual parade, you’ll see this reporter in the Little 5 Points Halloween parade.  I’ll be dressed as David Bowie.  To the extent that the readership of this blog intersects with those attending the L5P Halloween festival, this is your heads up to come heckle me.

The hope is that you won’t be able to ID me, because I’ll be among an entire contingent of Bowies marching in the Stomp and Stammer float.  If you don’t know, Stomp and Stammer is the resilient local music magazine published and distributed monthly by Jeff Clark.  While the AJC and Creative Loafing have had issues that threatened their survival, S&S has kept delivering its modest, free monthly with no bankruptcy (to my knowledge) or layoffs (it’s Clark and some freelancers, best I can tell) or any moaning about how the internet has undermined print.  Despite the fact that I’ve never heard of most of the acts described in S&S, I read it every month just because it’s so damned amusing — and relentlessly upbeat and local.

Even when he’s clobbering an artist, Clark finds a bright side:

  • Wesley Cook must rank among the most unappetizing wussboy singer-songwriters I’ve heard in a while, like some diabolical combination of every college town frat bar scruffy-but-cute-dude-with-acoustic-guitar cliché on the planet. Heavy is the guy’s new six-song CD, and if you have a nice 19-year-old niece that’s outgrown the boy bands but finds actual rock ‘n’ roll too icky and unpleasant, here’s her fall semester orientation kit. He’s soooo deep and dreamy…but sensitive and approachable, too!
Whipping it

Whipping it

Another reason to love Stomp and Stammer:  For the past six years or so, Clark has assembled a float of his friends and other hangers-on to participate in the parade, more-or-less identically dressed.  First, it was the Ramones.  One year, it was Devo.  Another year, it was Angus Young, the shorts-and-tie wearing guitarist for AC/DC.

This year, Clark put out a call for a team of Bowies.

Bowie had many personae.  It would make sense, of course, for me to dress as the elderly 66-year old Bowie, but that wouldn’t be any fun.  The Labyrinth Bowie, I suspect will be a popular choice.  I’ll be a classic red-mullet glam Bowie — doughy and jowly, of course, which I’m carefully building into the costume for comic effect.M_DavidBowie_071613

Nearly forty years since that Dick Cavett interview, and I still listen to Bowie.  (I’m married to a woman who maintains that he actually produced relevant music since his Scary Monsters record in 1980.  She too will march Saturday.)  Mom still makes fun of Bowie — and who can blame her?  It’s easy to do.

See you Saturday.  Unless it’s raining, then forget it.  I’m too old for that shit.

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About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

6 thoughts on “The aged, not-so-thin white duke

  1. M

    The 90s were the dark days of Bowie’s career, with misguided ventures into electronica and jungle with “Outside” and “Earthling.” He settled in more comfortably with himself by the time he got to “Heathen” in 2002, which remains one of my favorite Bowie albums. I also enjoy “The Next Day.”

    Reply
  2. Scott Hedeen, a man who owns EVERY Bowie LP on vinyl! true!

    Doug. you are truly “The Man Who Sold The World”. Too bad you only got 50 cents for it. Come try my Clash “London Calling” Tribute ales at the brewery here soon. Rudderless, free of commentary from people who base their lives on “getting off early from work”, I’ve become Col. Kurtz in my own personal Heart of Darkness. OR… i’m just glad to not worry about my Bowie costume. Every day, i’m less THIN white duke and more and more Major Tom. I read LAF all the time, thanks for keeping me in the loop! Now, go break a story!

    Reply
    1. live apt fire Post author

      1. YOu, Hedeen, are so cool. The coolest ever.
      2. When you gonna cook up a fruity, British Bowie-inspired pale ale and call it Hunky Dory?
      3. You have Tin Machine on vinyl? Seriously? All I can say is, wow.

      Reply
      1. Scott Hedeen

        1. I was the coolest ever, but then I got into news
        2. I do have a knock off of our Zeke pale ale called “Zekey Stardust”.
        3. I had the first Tin Machine lp. True! Featuring none other than Soupy Sales’ boys (aka according to Iggy, the “Dum Dum Boys”) Hunt and Tony. I actually had a chance to see Tin Machine live back in the day! Did see Bowie on Glass Spider/ Let’s Dance tour.
        4. Come visit the brewery. We are serving our “We’re Desperate: An Ale for X” tomorrow. Yes! That X!

        Reply
  3. Isaak Boleslav

    I stumbled upon this oddly by just searching for a photo to show my mother.
    Interesting read and you know, no matter what music styles bowie dabbled in, i liked at least 1 song per album, and he is and always was artistically fascinating.
    I think that is one thing we can always credit him for, his face alone aged or not, inspires people artistically who do not care for his music and his music inspires people who never understood the looks, and I really Admire that about people and bowie.
    and to hear you say “no cares given i’m glam bowie at any age”, is pretty damn awesome! please do Share pictures.If this happened already, I hope you had a lot of fun!But do wish to know how the Bowie army went!
    It is very nice to stumble upon you LAF!

    Reply

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