Tattoo by SimGrysn@aol.com
49p FROM WOOLWORTHS!
Many David Bowie fans state seeing the man do "Starman" on Top Of The Pops as their starting point in what became a lifelong addiction. I was no different.
Thursday night at 7.30 on BBC1 was the highlight of the week. Soon to be added was going into town on Saturday morning to blow my 50p spending money on a single 45, well they were actually 49p back in '72, but let's not get all Carol Vorderman-ish!
I walked up to the record counter in Woolies, I remember it so clearly, and asked the woman behind it for a record called "Starman" by some bloke who was on TOTP the other night. It was the first record I ever bought, I was three weeks away from being a teenager.
When my 13th birthday arrived I got some cash, I can't remember how much but it wasn't enough to buy something I'd seen wrote on the Starman single... taken from the RCA album "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars."
A couple of months later "John, I'm Only Dancing" was released and I didn't buy that either, but that's because I'd never bloody heard of it!!!!
Another couple of months go by and "The Jean Genie" was out. Oh yes. That was it. I was straight into town to purchase what I thought was the follow-up single to "Starman" and as soon as I got back I was bragging to some kids in the street that I now had BOTH David Bowie singles!
My world crumbled when one smart arse quipped: "What about John, I'm Only Dancing?" I can still picture his face... and no doubt he can picture mine because I was mortified. After he'd explained I instantly rushed to the corner shop where they had a box on the counter full of ex-jukebox singles, minus the middle of course, for 20p. It wasn't in there and even if it had been I hadn't got the 20p 'cos I'd just bought "The Jean Genie".
You could spend ages fixing those black plastic insert middles into place so the record would play and yes, I tried playing some records without one to be greeted by the sound of the needle crunching along on the turntable.
I accused this kid from the other end of our street of being a liar... "a lying bastard" I think my exact words were! Ha haaaaarggghhhhh Ha, then it dawned on me. Yes of course, it was a prank, that was it, oh tee hee what a joke it was to play, how funny it must have been watching me run off in search of a non-existant record. Then all his mates backed him up and I stood there hopeless like a total and utter wanker.
What on earth had happened, why and how could I have possibly missed it being released. Had I been in a coma or something? I think it was simply that I wasn't paying enough attention to the world of pop music. It freaked me out good and proper.
Not only didn't I have the Ziggy album but now the "John" single was missing from my otherwise up to date collection of groovy hit singles as well.
Strange as it may seem now, not having Ziggy didn't bother me too much because nobody else I knew had it. Through poverty not choice I might add. Singles were the thing. Buying albums came a year later when I did get enough birthday money.
The terrible experience of missing the release of "John, I'm Only Dancing" launched my obsession with pop music and Bowie in particular. I read every music mag I could lay my hands on, borrowed Jackie from the girls in my class, started watching Lift Off With Ayshea, listening to the new chart Tuesday lunchtime with a few others gathered round Steven Ridge's pocket radio, listening to it again on Sunday evenings after bathtime and listening to Radio One all day on the odd occasions I wagged it from school.
I eventually found "John" hiding in another shops ex-jukebox singles box near Tesco a few weeks later. I didn't miss another Bowie single release until "TVC15" in 1976. By that time I was working and spending my cash on albums, women and booze. Singles weren't that important anymore, but that's another story!
6th February 2003.
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