Wednesday, 9 January 2013

"Scream Like A Baby" (Letter to David)

It isn’t becoming for a man approaching sixty to be writing a letter of love to a pop star. And yet, here I am doing precisely that.

Blimey mate, you sure know how to keep a secret don’t you?

A new single and a new album?

The rule book has again been thrown away. Normal conventions dictate you promote the song before releasing it. You don’t just politely raise two fingers to the music moguls then do precisely what you always have, carve your destiny whilst manipulating the myth just a tad more.

Forgive my indulgence and please excuse me if I at times become sentimental but your music has touched me at various times of my life. It has made me feel that I am not the only outsider. That there is a man, seven years older than me who comes from a very similar background; a man who’s accent, unlike that of the band who showed us all what pop music could achieve, is just like my own.

“Love You Till Tuesday” was the first song I heard. I remember the music press likening it to Cat Stevens. I couldn’t relate to that point of view. It was more quirky than “I Love My Dog” or “Matthew and Son.”

I didn’t have enough pocket money back then to be able to buy the first album, “David Bowie” and quite why you called the next by the same name baffled me then. “Letter to Hermione” (I had never seen let alone heard that name until then) “Unwashed and Slightly Dazed "and the magnificent “The Cygnet Committee” simply blew me away. There was I in ’69, touting my beloved albums, “Abbey Road,” “In The Court of The Crimson King,” “Led Zeppelin 2,” “Touch” and “David Bowie” under my arm.

 Songs of madness, of loneliness and isolation followed. The incredible “Hunky Dory” with the tortured “Bewlay Brothers” and all this before Ziggy. I wasn’t at first that impressed by Ziggy but the more I listened the more I liked it especially Rock 'n Roll Suicide

You are seventeen and the world seems a strange and alien place.
The Beatles have gone and into that void steps, although you knew him previously in another life and as an entirely different character, a bi-sexual alien revolutionary from Mars.
You are seventeen and the world is populated by stiff shirts and stuffed egos.
This place is not for you.
You perceive life as though viewed through a twisted window frame.
There are people out there who offer love and peace and happiness.
But the love they offer is false and manufactured and besides that they have had their day.
Their moment of glory.
Love and peace has been cloaked in a shroud of serious pretension.
Now is the time for fun.
Now is the time for Rock 'n Roll.
Now is the time for David Bowie

"Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth
you pull on your finger then another finger then your cigarette"

Rock 'n Roll Suicide takes as its subject matter all the angst and loneliness that every teenager at some time suffers with. It identifies that feeling of being the only one in a crowded room beautifully well and it understands that awfully desperate emotion and then it offers its puny and pale hand and leads you to a cleaner, clearer place.

This song has a perfect empathy for teenage outsiders and is incredibly encapsulated in a matter of minutes to form a perfect pop classic. Pure pop magic.

I am not going to list each album, each album and every single released but I did collect them all with the fervour of the converted; an acolyte to the forever changing man.

There will always be those who, almost self-indulgently and with a modicum of indescribable intellectual snobbery, declare this album or that period a failure but when you have a brave heart then it is better to try the new even if by some people’s standards you fail.

I have heard the new single and at first didn’t like it. But it is a grower and a song that, although beautifully written sounds almost spontaneous. Why it is almost as though you went into the studio clutching your scribbled lyrics then said to the band “play this in this chord” and off you all went.

The word iconic, like the term genius, is to easily given to all the wrong people. You, however, are an icon. I heard a young DJ being asked if he thought kids today would find you relevant. Man that kid went ballistic. He told the interviewer in mo uncertain terms not to be so condescending, that people of 20 who liked music wanted to know who had influenced the bands and artists they listened; that all of them would have high regard for David Bowie.

Then the interviewer went into the street and asked a random bunch of 20 years what they thought of David Bowie. To emasculate and using and old cockney slang expression ‘the dog’s bollocks’ pretty much sums up their thoughts. Why? Because not only have you brought such pleasure to so many but your influence can still be felt to this day but, and more importantly, that you are the personification of change which in itself represents the ideals of youth.

Thanks for all the years you have invested such joy into my life. It is great to see you back and doing things your way as ever. 
Sadly, blogger will not allow me to upload the artwork to "The Next Day." I only have to wait until March to hear it which is just in time for my birthday.

all words and art are copyright © of Russell 'C.J' Duffy.To view my books on Amazon/Kindle go here: -- For another side of CJ go here: sOMeThiNg For tHE wEeKeND, SiR?


Perfect Virgo said...

I wonder if these artists mould and shape us or whether we are naturally attracted because we share an affinity with them. I think mostly the latter, but once the bond is formed it's for life.

Another exciting aspect is how new artists draw us in with refreshing twists on older themes.

By the way, there is currently a glitch in Blogger with uploading images. The workaround is to switch to HTML view when composing. The uploader works from there.

Russell Duffy said...

PV>>>I agree with you. I think I was first attracted to David due to his accent but then, as it became more obvious, his ability to write as an outsider.
Without wishing to appear rude to you, and if I am then forgive me, but you were an outsider during your days at the bank. There is something 'other' about you.
Thanks for the tip re: blogger!

Russell Duffy said...

PS. Re: newer artists. Again you are right. Listening to many of the acts and albums you have kindly sent me they do precisely that. I like the fact they do. It shows they have roots.

Russell Duffy said...

PPS. Being an outsider is of course meant as a compliment and not an insult. I wouldn't want to lose another friend over a misunderstanding of meaning.

Perfect Virgo said...

Yep, I'm an outsider, a loner and intensely happy with my own company. I always have been so no offence taken at all.

I enjoy detecting a band's influences in their sound. If you have to rummage deeply, it shows subtlety. Music Man 2 went in the mail a couple of days ago and there are some good things on him, I think.

I expect you read the bad news for Wilko Johnson today. The same diagnosis as Dennis Potter. Horrible.

Russell Duffy said...

PV>>>No, I hadn't heard the news about old Wilko Johnson. Terminal cancer. Awful Maybe it is as we grow older but so many of the so called heroes of our generation are dying or dead. Very sad to hear that news.

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