Two years ago today we heard the news: Ziggy Stardust had left the planet. This time he wasn’t coming back
A crowded Dublin beach … it was Dollymount … I am 14 years old … lying down breathless for a moment after an hour of frenetic football, gangly legs still stinging from the hard plastic Mayco football.
The sun is reddening my belly and my hand-me-down royal blue nylon swimming togs are almost too hot to touch. A transistor radio nearby and a song comes on, something about a star man waiting in the sky. Tinny and light above the summer noise but it still sounds just great. Who is that?
Top of the Pops days later … what is this? This unbelievably skinny man/woman but with a strong, man’s voice and movements in some kind of blue, gold and red spangly spacesuit thing, playing a big blue acoustic guitar … God, his band are all so skinny too, but it’s him you have to look at … or he’s the one looking at me, smirking right through adolescent, untried me with those bold, challenging eyes … so confident and far out. Timeless, unlike the long-dated Top of the Pops kids dancing desultorily.
I simply can’t look away. Something strange about those eyes, one darker than the other, or something, thick dyed hair all spiky and standing up… oh, my God, is that lipstick, and make-up!!! Thin face framing subversive grin through sinister tombstone teeth. Leading this spangly guitar-driven wah wah, wah wah wonderful song. A star man.
Over 40 years ago. And now this star man who fell to earth has been reclaimed by the cosmos. Ashes to ashes .…