|Ziggy Stardust (re-imaged)|
"While I share many of Burroughs' attitudes and literary inclinations, I'm less certain why I feel a commonality with Bowie. Maybe because of his performance in "The Man Who Fell To Earth"; I feel an instinctual rapport with "aliens" of all sorts. It may be that Bowie is the closest thing to a genuine extraterrestrial that I'm likely to meet in this lifetime."
- Mac Tonnies via a 2006 Posthuman Blues post
"I heard telephones, opera house, favorite melodies
I saw boys, toys electric irons and T.V.'s
My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare
I had to cram so many things to store everything in there
And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people
And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people
I never thought I'd need so many people"
- Lyrics from "Five Years" - released w/ The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, 1972, David Bowie
It was no secret that Mac was a fan of David Bowie (although not necessarily as Ziggy Stardust), and that "The Man Who Fell to Earth" - both the film and the original Walter Tevus novel - made a lasting impression on him. I once posted a clip of the movie on this blog, and another post featuring a fave Bowie tune of Mac's (and mine): Ashes to Ashes (1980). Both videos were swallowed by trolls, however, and the posts removed.
One could argue that the extreme memes planted by David Bowie in the early 1970s - in the persona of Ziggy Stardust, the gender-bending alien rock god with the mismatched set of eyes - didn't merely predict the eventual popularity of UFOs, extraterrestrial life, Mars, and science fiction, but spawned it. Seriously. I could say "you had to be there" but, this isn't actually true. Case in point, Mac wasn't even born until several years after Ziggy first took the stage - and, by 1975 - Bowie had already morphed into the Thin White Duke. It's significant though that while Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, he entered the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame (founded in Kansas City, no less) in 2013, along with J. R. R. Tolkien and H. R. Giger. And, judging by the full list of sci-fi luminaries, Bowie appears to be the only rock musician inducted.
As for the gender-bending... well, I'm not saying that Ziggy spawned the eventual societal acceptance of same-sex marriages, but I'm betting he inspired quite a few boys (and girls) to question which team they were, in fact, really playing for. (And, judging by the pretty thing in the video featured at the end of the post... well, yes, we see.)
Then again, maybe it's just that sort of synchronicity in which a series of oddly-related phenomena tend to arise at the same time, but, I'll let historians work that one out. My goal was to remember Mac on the 5th anniversary of his passing, which is, in fact, today...