When You’re a Boy

The low spark of high heeled boys. My red platforms, 1972.
The low spark of high heeled boys. My red platforms.

I miss Joan. I was in Chicago today and saw the Bowie Is  show. My life flashed before me in the form of red grease paint over shaved eyebrows. If Miss Rivers was still doing Fashion Police I’m sure she’d feature me on “Who Wore it Best?” Or at the very least “Bitch Stole My Look.”

I loved seeing the costumes up close, especially the shoes. One pair of platforms were very similar to ones I’d had,  4″ high navy and white with pierced pinpoints. They resembled spectator pumps.

I liked his plain black flamenco boots. They had not been restored and you could see flaked leather around the bottoms. It reminded my of how hard platforms were to maintain. They were always scuffed up from being kicked in bars. Or in my case, being drug through gutters.

Life is a pop of the cherry. At the St. Regis trying to crash Mick's Birthday, July 1972.
Life is a pop of the cherry. At the St. Regis trying to crash Mick’s Birthday, July 1972.

There were a few too many handwritten notes and lyric sketches for my taste in the exhibit, things you can see in a book and don’t need to visit a museum for. But the audio grounded the whole thing.

I’m used to typical museum technology of typing “21” into the headset when you were at exhibit 21. “Bowie Is” had wifi earphones. You’d be listening to Changes then take a few steps and you’d hear Heroes.  Back and forth, the music kept up with you.

The song that surprised me most was Boys Keep Swinging. I had forgotten about it but have always loved it. And Bowie nailed the drag in the video, so disaffected with a hint of manliness.

Of the many things I walked away with from the museum, including Terryworld from the gift shop, I kept thinking of the short BBC clip when he was 17. He was group spokesman leading a rebellion of the long hairs. Apparently things had gotten so bad for these boys they’d even been referred to as “darling.”  Davey Jones’ hubris was impressive. Such conviction for something so silly.

Keith Richards always said that Bowie was just posing. Which I thought too except that his music has always affected me. Therein lies the rub.

 

Bowie Is

B ‘R

Next: Life, Afterlife and Lowlife
Previous: Life of Outrage, Life of Beauty
The complete saga, From the Beginning

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