The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

I think I saw you in an ice cream parlor

Drinking milk shakes cold and long

Rejuvenated after my day-long break, the subdued drums at the beginning of Five Years are a welcome change. They convince me to take it easy, and try for distance. It’s a warmer night, and I am thankful that my procrastination prevented me from getting out until 9:30pm. What shameful activity was I engaging in which kept me home so long? Catching up on season two of Girls, which is regaining its swing but lacks something from the first season. I digress.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars is perhaps Bowie’s most cohesive album. There are times when it gets damn close to being my favourite, until I wake up to myself. Hunky Dory is my BFF. We’ve shared so much together. And even if Ziggy and I have a lot in common – if our conversations flow more effortlessly – it will never occupy that same space in my heart.

That said, while I would take a hatchet to a couple of tracks on Hunky Dory, I couldn’t cut anything from this album. Okay, if pressed, it would be Soul Love – but it’s still a fucking good song. Starman is both musically and conceptually infectious, with lyrics like “he’d like to come and meet us, but he thinks he’d blow our minds” evoking images of a friendly extra-terrestrial, concerned more about the well-being of those he might come into contact with than his own inter-planetary social life.

Lady Stardust is pure gold, with a chorus that comes from nowhere, entices you into a sense of security, and then throws a rogue minor chord in your direction in case you weren’t paying attention. Hang Onto Yourself could almost be a Meatloaf track. Ziggy Stardust follows the incredible tale of a rock and roll star who used to be about the music, man. It seems a composite character of every rock and roll documentary I’ve ever seen – “making love with his ego. Ziggy sucked up into his mind. Like a leper messiah. When the kids had killed the man I had to break up the band.”

As I listen to Suffragette City I chortle – I am reminded of my very first Bowie inside joke.

Rock’n’Roll Suicide is a contender for one of the greatest songs ever written. I could listen to it eternally and not get sick of it. It occurs to me that it is impossible to provide the analysis that this album deserves while listening to one album per day. I opt not to try – and instead just experience it.

It is the run that Hunky Dory should have been, were it not for the unrealistic expectations I placed on it. I decide to push a little further, barely noticing my feet. I stomp out 9.5kms by the time the bonus tracks are over. It takes a little longer than last time, but I’m close to my 10k aim. It is late when I got home, and I wonder how I will get to sleep with my temperature so high. I take a cold shower, and embrace the sleeplessness to fix some errors in my previous post, taking solace in the fact that at least I wasn’t an in-uniform flight attendant waiting beside a broken-down bus.



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