For anyone who thinks MY articles get a little ridiculous:
I was beginning to get mildly hysterical. I could tell by the way the telephone receiver was crumpling in my hand as I squeezed it. The record company was still insisting that an interview with Ziggy Stardust was impossible due to the fact that he was a figment of Bowie’s imagination.
I’d heard that one before and the adrenaline rushed to my brain, turning me into Superfactfinder Reporter. I pursued the matter until the record company executive finally said, somewhat sarcastically I felt: “Stick your head out of the window, hang on to yourself, and call for Starman, he’s Ziggy’s public relations officer.” Then he hung up.
The window was close at hand, there was no one looking and my training forced me to tackle every angle. I made my request into a loud voice looking at a small cumulus cloud directly above. I got no immediate reaction apart from a strange animal cry from a window cleaner to my left who, for some reason, fell off his ladder.
As I sat back and frowned at the typewriter with a blank piece of paper in it, the room began to vibrate causing every typewriter in the building to type “Boogie, Boogie.” A voice with a lisping edge to it whizzed round my head saying: “Kelsey Park, Beckenham, Kent, three o’clock this afternoon. Ziggy will see you.”
Grabbing a notebook and a sharpened pencil, I rushed out to a deserted Fleet Street. Ashen faced and wide eyed with fear, filled glasses in hand, journalists peered at the sky from behind the windows of that famous street’s famous hostelries.
Beckenham is a quiet little town in Kent, now part of London, which developers, speculators, and the council are working day and night turning into a concrete jungle. In the midst of it is an oasis called Kelsey Park which has trees, grass, a brook, waterfall and a large pond and ducks.
At 3pm, exactly the large saucer-shaped flying machine appeared, hovering six inches above the ground, A hatch opened and a small rotund gentleman with a bald head, floating on what appeared to be a miniature surf board, floated in my direction.
Hand extended he said in a voice that sounded as if it was coming from two 12-inch speakers placed either side of me: “Cosmic greetings, Earthling. I bid you welcome. I hope I don’t blow your mind…” At that I sank to the grass, humming “Metal Guru” and whining “David Cassidy, David Cassidy.”
I came round on a chaise lounge. The noise was incredible. It looked like a trendy record company office with flashing lights. Farthest away from me in the large circular room, Starman shouted instructions into several microphones in a language I didn’t understand and leapt about pressing buttons on a large control board like Keith Emerson with a bladder problem.
All around people were having meetings. At four different points in the room, people vaguely resembling human beings were playing records at full volume and making notes. At another point a humanoid monitoring John Peel’s radio show had just dropped off to sleep again, snoring in time to the sound of 2,000 Zulus dancing in wellington boots.
At a polite cough I whirled around to find a number of people sitting around a glass table with a wall containing a painting of the galaxy. It wasn’t until the earth vanished from the left hand side of the window that I realized it was the galaxy and the “painting” was a glass window.
I felt as if it was an interrogation committee. My eyes fastened onto a tall, auburn chick in a long evening dress who glared somewhat contemptuously at everyone in the room but especially, it seemed, at me.
“Lady Stardust” said a voice which whizzed round me at shoulder level. Starman had returned.
I intimated that I was delighted to meet her but received a rebuff via a snort. “I’m the real star, you know. These so-called music fans will idolize anyone with a pretty face and tight trousers. The Venusian Melody Soundexpress found great depth and meaning in my interpretation of his songs. Their resident psychoanalist album reviewer gave me a four earths review.”
I smiled weakly and my eyes travelled along in the figures slumped in various positions round the table. There was a purple-haired guy with the madness in his eyes that made me automatically assume he was a drummer. “That’s right,” the voice of Starman said, once again. “That’s Gilly the Spider’s drummer.”
I intimated to him also I was pleased to meet him. He continued to stare at me, wild eyed, picking out the theme from “A Clockwork Orange” on a stylophone with his left hand and his nose with a Bowie knife with his right.
I quickly moved on to the tall, hairy fellow next to him “You’re Weird,” I said. Then hurriedly added that I meant no offence. “I mean Weird, the bass player with the Spiders.”
He gave me a huge grin and stared at me. He continued to do this for a few minutes until it became embarrassing.
Slumped in a corner was Ziggy, a shadow of his former self. His orange hair had turned white, he had bags under his eyes and looked even skinnier than David Bowie.
“They killed me with love, man,” he kept saying. “Nervous disorder,” whispered Starman. “He thinks he’s being interviewed on the Old Grey Whistle Test. He can only give banal answers and you have to ask banal questions.”
I started to speak but he continued: “When it dawned on me that we had only five years before the whole world killed itself, I decided to make the most of it. After all I was the greatest Rock-N-Roll star of them all… And the prettiest.
“I really did love my fans. My downfall was when I took it too literally and tried to love all the chicks physically. I may never be the same again.”
He struggled to sit up again. “But I’m on the mend. There helping me here, man. I’ll be back. I’ll be back.”
“Time to go,” Earthling,”[pic] said Starman shaking his head sympathetically at Ziggy who was now talking about his musical roots and plans for the future. As he spoke, I felt the mind blowing element in his voice overtaking me and I sank slowly to the ground again.
It was quite an experience interviewing Ziggy, almost as frightening as having a window cleaner with a broken arm chasing you.
Disc, September 23, 1972
PS: Anyone able to fill out the the answers to the questionnaire?