By The Light Of The Silvery Moon

Or – Lessons for Young Lovers


They walk together hand in hand by the pale light of a silvery moon.

He had anxiously waited and waited until almost the last dance before plucking up enough courage to ask her.  The band played a slow number and he held her hands; she moved in closer and they were soon pressed together.  He could feel the softness of her breasts through his shirt. He was fifteen, she a year older. The music stopped and before the lights went up in the youth club hall they had drifted outside and were heading for the small park.

The trees are silent sentries guarding the pathway.  The moon struggles to free itself from a hazy shawl of clouds. She half trots ahead and pulls him to her, her back against a large tree trunk. She stares intensely into his eyes and leans her face in sideways.  They kiss, gently at first but then harder, he leans against her and she takes his hand and places it on her chest.

He is terrified.

“It’s okay” she whispers, “You can put your hand in under my blouse.”

He slips his hand between two buttons and tentatively touches her. He had seen pictures of breasts behind the bike shed but never touched one before. She was the first girl he had really kissed.  “Here, let me help you” as she undoes her blouse and pulls the straps of her tiny bra down. His hand slides over her body, feeling the soft yet firm flesh. They kiss again, harder this time – her lips grinding in to his.  She reaches down and touches him through his jeans.

Shock.  The thrill and the shock of it.  Nobody had ever touched him there before.  But he is scared.  Scared of touching her; but wanting to all the same.  Scared of what they might do next.  So scared and yet so excited.  Suddenly he realises he should be getting back home. “Ten O’Clock” his mother had said “and not a minute later.”  He glances at his wristwatch.  Ten to.

“I have to go now,” he stumbles an apology. “I have to be in by ten.”

And he runs like the wind all the way home, elated and relieved.  He had forgotten to ask her out again.  All he knows is her name – Janet.  But he had held her tiny breasts in his bare hands.  He had felt her breathing, he had kissed, really kissed a girl and she had touched him there.

But the next time he sees her at youth club, he avoids her eyes.  He slouches off, hands deep in his pockets, too scared to dare to be alone with her again.




They giggle as they creep into their father’s study.  Mum and Dad are out, and the babysitter is in the lounge watching TV and eating the cake and lemonade they left her.   In the dark and by the faint light of a silvery moon they sit side by side in Daddy’s office chair.  Megan reaches over and switches the computer on.  She knows the icon for the internet because her father had let her do some research for a project at school.  Megan is thirteen and her sister eleven and just started at the big school.  And in the playground joshing and giggling she had heard an older girl talk about sex.  “Oh yeah, sex” a couple of the others nodded in agreement.  But really none of them knew much at all, even her big sister was quite vague on the details.  Somehow the sex-education lessons a year earlier had all seemed a touch remote; the line drawings just a bit too complicated, the Latin names almost incomprehensible.

The screen lights up, and Megan turns to her sister Rebecca. “What shall I type in?”

“I dunno.  ‘Sex’ I suppose.”  They click on the first website that appears.  And suddenly the screen is full of naked grown-ups, with big breasts and men with huge ‘you-know-whats’.  “Oh my God, switch it off quick.”  Rebecca gasps out loud, hands in front of her disbelieving eyes. But somehow they are transfixed, unable to move as the images flicker on the screen and only after a few minutes does Megan break the silence and switch off the computer.

“What’s all this noise?” asks 17 year old Julie, the babysitter, switching on the light as the girls shriek in horror.  The screen has already thankfully gone blank. “Come on you two rascals, I thought you had gone to bed.”

“We did, but I forgot something” Megan lies.

“What in here? In your Dad’s study?”  queries Julie. “Come on, up to bed the pair of you.  If your Mum and Dad come home early we’ll all get into trouble.”

Later in their bedroom Megan calls out.  “Rebecca. Are you awake?”

“Of course I am Megan.  How can I sleep after seeing all that stuff.  How disgusting. I mean, it’s just revolting, isn’t it?”

“Well, I suppose so – but then all grown-ups must be doing that, even Mummy and Daddy.  And at least you know what Sex means now Becky.”

“Well, I don’t want to ever grow up, if I have to do that.” Indignantly from Rebecca.

“No….I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?” Megan replies.

As the moon shines its silvery light through the gap in their curtains, Megan sighs contentedly and turns over. “Night-night Becky”

“Night-night Megan.”




By the light of a silvery moon Sir Cheriton Cholmondley-Brown creeps quietly forward, dressed in faded tweed plus-fours and deerstalker hat.  “Scrotum” he mutters, “hand me the shotgun. Did you fill it with pellets as I ordered?”

“Ah yes, Master Cherry – I’se done that orl-ready.”

“Well hand me the blessed thing now.”  Old Scrotum, the wrinkled retainer, passes the blunderbuss to his lord and master as onward they creep down to the trees by the lake.


Meanwhile his wife Felicity, fragrant, fragile and flowerlike, feathery, frothy and flighty as thrupence, is talking to her sixteen year-old daughter Jenny.  “and where is your twin sister Gwenny at this time of night?”

“Really Mummy, you are so old-fashioned.  She is just walking in the park with the Major’s son, Raiph.  It is such a lovely moon-lit night they decided to wander down through the trees by the lake.”

“Oh, I suppose so.” mutters Felicity, her mind wandering back to her student days in Paris; moules et frites, mouton cadet and dark moustachioed men in striped shirts and berets, smoking Sobranie and sweeping her off her feet.  No such action nowadays, of course.  Sir Cheriton is permanently sozzled and about as useful as a chocolate soldier in bed.  Still…she had her memories.  Ah, such sweet memories.


“Look” whispers Sir Cherry “just there in that clearing, something moving.”

“I can’t see nothing not nowhere.”

“Over there, see.  It must be a small deer, I can just see the white tuft of his rear moving around.”

“Oh yes.” Scrotum replies. ”But that be no deer Sir.   That be a human bum a bouncin’.  He be havin it away all right.  A bit of old rumpy-pumpy, oh yes…give it some for me, my son.”

“ fool.” As Sir Cherry whacks him with the wooden stock of the shotgun.  “In my wood?  By God’s tiffin and turban, the filthy buggers, I’ll give ‘em rumpy-pumpy.  How dare they?  If I can’t get it up, I don’t see why anyone else should.”

“Oh let ‘em be master – they’s only ‘aving a bit of fun.  Wish I still could.”

“Shhhh…pass me my hip flask – I need to steady myself as I take aim.”  And swigging down a mixture of un-distilled rum and prune juice he lifts the gun and lets go with both barrels.  But at that very moment Scrotum trips on a branch and the gun twitches high in the air.


“My God, what was that?” cries Raiph, rearing up suddenly.

“Whatever it was, give it to me again Raiphy baby, that was wonderful.”


“Damn…missed the buggers.” Sir Cheriton scowls. Sorely disappointed, he wearily trudges home, Scrotum whistling merrily behind him.


“Been Out Darling?” Felicity greets him.

“Yes, just scaring off a couple of damn…er…foxes – sneaky things, foxes, always doing something they shouldn’t.  But I’ll get the buggers yet.”

“Ah, here’s Gwenny.” Felicity says as her daughter waltzes in, a big smile on her face.  “Had a nice walk with young Raiph”

“Yes, Mummy – we saw lots of pretty flowers and then it suddenly got dark so I came home like a good girl.”

“Ha…I don‘t know what you see in that stupid boy, he hasn’t a clue about anything, you know” Sir Cheriton scoffs a couple of curried quails eggs hoping to clear a slight blockage in his nether regions, and raises a small tankard of gin to his lips “Daft as a brush that boy is.”

“Oh, I don’t know Daddy – I reckon I could teach him a thing or two.” says Gwenny.

“I think you probably already have.” smirks her sister Jenny.



My Record Collection 41


Heathen came out in 2002, and what a great album it was; almost as good as his early 70’s.  But different of course.  It almost seems an older man’s record – and of course Bowie was in his 50’s by now – though still startlingly good-looking.  A slower album, but not fey or poppy.  Of his later records it is my favourite.  Best songs ‘Sunday’, ‘Slip Away’ and ‘Everyone Says Hi’.

A year later came Reality.  Again a very competent if hardly exciting album. Bowie seemed to be slipping into elder statesman of rock mode – he still had the gift of great song-writing, he could still sing, the records were immaculately produced – and yet, they were no longer exciting.  Still – not bad for 35 or so years at the top.  Best songs ‘Bring me the Disco King’ and ‘ The Luckiest Guy’.  Bowie then embarked on a massive tour – really a greatest hits, without actually many Ziggy songs really.  Towards the end of the tour he suffered heart problems and was hospitalised.  He never finished the tour.  A live album came out which I bought, and is very good, even if he does sound a bit restrained, a bit safe.

Then nothing.  Absolutely nothing for years.  Rumours were that he was ill or had aids or had simply stopped writing songs and that was the end of it.  He did appear in a couple of cameo roles and seemed to be concentrating on his art.  But ten years later with absolutely no publicity we were stunned – a new album was released.  In March 2013 The Next Day came out, with the same photo as Heroes on the cover.   The record was a huge hit and yet David did absolutely no interviews or live shows – which simply added to his mystique.  I quite like the record, although it took a while to grow on me – it almost seemed he was trying too hard.  Best songs – the single “Where are we now”, the very poppy “Valentine’s Day” and the last two slower tracks.  Then again silence.

For almost three years not a word from Bowie or his record company.  Then the exciting news that a new album and single were about to be released, followed by the devastating news of his death a day or so later.   And the record, aptly named Blackstar was his parting gift to us.  Another and a final album.  And there is a finality about this record, maybe because of our understanding that it was made just before his death.  It is truly elegiac, with clues dropped like little pieces of confetti all over it.  The centrepiece of the record is ‘Lazarus’ – a song about resurrection and life beginning anew.  The video was truly disturbing with Bowie as ‘button-eyes’ and filmed in dusky black and white.  There are truly few careers in popular music that are really important and long-lasting; I am sure that Bowie will be one of those who are studied and played and enjoyed many years after his passing.  It has been a pleasure to have been let in to his life.

Image result for images of david bowie blackstar

Let It Be – The Film

Sunday 26th August

I have been watching the Beatles films on DVD; not really  very exciting bucket list but there you go.  And the last one, which like the album, came out posthumously.  The film was made in 1969 but by the time it was released they had acrimoniously split; the film and the album were contractual obligations – and they made a bit of money too of course.  Paul, who saw himself after Brian died, as the leader of the band, wanted them to rehearse new songs for a live performance.  The idea was that it would all be filmed and shown in cinemas all over the world.  Well, the live performance ended up being a short gig on the roof of the Saville Row Apple headquarters, before being halted by the Police. Incidentally my office at the time was just a few streets away – but I had no idea it was happening and missed the whole thing.

The rehearsals seem pretty unhappy, and the first two thirds of the film are pretty dire, squabbling, and half-finished scraps of songs.  But the concert was brilliant.  I watched it three times and you suddenly realise that actually they could have blown everyone away a a live group, even though they finished touring two years earlier in America.

The tapes of the songs were handed to Phil Spector by John, much to Paul’s annoyance and the record was actually okay.  Anyway, all in all a quite sad way to end; although that live performance – especially with John’s quip at the end “And I hope we passed the audition” will live on forever

The Beatles in Let It Be (1970)

My Record Collection 40

Wednesday 22nd. August


And in 1993 Bowie returned with a new album Black Tie, White Noise.  His experiment with Tin Machine had been poorly received, although I didn’t think they were so bad really.  The new album was anticipated with some degree of nervousness; had Bowie really returned or was he still in some sort of deluded wilderness?  Well, the record was a jazz album; David had always loved jazz and several earlier tracks were infused with jazzy sounds – but a whole album.  This is one of those records which has actually grown on me; I didn’t really like it at first, often my reaction to jazz – but over the years it has sounded better.  Some quite good songs too – ‘Miracle Goodnight’ and ‘Never let me down and down’ are especially good.

Three years later and Outside landed, and what a landing.  In some ways this is Bowie’s strangest record, a collaboration with Eno, a science fiction detective story made even more complicated by a meandering narrative…but actually an excellent record, the songs are brilliant and seem a mix of Berlin and earlier sounds with modern dance-like drumming.  It is also far too long – at 74 minutes it Is twice the length of his brilliant 70’s records.  It is hard to take in at one go.  As to the songs themselves, they may be among some of the best he has ever recorded.  Certainly a welcome return to form.  ‘Little Spaceboy’ (remixed by Pet Shop Boys) was a hit, I also like ‘The Hearts Filthy Lesson’ and ‘Strangers When We Meet’.  This was a concept album with a concept so impenetrable that it is pointless trying – just enjoy the songs.

In 1997 Bowie released ‘Earthling’; the cover shows him facing away and wearing a beautiful Union Jack coat.  I have never been sure of the significance of this.  The record itself was a fairly modern ‘drum and bass’ dance album – a bit shouty, but some good songs – the very fast drumming I find distracting though.  ‘Little Wonder’ is good, and ‘I’m Afraid of Americans’.   But I have never really liked the album; just one of those things.  I much preferred Hours, which came out in 1999.  This is, surprisingly after all the noisy albums, a quiet reflective gentle album.  Was it an experiment, or a long-held idea, or just a few songs left over here and there and slowed down.  I really don’t care, but it was such a pleasant surprise.  Bowie had always had that fey whimsical side, last really heard on Hunky Dory, and a great melody writer.  One has to wonder how his career might have evolved if Ziggy had never landed from outer Space.  I lov e all the songs, but ‘Thursdays Child’ and ‘Seven’ really stand out.

At this point I am inserting Bowie at the Beeb; a triple album – two discs are from ’68 to ’72 and the last is a live record from late 90’s.   The very early stuff is really interesting.  David had a record out on Deram in early 60s which I never bought; some of these songs may have been on it; ‘London by Tata’, ‘Silly Boy Blue’.  There is lots of stuff from Space Oddity and some from Hunky Dory and Ziggy.  A very nice collection – nice to hear John Peel’s voice too.  The live concert is pretty good too.

Image result for images of bowie



Democracy Can Be The Problem

Monday 20th August

Sometimes indeed Democracy is the problem.  Not the concept of Democracy, but it’s implementation.  The idea indeed that Winner takes all.  Democracy should be about both involving everyone and trying to take account of all differing views in decision making.  But because of the mechanics and the lack of any form of Proportional Representation in electing members of Parliament we never have a Government which represents a majority of votes cast, or even one backed by more than 40% of those who voted.  Governments then declare that they have a mandate for their actions, even when these were never mentioned before the election itself.

However, we also face other problems with Democracy.  Brexit itself has been declared a success of Democracy; but as the complexities of the negotiations unravel more and more people, even many who voted originally to Leave, are questioning the un-Democratic way that that decision is being implemented, with all sides of the debate appropriating for their own arguments a Democratic mandate.

But there is a further problem with Democracy in that now all the major Political parties have given the final (and often the entire) say in electing their Leaders to their members. This has, and will inevitably, result in leaders being chosen who are more radical in their Political views than the general public. Anyone deciding to become a member of a Political party is almost bound to have more Politically extreme views than the general public; Labour party members are more left-wing, and Tory members are more right-wing than the general public.  In fact, of course, most people are not that bothered about Politics at all, or at least until a General Election; and then the majority will vote the way they always or recently have.  Sea changes, and huge landslides are rarer than one would think.  Only two really in my lifetime – one, when Mrs. Thatcher won her second term after the Falklands (and even then, this may have had more to do with the SDP than people voting Tory), and Tony Blair in 1997, after 18 years of the Conservatives.

But now we have a left-wing leader of Labour, who, whatever you think of his policies, would never have been elected before ‘one member one vote’.  The Tory party appears to be shaping up for a Leadership election too, as soon as Brexit (of whatever variety) is finally declared.  Already there are calls for thousands of Leave voters to join the Tory party so that they can vote in a ‘True Brexiteer’ such as Boris or Rees-Moggs.  So, in the name of ‘Democracy’ our Politics will be more divisive than ever.  And whoever wins the next election will again declare a mandate despite in all probability winning about 40% of the vote and possibly having to cobble together a coalition of sorts.  And we call that Democracy.

Running On Empty (A Recurring Dream)

Saturday 18th August

I feel tired, but tired beyond tired.  Nothing seems to register anymore -news, politics – all pass me by in a blur of senseless information.  I feel I am running on empty.  My reserve tanks are empty and I am drifting.  Sometimes I am drifting in space, like Major Tom himself.  Sometimes I am walking, trudging along, stumbling down a road with no direction signs, simply putting one foot wearily in front of the other, my eyes fixed on the never-ending tarmac.  Sometimes I am in a car, though I am no driver – and there is no driver beside me either, but somehow the car rolls on and on.  No engine noise – the car is running on empty too.  I am alone, on a never-ending road.  I am always alone.  I have always been alone; never had a friend I could confide in; I discovered long ago that parents and teachers are not to be told things, not about your feelings, not about anything that really matters..  And sometimes I feel I have been running on empty for ever; maybe other people feel it too – how can you tell; they all seem happy enough – but then, so do I; so what does that tell you?  I wake every morning and feel so old, as if my life has been draining out for days, weeks, months – and this is indeed the last day.  The road stretches on but I feel the car is slowing, running out of fuel too.  And there is an incline ahead, a slight slope and I can feel the car visibly slowing as we crawl slowly up.  Whether the car will actually grind to a halt or will suddenly pick up speed as we crest the hill and the road dips again I am not sure.  I have no control, there is no accelerator pedal this side, and no brake either.  There is no engine noise – we are running on empty, gazing blankly as the countryside drifts slowly by..

And there, just up ahead the road disappears and the grey tarmac rises up into a wall and still the car drifts on, running on empty.  And just before we crash and I discover pain or oblivion – I wake up.  But then I wonder if I were really asleep or awake all the time.

What The Dickens

Tuesday 14th August

A couple of years I set myself the task, though it ended up a joy, of reading the novels of Dickens.  Many years ago I had read Oliver Twist and David Copperfield.  I had seen numerous TV adaptations and, sort of, knew the story of The Old Curiosity Shop and Nicolas Nickleby and maybe a couple of others.  It is a remarkable body of work – though tiny compared to one of his contemporaries – Anthony Trollope who wrote more than fifty novels.  Still.  And these were all hand-written in those days, so revision must have been a nightmare.  We are so lucky today having Word to move and delete and copy several versions – but I am not sure for all that that the quality of writing has improved.  Almost all of these novels were originally published in fortnightly sections, and the books are really long.  You need patience to read them; the plots unwind slowly; there seem a multitude of characters; much seems unnecessary to the story – and yet Dickens, the master puppeteer, pulls the strings and makes it all hang together in the end.

There is also a progression in the books – you can feel him getting better as a writer, defining characters more subtly, relying less on crazy co-incidence – and writing much more satisfying novels.  If anything his best characters however were in his earlier books – Fagin, Quilp, Uriah Heep, Mr. Squeers – stay in the memory forever.

Dickens was really a socialist, he wrote about rich and poor alike, he exposed corruption and cruelty; money is almost always a motivating force in his stories.

My favourites are of course Great Expectations and David Copperfield.  These two are simply two of the greatest books ever written. I am so glad I stuck with it and read all his books.  And although in many ways I enjoyed Trollope more, there is no denying Dicken’s place in English literature

Charles Dickens, whose pioneering shower was known as 'The Demon'

My Record Collection 39

Thursday 9th August


1980 saw Scary Monsters and Super Creeps; a somewhat return to normal, and David’s second number one ‘Ashes to Ashes’, a sort-of sequel to Space Oddity – 11 years on.  It had a brilliant video – Bowie was now producing the schemes for his own very artistic videos.  The age of MTV had arrived and records were increasingly sold as a package of song and videa – David excelled at this.  The album itself is a bit of a curates egg – good in places.  Brilliant singles ‘Ashes’ and ‘Fashion’.  The record was much more conventional sounding – even with some Japanese on one track, but somehow it has never really been a great favourite.

A break of three years when he seemed to appropriate the mantle  of Pop Royalty, along with Elton and Rod and Phil Collins and Queen and Clapton.  A strange time, and even stranger when Punk had set out to destroy this very clique-iness.  He joined Queen for a brilliant single ‘Under Pressure’ and ‘Cat People’ with Giorgio Moroder – a ‘hip’ dance producer.  He re-recorded this for his next album – the superb ‘Let’s Dance’ co-produced with Nile Rogers of disco band Chic.  The album went straight to number one, like it’s predecessor and the next one too.   David was seriously cool now and had a run of number one or two singles.  The title track from this album and ‘China Girl’ (previously written for Iggy Pop) and almost my favourite track ‘Modern Love’.  The album was his most accessible in years – he had regained his cool ‘pop’ schtick.  Almost every song off the record was excellent, his voice hovering like some exotic falsetto bird over driving rhythm tracks. Favourite track is ‘Without You’, a slower number. It almost felt that David could do no wrong…

But the following year’s Tonight, was a disappointment, although like many of his records on re-listening it really isn’t so bad – but this was Bowie, and we expected better.  Or maybe it really is that bad.  Singles ‘Blue Jean’ and ‘Loving The Alien’ are okay – just.  Duet with Tina Turner ‘Tonight’ is pretty awful, and god only knows why he attempted a cover of ‘God Only Knows’.  (maybe he had caught religion – the cover shows him almost as a saint). He said he wanted to make a straight Rock and Roll record, he made a straight down the middle of the road album instead.  Things couldn’t possibly get any worse – could they?

Oh yes, they could. 1987’s Never Let Me Down let us all down, Bowie and all his fans.  This is ordinary beyond belief.  Hard to make out just what he was thinking.  I saw him just after this album – The Glass Spider Tour, not his best show; that was in 1978 just after Low and Heroes.   Oh well.  After this debacle Bowie announced he was joining a band Tin Machine (see T).  Generally poorly received , but compared to this record it was an improvement.  We would have to wait until the mid-nineties for any new solo records.

Image result for photos of Bowie mid eighties



My Record Collection 38

Monday 6th August

BOWIE – BERLIN   In 1976 Bowie moved to Berlin, he stayed in a flat and recorded right next to the Berlin Wall.  He worked with Brian Eno, who had just left Roxy.  They were influenced by the electronic music coming out of Europe – Kraftwerk, Neu and my favourite Tangerine Dream.  Using synthesisers and electric piano and guitars and drum machine they worked on instrumentals.  Bowie wrote words for a few of them but the resulting record LOW is mostly unsung.   It was a huge departure from anything which went before, Bowie was ready to lose his entire fanbase, who were still mourning the death of Ziggy.  But gradually he won almost all of them back and many more too.  The album roars in with ‘Speed of Life’ and the bleak ‘Breaking Glass’ – Bowie’s voice sounds distanced, detached, emotionless – like the music itself.  Even the single ‘Sound and Vision’ is bleak and dystopian.  Side 2 is completely instrumental, but I love it.  I can even remember the first time I heard the record, on a friend’s (brand new in those days) cassette player.  This sounded suddenly so modern, so fresh, so alien even.  And I couldn’t wait for the follow-up ‘Heroes’.

And, of course, it didn’t disappoint.  Side 1 is all sung and 2 is mostly instrumental.  Of course, the shock had worn off, and one could simply enjoy more of the same.  Although the sung songs with the exception of the classic title track seem a bit mechanical.  I like ‘Sons Of The Silent Age’ but not much else.  The instrumentals are if anything a bit mellower, except the bleak Neukoln.  In many ways I prefer Low as an album.  Lodger, which came out later in ‘1979’ is maybe better.  No instrumentals this time, but the sound is more varied; there is Turkish influence in ‘Yassasin’ and a classic vocal ballad in opener ‘Fantastic Voyage’.  He had a hit with ‘Boys Keep Swinging’  – but I particularly like ‘Repetition’ – a tale of family violence sung very tiredly.  This last album completed David’s Berlin trilogy and has consistently undersold – maybe people were just getting bored with it.  In fact, all three records, though loved by the critics, sold poorly.  David had certainly come a long way in just a decade, unrecognisable from his Space oddity days.

Although this record came out over a decade later All Saints slots in here.   It is a collection of David’s instrumental tracks – everything from Low and Heroes and a few film tracks and discarded attempts.  I like it ‘Crystal Japan ‘ is very good – it is quietly refreshing, the lack of vocals give you more time to think.  In many ways David has always been a painter; literally he painted paintings (rarely seen) but with his music he often paints in sound collages, the lyrics sprinkled like highlights over the base colours.

But maybe, lack of chart success, or just boredom – David moved on from the pretty bleak terrain of his Berlin period and sought out more conventional ‘Pop’ sounds…

Zeit! 77-79

My Record Collection 37

Friday 3rd August

BOWIE – America  – Bowie was sinking into drug dependence; he had probably dabbled for years but Fame brings pressure – records to record, songs to write, endless touring and drugs seem to have affected almost all of the Sixties and Seventies stars.  Diamond Dogs came out in 1974, and I don’t really know why but I have never loved this record.  Most of the songs are of a dystopian future, many were destined for the soundtrack to a film of 1984, and then the producers chose other music.  The hit ‘Rebel Rebel’ was never my favourite and seems out of place on this record.  ‘Rock and Roll with me’ is quite good – as is ‘Sweet thing’ but the album leaves me strangely unaffected.  David was spending more and more time in America and, at exactly the same time as Elton, he fell in love with the disco sounds coming out of Philadelphia.  Under the influence of Luther Vandross and having dropped Ronson and the other Spiders (rather abruptly) he adopted a new band of session players.  Apparently the recording sessions were chaotic with a few songs discarded along the way.  John Lennon joined Bowie for a couple of songs too (as he did with Elton).  But the resulting album Young Americans is superb.  Never afraid to lose his audience and confront them with new sounds Bowie absorbed all this new music and created something brilliant.  The best is the title track with it’s horns and piano driven riffs, a classic – but it would have been unrecognisable as a Ziggy song.  There is the ballad ‘Win; again unlike anything he had sung before.  He does a cracking and roaring version of Lennon’s ‘Across the Universe’ and finishes with another classic ‘Fame’.  Quite incredible – and what a journey.  This is almost my favourite Bowie record – but of course there was more to come.

The following year (1976) came Station to Station – a move on from the Philly sound, and just 6 songs this time, but what songs…The title song roars in with the sound of a train puffing and wheezing, ‘TVC15’ is another wonderful song, almost a rocker but with disco influence – it is actually about 15 channels on TV (if only, now).  But the best are two slower songs ‘Word on A Wing’ and ‘Wild Is The Wind’.  Although we mustn’t forget hid best single in a long time ‘Golden Years’.  Bowie was filming ‘The Man Who fell to Earth’ with Nic Roeg, and he began to take on the persona of Newton – as the alien who came to earth.  He also name checks ‘The Thin White Duke’ and changed his image to a more forties style with slicked back hair and wide trousers.  Ever the magician he wove his spells – but for me it was always about the songs.   But none of his ch-ch-changes had prepared me for what came next.

Young Americans (40th Anniversary Picture Disc) [7" Vinyl]