Ziggyology – A Brief History of Ziggy Stardust
By Simon Goddard
Ebury Press – £20.00
”For this is no ordinary day of Mars. This is judgement day for its Spiders and crucifixion for its cosmic messiah. The man who fell to Earth to rip a rainbow in an oblivion of grey. The file in the sponge cake beckoning the wretched to hack through the bars of their Green Shield stamp prison. The embellisher of the drab. The twister of teenage necks from the gutter to the stars. The liberator of the slaves to duty and conformity. The nail varnished hand outstetching to the lonesome and the unloved. The greatest pop star of all time. The greatest pop star of all space.”
Why? Or, to rephrase my tinged annoyance: why ought one ever feel compelled to write such irritating, unnecessary bollocks; when, in the big scheme of things, all the writer is (fundamentaly) writing about, is the populist, elongated fanfare of a rock’n'roll band – and its final gig?
Nothing more. Nothing less.
Regardless of what one thinks about David Bowie, his transient incarnation as Ziggy Stardust, still remains one of the most resolute and memorable of his entire career – and what a career it’s been. Although Ziggyology – A Brief History of Ziggy Stardust, does, as its title suggests, home in and (acutely) concentrate on said period of Bowie’s career only.
And while it does so in such a way that many might consider pedantically brilliant, yet others obsequiously trite; which ever side of the fence one decides to fall, there’s no denying the fact that Simon Goddard has herein written a book that, if nothing else, is sublimely well researched and written with a lot of love.
Warped, if not jocularly jaded as that love may be, these 305 pages of pure Ziggyology, are, from a literary standpoint at least, as regal as they are relentlessly smitten and appreciative of Bowie’s yesteryear.
While the above opening quotation is taken from the book’s Prologue, the following is from its Epilogue: ”Ziggy Stardust lives on in more than plaques and ageing mortar, more than in his music and the twenty-first-century ubiquity of his flash-bisected image. He lives not in the past, but in today’s present and tomorrow’s future. In words, in music, in fashion and in art. In pout, in posture, in silver nails and feather boa. In the undying, invincible flash of youth. In the heroic bedroom hopes of escape in every stifling, backwater Nothingville on earth. In every spat-upon nobody who looks in the mirror with the blind faith that they are a superstar. In everyone who chooses not to be a radio but a colour television set.”
From an objective perspective, one would surely have to agree that Ziggyology is a tad obsessive.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore and respect almost all of David Bowie’s music. Who in their right mind doesn’t? But such literary adulation as found herein, not to mention the choice of words and language that describes the author’s adulation, does, after a while, become tediously irksome: ”And in all who cherish the beautiful truth of his dying gospel. That we, all of us human beings, are glittering, glamorous miracles of existence in a near fourteen-billion-year old story of cosmic creation. Moulded from the same galactic clay . Woven from the same microscopic threads of stellar flotsam [...].”