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“Watchdogging East Coast Fanfare: On Bowie and More”

On Bowie by Rob Sheffield has it all. It’s got a cover that’s bright and bold, it’s got an author who was a high-profile Pitchfork critic, and it’s got the subject matter of the man, at least touted in there, as the greatest rock star of all time.
Just as appealingly, it’s got an anecdote about Marc Bolan. Marc Bolan fronted the early ’70’s mod outfit T. Rex known well for their ubiquitous hit single “Bang a Gong (Get it on).” On Bowie, however, is very vilifying of Bolan: it details the singer’s public mockery of Bowie, and the episode when he invited Bowie to tour with him — a gig which turned out to be one miming, rather than vocally performing. [1]
Bolan was a Bowie doubter. Bowie proved him wrong, and became the best rock star of all time. So the story goes.
Well, now, what happens when someone puts on “Bang a Gong (Get it on)” in a bar, on the jukebox, and it permeates as basically the greatest song of all time, getting everyone moving, getting no one doling spiny glances? No now it’s that the homophobe won, and the world is just unfair. By the way, you can also disprove the claim that Bowie is the greatest rock star of all time by putting on Lou Reed’s New York or Neil Young’s Harvest.
One recent Bowie biography was billed on its cover as an “erotic journey.” I would look it up and give you the title, but the thought grosses me out too much. Am I not accepting enough of gays?
Or is it just that music — actual, substantial music — possesses certain polarities which cut deeper than someone’s OUTER non-conformity? A person’s appearance (something which was sort of Bowie’s specialty, what with his 17 odd different hairstyles) caters to “show” lovers. Actually, Sheffield, in the same book, extols a certain Bowie mimicking band in New Haven for the specific reason that they had fake British accents, saying that this adds to the production’s flair, in so many words. It’s a “knack” I’ve observed in other East Coasters too, like Martin Short, whom I happen to find commendable in many capacities… they HAVE no values, they HAVE no faith in art’s ability to actually transcend, and entertainment, to them, is just a show, which ends at the conclusion of the performance, which goes exactly as far as the person’s skin, hair, and makeup.
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[1] Bowie accepted the gig.

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