From David Bowie on his knees, licking Mick Ronson's guitar, to David Bowie's Swinging Boys, this was David Bowie's decade. It was a decade when a hell of a lot of music got made, the most musically diverse decade in pop history. And it was a decade of sexual experimentation...Excuse me?
Ok, pop stars were shagging left right and centre, as they've always done, but what about the music fans? Tell us about the music fans, Geoff.
Well, I can only speak for myself...
Prog rock is anti-sex. The grammar school boys who didn't get any. The bands too ugly to write about it, apparently. Poor Rick Wakeman had to write about King Arthur for God's sake. And Rick Wakeman performing King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table Thankfully Not On Ice was my first gig.......No sex.
Five years of gig-going. Seeing prog rock bands, heavy rock bands, pub rock bands, new wave bands.......All with no sex.
Heavy rock discos...No sex. Just one big-legged pissed up woman reeking of patchouli oil freaking out to Hawkwind surrounded by a bunch of complete and utter useless specimens of young manhood. And me.
So, no sex when I was accompanied by my male friends. Would I have any luck by myself?
A rock disco deejayed by Little Nicky Horne. A Norwegian sailor starts talking to me and suggests we approach the two free women in the place. They want to dance to Smoke on the Water. How the fuck? How the fuck do you dance to Smoke on the Water? Without an air guitar. I jump aroud a bit, make my excuses and get the last bus.......No sex.
The Seventies. Sex and British Pop. This is a strange programme. Made especially strange by the talking heads' lips not synching with the sound. You can't cram seventies pop into one hour. There's a whole series to be made. But we get:-
Marc Almond who's learned his lines since his accident. Apparently when Bowie put his arm round Ronson's shoulders on TOTP it was a liberating moment. Christ Marc, how many times have we heard that one before?
There's the Led Zep orgies...wheel on Pamela Des Barnes and Cynthia PlastercasterFasterFaster once again who are into their second decade of lying down.
There's the young girls' idols, David Essex and the Rollers. Girls screaming as they did during Beatlemania.
There's sexless old prog.
And then, blasting everybody out of the water, there's that revolutionary women's movement: Punk. Young women dress up in bondage gear, empowering themselves in the process. Toyah Wilcox sees a naked boy for the first time on the set of Jubilee! She blushes. Captain Sensible gets laid!
But wait. Gary Kemp says punk is not a working class movement. Soul boys is where its at. Ooh, but aren't there so many tribes? And dear old Robert Elms has been a member of each and every one of them. He goes where cool takes him. From skinheed moonstomping all the way to gay discos "because that was where all the best dancing and the best music was". You cool dude, Elmsy.
Hmm...Disco music? Soul music? Aren't they American? Aren't we getting a bit off track here? Shouldn't this be about British music? And sex? Toyah, Kemp, Hadley, Elms? Is it possible to get any more sex less?
Thank Christ Bowie's back at the end, in his make up, still swinging after all these years.
You've still got it, David.
You naughty boy.
Some book reviews
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