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Tribute to David Bowie, whose music I didn't much like.

David Bowie has died age 69. He had cancer. And by all accounts he stayed strong and cheerful to the end. For this he deserves credit and respect.

I didn't rate his stuff much. His voice never appealed to me.

I thought I liked Rebel Rebel till I checked the lyrics, now I'm not so sure. I can't relate to them. But what fun we had dancing to it in the seventies.

Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo

I also enjoyed Starman at the time; the tune is good but the lyrics ...

Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie

My brother (younger than me) said Bowie was a genius, the icon of his era. He must be right, though I don't see it.

Nor did I go for all that skin-tight dressing-up and luminous face-painting typical in his Ziggy Stardust phase. And Bowie's smile always seemed to me to be a bit tight and slightly scary.

The Man who Sold the World is a catchy number, though it doesn't seem to say anything profound. Not that this matters of course.

Oh no, not me, 
I never lost control 
You're face to face 
With the man who sold the world.

I do like Nivarna's acoustic version on their album Unplugged in New York, the soundtrack of the show made by MTV in 1993, which I watched on my portable Sony Trinitron.

Bowie sang on Queen's Under Pressure, the one with the memorable bass rif. An A-capella vocals-only recording is currently doing the rounds.

'Cause love's such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure
Under pressure

A good note to end on.

Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 12 January 2016

Last modified by Deborah Caulfield, 12 January 2016

The consequences of praise: Bafflement, weirdness and wondrousness.

Today I received praise for my writing. It felt good. And weird.

I wonder why ...

My earliest memory of being praised was a teacher congratulating me for passing the eleven plus exam. I was baffled. I didn't even know I'd taken it. Then I remembered the strange test we'd all been made to sit.

However, I still didn't understand. Why had I passed and others not? It was a mystery. It also changed my life, and not for the better.

Bafflement was followed by weirdness.

The first weird thing that happened was TB meningitis. It nearly killed me. I was out of action for the best part of 1962, the year the world wasn't nuked off the map of the universe.

The next surprise was  the bike my parents gave me, a present for passing the eleven plus. It was their way of saying well done for not dying, now go away you little shit.

This photograph, taken at the insistence of my mother to mark the momentous occasion, shows me standing with said bike, wearing a horrible new hair cut and tolerable new clothes.

A few months later, my best friend died during an operation to save her life. This weirdness was just God's way of saying well done for not dying, now go away you little shit.

Then one day my parents found a photograph of me kissing my boyfriend. They told me I was a whore and I'd end up as a teenage pregnancy statistic. Was that what I wanted? It was just their way of saying ... blah blah blah you little shit.

So when some of the Chailey staff ganged up on me and told me I was a pig and an ungrateful nuisance and if they had their way I'd be expelled, I knew the score. I was a little shit but I wasn't going anywhere.

There followed decade after decade of weirdness.

Until today.

Yes, today marks the end of weirdness and a new dawn of wondrousness.

Why not?

Posted by Deborah Caulfield, 6 January 2016

Last modified by Deborah Caulfield, 6 January 2016