It’s The Freakiest Show..

My big brother was into the 1970s glam-rock scene, I mean, he had the platforms and everything.. He looked a div, but then what teenage boy didn’t look a div in the 70s?

For what’s it’s worth, I also looked a div – only I didn’t have any choice in the matter.

Anyway, it’s from rooting through his records that I came across the phenomenon that was David Bowie..

Being born in 1970 rendered me too young to appreciate the glam rock scene first time around. However, I didn’t have to wait too long because it made a comeback in the 80s with the likes of Def Leppard, Poison and Kiss – only with less glitter and more hair. Oh. And the flares were replaced by skin-tight, testicle-trapping jeans which of course helped them to reach those high notes..

WHOOOOOOOOO-YEAHHHHHHHHHHHH

Of all the records of the glam rock era, Life on Mars is my favourite.

Bowie labeled Life on Mars, “a sensitive young girl’s reaction to the media” and added, “I think she finds herself disappointed with reality… that although she’s living in the doldrums of reality, she’s being told that there’s a far greater life somewhere, and she’s bitterly disappointed that she doesn’t have access to it.”

I know how she feels..

Reality sucks. You spend nine months in the womb being prepared for your big entry into the world only to reach the age of five when you start school and your world turns phenomenally crap.

Yes, I know how that girl feels..

Life on Mars was released as a single in 1973. I was three years old and still wearing plastic pants. So it’s fair to say that while I no doubt heard it on the radio (or saw it on TOTP) I wasn’t into it until a few years later..

First, I fell in love with Mick Ronson’s orchestral arrangement because, lets face it, it’s EFFING AWESOME! Then came my obsession with the lyrics (also awesome) and all these years later, it STILL does things to me insides..

When it comes to the lyrics, the song is somewhat ambiguous but I identify with Bowie’s description because, like the girl, I am also at odds with reality. I see life as one big freak show.

Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man, look at those cavemen go
It’s the freakiest show

Bowie started out ordinary enough, apart from his freaky eye, but Mrs Bowie knew that his image was a bit crap so she turned him into the spiky red awesomeness that was ‘Ziggy Stardust’. He made weird, cool, and all the misfits and weirdos whooped with joy and bought all his records. He was like something out of space – which was kind of the idea. Nobody knew what the fuck he was. Was he male, female or alien?

Bowie wasn’t my dad’s cup of tea, as I imagine was the case with a lot of other parents of the time. Dad’s nervous cough would kick in when Ziggy beamed up via the gogglebox during those early years but he settled down once Dave brought out Lets Dance and ‘that one he did with Jagger’, got the Dad stamp of approval too.

Bowie has been a constant in some form or other since Ziggy. I almost had a coronary when the TV series Life on Mars was screened in 2006. Great plot. The legend what is ‘The Gene Genie’ (Gene Hunt) and a cracking 1970s soundtrack, including Life on Mars which was used a LOT. What’s not to like?

For those of you unfamiliar with Life on Mars.. the plot is is that Sam Tyler has an accident in 2006 and wakes up in 1973 wearing flares and driving a Cortina. The tagline is, Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever’s happened, it’s like I’ve landed on a different planet.

I just hope to God I never suffer a head trauma and wake up in 1983 wearing a ra-ra skirt and legwarmers!

So, if I had to choose ONE song to listen to before I die, it would be Life On Mars. I want my life force to ebb away to this song but knowing my luck, it will be Justin Bieber and I will die with my middle finger stuck up in mid-air.

There is something satisfyingly poetic about Mick Ronson’s melodic string arrangements to Life on Mars being the last piece of music I ever hear before I depart this shit-hole planet. I am the girl with the mousey hair, or at least I used to be before I started dyeing the crap out of it, and I very much want this to be my swansong. Family, take note.

Finally, a bit o’ trivia for you..

The string arrangement for Life on Mars was written in a TOILET.

Genius.

Songs That Make You Go WTF?!

I LOVE music. Without music, where would we be? But occasionally I hear a song and think to myself, ‘What the actual eff were you thinking when you wrote this?’

He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss) – The Crystals – 1962

“He couldn’t stand to hear me say
 That I’d been with someone new,
 And when I told him I had been untrue
 He hit me
 And it felt like a kiss
 He hit me
 And I knew he loved me”

It’s hard to believe that this was co written by a woman, let alone a woman who has allegedly suffered repeated domestic abuse. Carole King, what were you thinking?!

Every Breath You Take – The Police – 1983

“Every single day
 Every word you say
 Every game you play
 Every night you stay
 I’ll be watching you”

A popular song reaching the top of the charts. People have this played at their wedding as ‘their song’. Romantic, eh? You can just imagine the newlyweds taking to the dance floor with their family and friends looking on, dabbing their eyes with hankies. Aww.

Er, THE SONG IS ABOUT STALKING!

“I woke up in the middle of the night with that line in my head, sat down at the piano and had written it in half an hour. The tune itself is generic an aggregate of hundreds of others, but the words are interesting. It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn’t realize at the time how sinister it is. I think I was thinking of Big Brother surveillance and control”. ~ Sting

Baby It’s Cold Outside – Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews 1999

My mother will start to worry (beautiful what’s your hurry?)
My father will be pacing the floor (listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I’d better scurry (beautiful please don’t hurry)
But maybe just a half a drink more (put some records on while I pour)

The neighbors might think (baby, it’s bad out there)
Say what’s in this drink? Rohypnol by the sounds of it! (no cabs to be had out there)
I wish I knew how (your eyes are like starlight now)
To break this spell (I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell)
I ought to say, no, no, no sir (mind if I move in closer?)

The song was written in 1944 by Frank Loesser and there have been numerous versions. I listed Tom Jones’ version, simply because it’s the one I’m the most familiar with. To be fair, when you put these lyrics in the context of the era they were written in (1944) you understand that in those days it wasn’t the done thing to spend the night with a boyfriend or fiance. Also, the reference to ‘what’s in this drink’ was a saying of the era to blame one’s actions on alcohol. However, the song morphs into territory of the creepy kind when viewed by today’s standards, no?

Tap Turns On The Water – CCS – 1971

“Peak through the bathroom door (Did you ever, did you ever)
 See your sister in the raw (Did you ever, did you ever)”

One of the most disturbing songs of my childhood.

Missy Elliott – Work It – 2002

“Take my thong off and my ass go boom!”

Me too, Missy. Me too..

Miley Cyrus – I Forgive Yiew – 2015

“How dare you bring another chick in our bed
You’re lucky I’m doing my yoga, or you might be dead”

Namaste, Motherf**ker!

30 Hours – Kanye West – 2016

“My ex said she gave me the best years of her life
Seen a recent picture of her and I guess she was right”

You’d be under the patio if you were my ex, Kanye. Here’s hoping you age horribly.

Burn Bitch Burn – Kiss -1984

“Oh babe, I wanna put my log in your fireplace.”

One of the finest rock ballads of all time. GET YOUR FAG LIGHTERS UP IN THE AIR!

Figure You Out – Nickleback – 2003

“I love your pants around your feet… You’re like my favourite damn disease.”

Chlamydia or gonorrhea, Chad?

Come On Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners – 1982

“You in that dress, My thoughts I confess,
Verge on dirty,
Oh, come on Eileen”

Every time we shout, ‘Come on Eileen’, we are urging the poor girl to give into Kevin Rowland’s constant badgering to have it off. Also, Eileen does NOT wear a dress in the video. She wears a fetching pair of dungarees – possibly to keep Kev’s thoughts from verging on the ‘dirty’. Incidentally, ‘Eileen’ was played by Máire Fahey, sister of Siobhan Fahey from Bananarama. Consider yourselves enlightened, peeps. Too loo rye aye?

Kim – Eminem – 2000

A hate/love song penned about his wife, Kim, cheating on him. Seemingly you can put the fantasy of killing your wife into song lyrics and it be perfectly acceptable? Not only that. A follow up song where you take your DAUGHTER with you to dispose of her mother’s body in the lake? Er, Mr Policemen, hello?

“You really f**ked me Kim
 You really did a number on me
 Never knew me cheating on you would come back to haunt me
 But we was kids then Kim, I was only eighteen
 That was years ago”

So, let me get this straight. He cheated on her FIRST but it’s OK because he was only eighteen and in any case, it was years ago, so it doesn’t count?

Here’s the thing, Marshall. 18 is the age when the United States (and the rest of the world) considers young people capable of accepting responsibility for their actions. I vote that Kim writes her own song where she sticks YOU in the boot of a car (naked) and drives YOU to a remote location where it’s only inhabitant is a grizzly bear with a penchant for nuts.

The popularity of this song makes me fear for humanity.

Miley Cyrus (again) BB Talk – 2015

“Look, I like when you send me, you know, the queen emoji, but when I send back the monkey, you know, the ones with the hands over the eyes? That means that shit’s just getting a little too weird for me.”

SMILEY

Puff Daddy feat. Mase – Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down -1997

“Young, black and famous – with money hanging out the anus.”

Makes a change from hemorrhoids, Puff.

Michael Bolton – Can I Touch You There? -1995

“Can I touch you there?”

No.

Destiny’s Child – Bills Bills Bills – 1999

“Can you pay my bills? Can you pay my telephone bills? Can you pay my automo’ bills? Then maybe we can chill. I don’t think you do, so you and me are through.”

So much for the ‘Independent Woman’, eh girls?

Sing it with me now..

“All the women, who are independent
Throw your hands up at me
All the honeys, who making money
Throw your hands up at me”

Coming soon: Songs That Make You Go WTF. Side B