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AT THE BIRTH OF BOWIE
Bibliophile price: £6.00
How did Davie Jones, the nattily-dressed lead singer with The Lower Third, become David Bowie aka Ziggy Stardust, the high-grossing shapeshifting superstar of the 1970s? Phil Lancaster was the band's drummer in Jones's debut years, and this memoir reveals a lot about the young man who became a cult figure. Lancaster's drumming started off with an arrangement of Oxo tins, but soon he was playing with the semi-professional group the Blue Dukes. Deciding to go pro, he advertised in Melody Maker and received a call telling him to meet Davie Jones at the Gioconda café. They enthused about Dylan, who was fairly new in the UK, and Phil was in. Soon The Lower Third was on the road in their famous converted ambulance, and they were prepared to use the siren if they were late for a gig. Dave already had the charisma that caused girls to stare at him in clubs like the Marquee, and he impressed with stories of Mick Jagger and David Bailey. Girl trouble was a major feature of the songs Dave wrote, and the group did not initially know that he was bisexual. When they turned up at his flat and he was with a man, they were shocked. In 1972 Bowie came out as gay and in 1976 as bisexual in what was hailed as a brave move. Looks were all-important for a sixties band and they kitted themselves out in Carnaby Street, followed by a wash and cut at Ivan's in Queensway. A 1966 article promoting what turned out to be their final single with Dave, "Can't help thinking about me", ascribed the hairdos to Phil's inspiration. When Bowie began to study drama skills with the androgynous mime Lindsay Kemp, the character of Stardust was ready to emerge. 308pp, photos in black and white and colour.

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