I'm just the space cadet...he's the commander...
On the evening of Sunday 26th January 1975, BBC1 screened Alan Yentob's Cracked Actor documentary which was made for the Omnibus programme. Thirty years later it's almost impossible to calculate just how important the broadcast was to Bowie-starved fans in the UK.
Having looked forward to the broadcast with massive anticipation (hand held microphone and Philips cassette recorder at the ready) I settled in for what was to become another life-changing piece of Bowie TV.
I was 14, he was 28...Christ! He was twice my age! Funny how I seem to have caught up with him a bit now.
I'm not going to give you a blow-by-blow account of Cracked Actor, as any Bowie fan worth their salt probably knows the thing off by heart anyway. And besides, BowieNetter dukebox has already posted a fine review on the MBs which pretty well sums up how Bowie fans of a certain age feel about the documentary, myself included. Members can view dukebox's post
Like much of the dialogue from The Man Who Fell To Earth (coincidentally it was Cracked Actor that inspired Nicolas Roeg to approach Bowie for the film) many fans would learn parrot-fashion almost every word David uttered. "Tissues for my eyes..."
I became the envy of fellow Bowie-fan school friends (all two of them) when I created a series of Japanese Kabuki Aladdin Sane stick masks, utilising our new vacuum-forming machine. The contraption allowed me to form transparent plastic over a life-size mold I had made of David's head! Of course, this was inspired by first seeing David performing with the things in the documentary...and the death mask sequence at the start of it.
The list of new ideas that presented itself in the film to a fan of my age was endless. I soon started writing my own songs using the cut-up method...Though I wasn't sure if the technique I used was how David did his. (Somebody will get that!) And I almost perfected my moonwalk from the book on mime I had borrowed from the library.
Overnight I took to wearing Fedora hats, though in retrospect, it was more likely something approximating a Fedora from a jumble sale...Anyway, I could go on for hours...But, as I say, dukebox already has. So go check out his excellent piece about this still-fascinating documentary