7 – Blog 29 – London Burning

“The Knobs are gathering across the street at The Boltons,” David Bowie announces. “Let’s join them for lunch. It’s a true London gay pub. You’ll love it. If you get uncomfortable, go into the ladies bar in the front room.”

“Gay bars don’t frighten me.”

“It is not Taboo. It’s hardcore.”

“What? Are they fucking on the bar.”

“Almost.”

“Let’s not let Mike know,” I decide. My sexuality issues need to take a rest while we gear up for four shows over two nights. I do not want to end up like MacGowan.

We walk into the formal salon section; it is a small room with couches, wallpaper on the wall and a décor out of the 19th Century. So far, no issues for hetero-confused me. The patrons are fairly elderly, sipping lime and larger or cocktails.

The transition to the main pub is abrupt.  No fucking on the bar, but I do observe obvious drug dealing between the barmen and patrons. Also, the acrid smell of amyl nitrate is overwhelming. The Knobs are seated in the back and wave us over. They are right at home.

“No back room here?” I kid them.

“No need when you have a booth,” Billy laughs.

I look around and realize I am in Dante’s fifth circle of hell. Several booths have an audience. My gay response to Bowie earlier feels awkwardly out-of-place. He refuses to look me in the eye. Our moment has slipped away. He did warn me.

We all have pints of ‘bitta,’ slightly chilled and sweetly non-carbonized.

“If I eat the food, will it turn me gay?” I ask the group.

“If you drink the water, it might,” Billy laughs.

“I only drink Lake water,” I claim.

“I have first dibs on him when he turns,” Billy is my MainMan.

“How did the flying go? Feel like Peter Pan?” Jock asks.

“It turned into more Dracula and his son.” Bowie defends me.

“Ew. Love bites.”

“Just nibbles,” I admit.

“Time for rehearsal, boys and otherwise,” I take charge after finishing my beer..

“Yassir, Boss,” they all pipe up. We leave our circle of hell.

Lots of activity since our flying practice. The Knobs forgot they are still Queen roadies. The equipment is a shambles. They go about separating the setups for three bands plus the Boss Band on The Knobs equipment and tuning all the instruments. Roger Taylor is there, tuning his drum set like a pro, Wait. He is a rock star professional. He is there to complain that his drums have not been tuned properly. I stand with Claude Nobs and kid him that the Knobs get no respect.

“Hey, I met George Martin today. He knows you and was amazed you are in the Knobs.”

“Tell him he can join me on stage with his own tambourine.”

“I said you are a percussionist.”

“Why were you speaking with the ’fifth’ Beatle?”

“He recorded our one song, pressing 45s which we can sell after the show.”

“Did he make you sign contracts?”

“I told him we already are on Knobs Records.”

“You are incorrigible.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Don’t kid a kidder, kid.”

“Okay, Boss.”

The 45s are delivered. There are 500. We will get a reading on the Boss Band’s approval by how many fans buy one after the shows. Mike, Emile, Amar and I set up a card table outside the entrance. We’ll sit there and sign autographs. I find a couple of posters for the show. I turn it upside-down and use magic marker to scrawl ‘And, THE BOSS BAND’ across the pretty pictures of Bowie and Queen. I tape them to the wall behind the card table. I leave magic markers out to sign autographs. Mike says I’m being overly optimistic about the reception of our one song performance.

“It is our debut. We can save the posters for posterity.”

“In a pinch, they can be used for toilet paper,” Emile quips.

“Grrr,” I snap at him. He totally folds.

Amar tells me, “Play nice.”

Emile’s smile has everyone on his side against me, the Boss.

We do soundcheck first. We are not that particular. The house sound engineer asks who we are and if we are legal.

“We’re all aliens.” I let him know we are illegal.

They hustle us off the stage where we watch the Knobs do a better job of adjusting levels et cetera.

I tell Henri that Paul MacCartney may show up to do ‘Let ‘em In,’ at the end Bowie’s set. He goes into PR overdrive, rushing to find the wire service hack. We aim to please.

Bowie pulls me aside.

“Let’s use the audience reaction in the first show to gauge how well they understand the message that I have moved on from my Ziggy Stardust days.”

“Maybe we can use the wire act to be a metaphor of your inner conflict about staying an alien or moving on.”

“Can you do leads while flying?”

“I can. Can you?”

“I learned a whole ‘crossroads battle with the devil’ to create leads,” Bowie brags.

“I’ll match you and try to repeat your leads.”

“Let’s try it here backstage.”

I run to Billy, now a roadie for the band, and ask him to borrow Freddie’s Gibson SG. I know he has been using it when he subs for Brian in Queen’s set.

David and I sit backstage and trade leads, pushing each other to respond higher and higher. We get an audience for our battle as the sound echoes around Earl’s Court. Neither of us backs down. At the crescendo, I crack, showing Ziggy defeated by the new Bowie. It’ll be my exit so Bowie can play his newer songs. I’ll do a back flip on the wire to look like I’m plunging into Hell. It’ll be great.”

We all go back to The Boltons for beer (and pot for the Knobs) to prime us for the show. Sitting in a booth with Freddie, I hang on his every word as he regales his band on their coming triumphal return to London, after almost breaking up.

Elton John walks up with an older man wrapped around his shoulder. I deduce he is Jim Reid, Elton’s manager and recently fired Queen manager. Brian and the boys look conflicted, since Reid tried to split up the band, by getting Freddie to go solo. Once that failed, he told the others to leave Montreux and threatened to fire Freddie.

“Ah,” Elton remarks. “You brighten up my favorite gay watering hole.”

“Have a seat, Reggie,” Freddie and Elton are on an actual first-name basis.”

“Sure, Farrokh,” he replies and sits with us. No one moves over, so Reid is left standing.

“Come to make up for your boyfriend trying to break up Queen?” Freddie asks.

Elton starts to reply, until he sees me cuddled up with Freddie.

“Tim? What are you doing here?”

I ignore his question, not realizing he is speaking to me.

He looks at me, rather than answering Freddie demand.

“You are Tim, aren’t you?’

“My name is Laz. I do know that some people used to call me Tim.”

“You didn’t sing with me and Liza Minelli two years ago at the Troubadour?”

That is news. My boycott of the past kicks in.

“You must be mistaken. I’m from Romania.”

Everyone laughs. Elton is confused.

“You sang ‘Crocodile Rock’ on your 18th birthday.”

I love to sing spontaneously, and so start

‘I remember when rock was young
Me and Tommy had so much fun’

“That’s it, Tim’s version on my song. You called it Gatoraurus Rock.”

“Okay, Elton. You’re right. That boy died. Freddie resurrected the body but not the memories. I honestly don’t remember you or anything until I came out of a coma a month ago.”

“You don’t remember me?’

“I know who you are. You’re famous, but the person I was is gone. This is the new me. David is launching me as the new Ziggy Stardust.”

“What?”

“He has moved on,” I show him my outfit, makeup and orange spiky hair. “I’m 19. Teenagers are all aliens.”

“Okay. You are still adorable. Why don’t you want to remember or at least learn about your past.”

“It’s not my past. I am Laz now.”

‘But, but..”

I cut him off.

“Please don’t talk about me. It only confuses me and how I feel now. Dr Jacques says I must build my own memories. The other time I met someone from Hollywood it was painful how much they still love me when I have no feelings about them except confusion.”

“Freddie had you revived?’

“I call him my personal zombie,” Freddie answers for me. “Don’t worry I keep him well fed with Wimpy Burgers.”

Reid is not interested in Elton’s teenage friends. He is uncomfortable just standing there, next to me in Bowie drag and singing.

“Freddie,” Reid interrupts. “Can we speak about my continuing to manage Queen?”

“You’re on probation until Miami Beach completes his audit of the books.” Freddie is curt to him.

“He’s an accountant. They always find stray details that may be questionable.”

“He’s an attorney. When they find the details, they will put you in jail.”

“Please, Freddie, “Elton begs. “I stand behind him as my manager.”

“He’s your boyfriend and you let him steal from you, too.”

I decide that my advice is not needed here. Gay bars always create drama. I leave, looking for Mike.

“Hey, butthead, you look lost.”

He is sitting backstage, twirling his drum sticks and tossing them in the air. He looks up and smiles. The future King of Pop is my best friend, but we do not know that yet or how it will all end. Today we are best of friends with no complications.

“Let’s go out and mingle with our fans,” I suggest.

“They’re Freddie and David fans.”

“Well, our future fans. Let’s go talk with the kids.”

He brightens up as we leave the stage area, sneaking out a side door to the auditorium.

We walk out into the mass of patrons trying to find their seats. We start singing the Coasters, ‘Charlie Brown’

‘Fee fee fi fi fo fo fum I smell smoke in the auditorium
Charlie Brown Charlie Brown he’s a clown that Charlie Brown
He’s gonna get caught just you wait and see
(Why’s everybody always picking on me)’

We move around while singing. The English are uneasy that anyone, especially Americans, should be singing spontaneously in public.

A couple of kids jump up and join us.

“Why are you singing?” one asks after we finish the song.

“Just getting ready for our performance tonight,” I crow.

“You’re playing here? Are you the Knobs?”

“Do we look like knobs,” I mock him. “Come meet the other members of the band.”

They follow us backstage. Security recognizes Mike. We all pile into the Green Room.

Amar and Emile look up, instantly cheering up.

“This is Amar and Emile,” I introduce them to our new friends. “Our band is call the Boss Band. How old are you?”

“Almost sixteen.”

“Well, almost sixteen and ready to have fun, what songs do you know?”

“The Clash, ‘London Calling.”

I grab everyone and we go back into the hall. Mike lays down a beat with his knuckles on a railing and we all sing a Capella,

We are not bad for about 15 seconds, then we start slowing down. Still, 15 more kids show up. We do a medley of songs from the past. Anything anyone starts singing, even Bruce Springsteen. America-Anglo unity. The seated crowd joins in and the concert has began.

“Stop,” Henri runs up. “The Knobs aren’t ready.”

“Just push them on stage, ready or not.”

“Okay, Boss,” Henri runs off.

One of the original kids asks me, “Are you the Boss?”

All four of us sing, ‘You ain’t the boss of me.”

“That’s our song,” Mike states.

“Ain’t you Michael Jackson” one shouts.

“Yup, but tonight I’m just a drummer in the band.”

“What band?”

“The Boss Band, ‘You ain’t the boss of me,” and we sing the whole song.

‘You ain’t the boss of me

I’m not who you see

To be what I can be

I need to feel free

You tell me when to come or go

I feel tossed to and fro

Listen to all your rules

I’m not one of your tools

You say ‘your house, your rules

My way or the highway’

I’ll see you when I can

This is when it all began

Miss me, hah

Need me, nah

Love me, hah

Rid of me, nah

Nah nah, nah nah

Na na, na na, nah’

We’re close to the stage, where the Knobs are glaring at us for starting without them. Billy hits heavy leads and the amps drown us out instantly, ‘Smoke on the Water.’

“These are our roots, in Montreux,” Billy shouts

I am supposed to be singing, but Billy takes over. He can play and sing, maybe even pick his nose.

I run over and jump on stage while Mike stays with his fans.

Billy sneers into the mic, “We don’t need you anymore.”

“You ain’t the boss of me,” I sing back at him. “You’ve smoked on the water too long.”

The rest of the band laughs.

“What’s next, Boss?” Billy gives up being lead singer.

“Sympathy for the Devil,” I shout.

“We don’t know that song

I start moaning like Mick Jagger

‘Woo woo, Woo woo…’

The band knows the beat and Billy finds his inner Keith Richard

‘Please let me introduce myself…

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game..

Woo, who
Oh yeah, get on down
Oh yeah
Aah yeah

Tell me baby, what’s my name?
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name?
Tell me baby, what’s my name?
I tell you one time, you’re to blame

What’s my name
Tell me, baby, what’s my name?
Tell me, sweetie, what’s my name?’

All the kids down front are going crazy. Mike tells them my name; everyone is shouting

“Laz, Laz, Laz’

The whole place is on their feet, yelling my name. I hope Elton is listening but probably he is sulking about how his boyfriends always rip him off.

I turn to the band. Their eyes look like they’ve never been stoned. They did not expect this reception.

“What’s next,” I ask as the crowd keeps screaming.

Billy starts playing ‘All the Young Dudes,’ written by Bowie but a Mott the Hopple hit,

Suddenly Bowie appears with a saxophone, standing next to me. He winks. The crowd is insane. He is not expected until later. I sing while Bowie wails on the sax then backs me up on the chorus

‘Billy rapped all night ’bout his suicide
How he’d kick it in the head when he was 25
Don’t wanna stay alive when you’re 25…

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news
All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news…

All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news
All the young dudes
Carry the news
Boogaloo dudes
Carry the news’

Songwriters: David Bowie

Bowie starts to walk off.

The crowd cries no.

He turns and bows

I sing, ‘Com’n, dudes.

Give him a hand’

“He’s not 25 no more,” I shout and the cheers keep coming.

I turn to Billy, “what’s next?”

He looks lost.

“Telegram Sam,” I shout over the noise. I grab a fender Mustang and rip leads with Billy

‘Telegram Sam
You’re my main man
Telegram Sam
You’re my main man…

I’m a howlin’ man’

Not quite the effect I thought the song would have on the crowd. Well, Marc Bolin recently died in an auto crash, but I was in a coma and clueless at the time. Maybe the audience felt it is wrong to play his songs as covers. Fuck it, and I rip into ‘Bang a Gong’, changing the lyric to ‘Hit the Bong.” My arrogance is too much for the fans who roundly boo me.

‘Get it on, bang a gong, get it on
Get it on, hit the bong, get it on’

The kids in front love it, dancing and freaking. The fans in the seats, not so much. Billy’s having to do the psychodelic leads as well as sing. I switch to the MOOG and let him choose the next song. He is clueless. I chose to go back to the sixties with Herman’s Hermits’ ‘Henry, the Eighth.”

It is a fan favorite but not so much for the kids in front. They start yelling ‘fag, poofter and faggot.”

I look down at them in front of the stage and spot MacGowan leading the derision.

“If that’s what you want,” I point at him. “Get up here Shane and sing ‘em your song about London’s Old Main Drag.”

He is not shy and is instantly on stage.

“I ain’t singing that one. I got a betta one about love in the city, ‘Dirty Old Town.”

“Sounds like London,” I insult everyone else there, but it has them listening.

MacGowan sits down on the stage and starts to whistle the tune. An acoustic guitar appears. I play a rhythm on the MOOG. The rest of the Knobs, even Claude, surround him and back him up like in an Irish Folk song

‘I met my love by the gas works wall
Dreamed a dream by the old canal
I kissed my girl by the factory wall
Dirty old town
Dirty old town’

Trad. arran. The Pogues

Is that better? You want authenticity?” I ask the crowd. “We respect Marc Bolan and just wanted to honor him, not appropriate his legend.’

I turn to the Knobs and tell them to play “One Love,’ by Bob Marlay and the Wailers

‘One love, one heart
Let’s get together and feel alright

Hear the children crying (One love)
Hear the children crying (One heart)
Sayin’ give thanks and praise to the lord and I will feel alright
Sayin’ let’s get together and feel alright

Ohohoho
Let them all pass all their dirty remarks (One love)
There is one question I’d really love to ask (One heart)
Is there a place for the hopeless sinner?
Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?
Believe me

, what about love?
Let’s get together and feel alright
As it was in the beginning (One love)
So shall it be in the end (One heart), alright
Give thanks and praise to the lord and I will feel alright
Let’s get together and feel alright
One more thing

Let’s get together to fight this holy armageddon (One love)
So when the man comes there will be no, no doom (One song)
Have pity on those whose chances grove thinner
There ain’t no hiding place from the father of creation
Sayin’

Let’s get together and feel alright

Thanks and praise to the lord, feel alright

Let’s get together to fight this holy armageddon
So when the man comes there will be no, no doom
Have pity on those whose chances grove thinner
There ain’t no hiding place from the father of creation
Sayin’

Let’s get together and feel alright
One more thing!

One love, one heart
Let’s get together and feel alright
I’m pleading to mankind
(One love) What about the one heart (One heart)
Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel alright
Let’s get together and feel alright
Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel alright
Let’s get together and feel alright’

Songwriters: Curtis Mayfield / Bob Marley

All that practice of a certain set, then we go off the rails just because the crowd thought we were disrespecting Marc Bolan. Never piss off a hometown crowd.

Time for Turkish reggae. I rush backstage and grab Bowie, Amar, Emile, and Popa Mustafa’s Sufi Dervish whirlers.

“Time for ‘Yassassin’ I demand.

“Okay, Boss,” Bowie laughs, happy to be spontaneous. “But we also need to play it at the end. Hook up your wire to be ready for a quick exit.”

Not only a wire, I put on a wireless guitar pickup and wireless mic. I am electric. I run back out while the Knobs finish ‘One Love.’

“Are you feeling it?” I ask. “Here’s a new reggae song by Bowie.”

The man walks out to thunderous clapping. Amar, dressed in white robes, goes to his own mic. The Knobs switch out with the Turkish band.

Also dressed in Dervish white robes. Mike stands next to me. I set the MOOG to Eastern oud guitar (my own concoction) and pulse a single note for the songs intro. The rhythm is the same as ‘One Love.’

The band starts playing and Amar shouts his one word, ‘Yassassin’, followed by the first line of the verse by Bowie.

‘Yassassin – I’m not a moody guy
Yassassin – I walk without a sound
Yassassin – Just a working man, no judge of men
Yassassin – But such a life I’ve never known’

The Sufi dancers slowly spin in a circle. Emile’s whirling skill has vastly improved. His beatific smile becomes the trance all the Sufis start to achieve as they whirl. Mike begins moon walking in front of me and the MOOG.

It is not a familiar Bowie hit but the trance dancing holds it together and many fans in the seats are head bobbing.

Duncan appears, also dressed in white Sufi robes. As he spins with the older adults, he is grabbed and spun into the air.  The circle collapses into itself and catches him before he falls. They repeat the trick several times, until the song ends. All the Sufis exit the stage.

I immediately start ‘Space Oddity’ on the MOOG, backed by the Turkish band. Bowie is still at the mic.

‘Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
Ground Control to Major Tom’

The countdown starts in the background by Bowie

‘(ten, nine, eight, seven, six)’

I sing

‘Commencing countdown, engines on’

Bowie: ‘(five, four, three)’

Me: ‘Check ignition and may God’s love be with you’

Bowie: ‘(two, one, liftoff)’

Flash pots explode and Bowie flies straight up from the mic with flames and smoke rising behind him’ He disappears into the stage rafters.

Me: ‘This is Ground Control to Major Tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare

The band does a long instrumental bridge until Bowie is ready to sing from the rafters

‘This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much’

My wire lifts me to Bowie in the opposite side of rafters, where I continue

’She knows
Ground Control to Major Tom, Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you’

The band fades out, only to start playing ‘Starman’, at first softly but then stronger.

David rides the wire so he is visible to the audience

‘Hey now, now
Oh, oh, oh’

I take off my white robes to reveal a Ziggy outfit. I push my orange hair up into a spiked version and the wire launches me after Bowie. We both sing swinging together then apart, pausing after each line to time the swings

‘Didn’t know what time it was, the lights were low’

‘I leaned back on my radio
Some cat was laying down some rock ‘n’ roll’
“Lotta soul,” he said’
‘Then the loud sound did seem to fade’
‘Came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase’
‘That weren’t no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive’

We move further apart so we barely approach each other at the end of each line. We keep singing and playing guitar as we circle each other above the stage

‘There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
‘Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie’

At the word boogie, we meet head on and the flash pots go off. A spotlight follows me as I rise, still visible to the audience. Another follows Bowie as he is lowered to the stage, then the light goes out. The Boss Band appears and takes their places on the Turk band’s instruments. The kids in front cheer. The audience is intently trying to figure out what is going on.

I continue singing, without music

‘Starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
‘Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie’

The Boss Band starts playing the single note I am singing,

‘La, la, la, la-la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la-la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la-la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la-la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la-la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la-la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la-la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la-la, la, la, la’

By this time, I am on my feet, at the mic. I shout

“You ain’t the boss of me.”

The kids in front are going crazy but know that one line and shout it back

‘You ain’t the boss of me’

Mike hits the drums. We play our 1 minute song three times through

‘You ain’t the boss of me

I’m not who you see

To be what I can be

I need to feel free

Miss me, hah

Need me, nah

Love me, hah

Rid of me, nah

You tell me when to come or go

I feel tossed to and fro

Listen to all your rules

I’m not one of your tools

Miss me, hah

Need me, nah

Love me, hah

Rid of me, nah

You say ‘your house, your rules

My way or the highway’

I’ll see you when I can

This is when it all began

Miss me, hah

Need me, nah

Love me, hah

Rid of me, nah’

By the time we finish the kids have learned the final line and sing it non-stop over and over.

‘Na na na na nah’

The Boss Band runs off stage and Bowie’s Turks take their place. Time for me to be Ziggy Stardust. I walk back and forth on the stage, before starting to sing a Capella ‘Rock n Roll Suicide’ The band slowly comes in as I approach the front of the stage

Time takes a cigarette, puts it in your mouth
You pull on your finger, then another finger, then your cigarette
The wall-to-wall is calling, it lingers, then you forget


‘Ohhh, you’re a rock ‘n’ roll suicide


You’re too old to lose it, too young to choose it
And the clocks waits so patiently on your song
You walk past a cafe but you can’t eat when you’ve lived too long


Oh, no, no, no, you’re a rock ‘n’ roll suicide


Chev brakes are snarling as you stumble across the road
But the day breaks instead so you hurry home
Don’t let the sun blast your shadow
Don’t let the milk float ride your mind
They’re so natural – religiously unkind


Oh no love! you’re not alone


You’re watching yourself but you’re too unfair
You got your head all tangled up but if I could only make you care
Oh no love! you’re not alone
No matter what or who you’ve been
No matter when or where you’ve seen
All the knives seem to lacerate your brain
I’ve had my share, I’ll help you with the pain


You’re not alone


Just turn on with me and you’re not alone
Let’s turn on with me and you’re not alone
Let’s turn on and be not alone
Gimme your hands cause you’re wonderful
Gimme your hands cause you’re wonderful
Oh gimme your hands.’

Written By David Bowie

Offstage Bowie backs me up with ‘you’re wonderful’ over and over again.

I don’t dare stop for applause, knowing those who see me as a Bowie imposter will boo as they did when the Knobs did Marc Bolan songs. I go right into ‘Hang onto Yourselves’

Come on, come on
We really got a good thing going
Come on, come on
If you think we’re gonna make it
You better hang on to yourself

We can’t dance, we don’t talk much, we just ball and play
Then we move like tigers on Vaseline
Well, the bitter comes out better on a stolen guitar
You’re the blessed, we’re the Spiders From Mars

Come on, come on
We really got a good thing going
Come on, come on
If you think we’re gonna make it
You better hang on to yourself

C’mon

Come on, come on
Really got a good thing going
Come on, come on
If you think we’re gonna make it
You better hang on to yourself

Come on, come on
We really got a good thing going
Come on, come on
If you think we’re gonna make it
You better hang on to yourself’

Songwriters: David Bowie

Hang On to Yourself lyrics © Tintoretto Music, Chrysalis Music Ltd

I grab a guitar and play the intro to ‘Ziggy Stardust’

‘Oh

Oh, yeah

Ziggy played guitar….

Making love with his ego
Ziggy sucked up into his mind, ah
Like a leper messiah
When the kids had killed the man
I had to break up the band

Oh, yeah

Ooh

Ziggy played guitar’

Produced by Ken Scott & David Bowie

Cries of ‘No’ ring out from the audience.

I go immediately into ‘Five Years’

‘And it was cold and it rained, so I felt like an actor
And I thought of Ma and I wanted to get back there
Your face, your race, the way that you talk
I kiss you, you’re beautiful, I want you to walk

We’ve got five years, stuck on my eyes
Five years, what a surprise
We’ve got five years, my brain hurts a lot
Five years, that’s all we’ve got’

Produced byDavid Bowie & Ken Scott

I am crying at the end, crocodile tears for crocodile years.

Time for decadence, ‘Diamond Dogs’

The wire hauls me into the air and over the kids in front

‘This ain’t rock’n’roll, this is genocide

As they pulled you out of the oxygen tent
You asked for the latest party
With your silicone hump and your ten inch stump
Dressed like a priest you was
Todd Browning’s freak you was…

In the year of the scavenger, the season of the bitch
Sashay on the boardwalk, scurry to the ditch
Just another future song, lonely little kitsch
(There’s gonna be sorrow) try and wake up tomorrow

I’ll keep a friend serene
(Will they come?)
Oh baby, come unto me
(Will they come?)
Well, she’s come, been and gone
Come out of the garden, baby
You’ll catch your death in the fog
Young girl, they call them the Diamond Dogs
Young girl, they call them the Diamond Dogs
Oo-oo-ooh, call them the Diamond Dogs
Oo-oo-ooh, call them the Diamond Dogs

Bow-wow, woof woof, bow-wow, wow
Call them the Diamond Dogs
Dogs
Call them the Diamond Dogs, call them, call them
Call them the Diamond Dogs, call them, call them, ooo
Call them the Diamond Dogs

Keep cool
Diamond Dogs rule, ok
Hey-hey-hey-hey
Beware of the Diamond Dogs
Beware of the Diamond Dogs
Beware of the Diamond Dogs

Songwriters: David Bowie

Diamond Dogs lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Tintoretto Music

The wire jerks me back and forth as I simulate humping in the air.

I land. The band does an interlude. Some applause. They want decadence. I give them ‘Jean Genie’

‘Poor little Greenie

Ohh
Hoo, ooo, ooo
Give up now

Jean Genie lives on his back
The Jean Genie loves chimney stacks
He’s outrageous
(Jean Genie)
He screams and he bawls
Jean Genie, let yourself go
Ooo, oww…

(Aah)
Loves to be loved
(Aah)
Loves to be loved..

(Jean Genie)
He screams and he bawls
Jean Genie let yourself go
Ooo, oww
Go, go, go’

Songwriters: Bowie David

The Jean Genie lyrics © Chrysalis Music Ltd., Tintoretto Music, Chrysalis Music Ltd, Rzo Music Ltd

Time for ‘Suffragette City’ as I hump the mic and pelvis thrust the audience

‘Hey man, oh leave me alone you know
Hey man, oh Henry, get off the phone, I gotta
Hey man, I gotta straighten my face
This mellow thighed chick just put my spine out of place
Hey man, my schooldays insane
Hey man, my work’s down the drain
Hey man, well she’s a total blam-blam
She said she had to squeeze it but she then she….

There’s only room for one and here she comes, here she comes

Oh don’t lean on me man, ’cause you can’t afford the ticket
I’m back on Suffragette City’

Produced byKen Scott & David Bowie

Maybe the audience is won over or deluded that they are seeing the real Bowie. I am getting a real response. Should I be happy that they think I’m Bowie, or at least Ziggy Stardust. I am ready for my finale, ‘Panic in Detroit.’ I grab my guitar and the wire pulls me into the air

‘…Having scored a trillion dollars, made a run back home
Found him slumped across the table, a gun and me alone
I ran to the window, looked for a plane or two
Panic in Detroit, he’d left me an autograph
“Let me collect dust, ” I wish someone would phone
Panic in Detroit
Panic in Detroit
Panic in Detroit

Ow’

The real Bowie flies down from the rafters. The band plays on. We revive our aerial battle, each playing leads and swinging in circles around each other. We trade leads and it builds to a crescendo until the wires cross and we tangle and dangle high above the stage. We play together and slowly circle each other until the wires untangle. I rise to the rafters as Bowie returns to earth.

‘Alright’, the world has returned to reality. Except Bowie is now dressed as the Thin White Duke.

Duncan comes running out, still dressed as a Sufi all in white.

‘Da” he runs into Bowie’s arms, “Sing me a song, pleeeese.”

“What’s your favorite song, Duncan?”

“You know, Da. My good night song, ‘Prettiest Star,”

David takes out an acoustic, strumming the opening

‘Staying back in your memory
Are the movies in the dark
How you moved is all it takes
To sing a song of when I loved
The prettiest star
One day though it might as well be someday
You and I will rise up all the way
All because of what you are
The prettiest star’

“Do I have to go to sleep now. Da?’

“How about a song for all the people here?” Bowie indicates the audience. “What do you think they want to hear, Duncan?”

“Everyone loves ‘Heroes, Da. You gotta play that.”

“We’ll do it together?”

“Sure, Da. Can Amar and Emile come out and dance?”

“And all the Sufis?”

“Sure, Da.”

Out troop the Dervish and form a circle. David starts his hit

‘We could steal time just for one day
We can be heroes for ever and ever
What d’you say?

I, I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins, like dolphins can swim
Though nothing, nothing will keep us together
We can beat them, for ever and ever
Oh we can be Heroes, just for one day…’

Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh, just for one day’

Mike grabs Duncan and they both moonwalk back and forth on the stage. The Sufi circle them and Duncan is suddenly flying and spinning into the air, back and forth, side to side, caught in midair and thrown back at the other side.

As we near the end of the set I descend to the stage and grab a guitar to duet with Bowie on ‘Fame’

The spotlight is on David

‘Fame (fame) makes a man take things over
Fame (fame) lets him lose hard to swallow
Fame (fame) puts you there where things are hollow
Fame (fame)
Fame not your brain it’s just the flame
That puts your change to keep you sane (sane)’

The spotlight switches to me

‘Fame (fame)
Fame (fame) what you like is in the limo
Fame (fame) what you get is no tomorrow
Fame (fame) what you need you have to borrow
Fame (fame)’

Spotlight on Bowie

‘Is it any wonder you are too cool to fool
Fame (fame)
Fame bully for you chilly for me
Got to get a rain check on pain
(Pain)’

Spotlights on both of us

‘Fame
Fame fame fame fame fame
Fame fame fame fame fame
Fame fame fame fame fame
Fame fame fame fame fame
Fame fame fame
Fame
What’s your name?
What’s your name?
What’s your name?…’

David Bowie

The duet works and we get applause.

Freddie walks out. The applause doubles and doubles again.

“What is the problem? You grab the fame spotlight but want to give it away now?”

“I want Laz to be Ziggy. I want to be me again.”

“Why would anyone want to be a space alien, even just on stage?”

“He’s nineteen. He doesn’t know better.”

“I stand there in the spotlight waving my hands, trying to speak for myself, to no avail.

“The pressure getting to you”

“That’s why I did that Turkish reggae song.

“Let’s do that reggae song we always sing together?’

“Pressure Drop?”

“Hopefully, on you.”

The Queen musicians take their place. Deacy starts off with the simple bass riff

‘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.
Pressure.’

Bowie bows. He and I fly to the rafters. Halfway up we meet, Bowie kisses me on the cheek. We disappear together.

Next:

Note:

Actual news report of the Earl’s Court Concerts (You do know this account is fictional)