October 1: glam rock and me

I was too old to be seduced by the zaniness of glam rock. I was a boy with nothing much to kick against and did not see the point of men dressing up in bright silver costumes and wearing glitter on their face. It alienated me. I liked reassuring things like Val Doonican singing in a jumper on a rocking chair. The other day I went on youtube to see, out of curiosity, if Gary Glitter was there and listen to Rock and Roll part two, which in my memory was pretty good, though at the time I didn’t like it. The footage of him on Top of the Pops was there and had one and a half million views. I remember once Mr and Mrs Shield, who were a bald man and his blond wife with a face like a bag of spanners, told someone that Gary Glitter had been to their house and they had made him either a soup or a suit (there was ambiguity in the message that got through to us). Why would Gary Glitter be getting a soup or a suit from Mr and Mrs Shield of all people. It was unfathomable to me. I like all that glam rock stuff now. T Rex, Sweet, early Bowie, Slade. Somehow as a middle aged man I am more in tune with their playful devil-may-care anarchy now than I was as a not very rebellious child. It is odd when you listen to the soundtrack of your childhood. You love it for nostalgic reasons and pick up on the mood and intent more now than then. I must have been a puritanical child. Slade all seemed to have such a great time on stage, taking the piss out of the lip syncing they were required to do. These boys were not in the same business of the marketing men. They were just having fun and if the syncing looked like shit so be it. These days the stars do marketing. Riannah, Beyonce, Katy Perry are mainly business people. Gary Glitter, on the other hand, was a pied piper chanting elemental rhythms with people feeding off his sorcery. There was somethng raw and elemental about it. I wonder why Gary Glitter was round at Mr and Mrs Shield’s house that night. They didn’t have children I don’t think, and I had never heard of their proficency in the suit or soup department. Now if it had been Val Doonican going round to Mr and Mrs Shield’s house for soup or a suit I might have understood, but I could not think that Gary Glitter would be interested in soup and it wouldn’t surely be a silver jewel-incrusted jumpsuit that Mrs Shield had been tailoring. Who knows? Fom the depths of the Thai prison where he is purging his 16 year sentence for sex with an underage child, could it be that Gary Glitter’s dreams spiral round that remarkable soup he once tasted in the early to mid 70s on Woodbank ave, Offerton, Stockport.

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