Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

2. David BowieThe Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars

I’d heard ‘Starman’ on the radio before going to school, and as most lads are, I was interested in football and outer space. Something about his voice and the opening line, just that thing he’d tapped into, and it was me he was suggesting to look out the window. It’s hard to comprehend the impact he had when he came out. I turned 13 in the May of ’72 and it was such a special time and gave my life magical class. I grew up in Norris Green, skint, and what he did was give the gift of inspiration. He changed the world in loads of ways and was probably the last great special person to do that. It was head and shoulders above anything else. To come out looking like that he could have had the biggest backlash. If you ever want to see star quality watch that Top Of The Pops clip, which is what gave me the idea that you need stage presence – you don’t just need it on stage, you need it in life. I missed those years of myself, in how naïve I was, and how un-laddy I was. I was into footy and stuff, but through the Bunnymen I found my own confidence. I was thinking of getting some bangles – thank God I didn’t. The thing about Bowie is that no-one else could have pulled it off. He was hardly ever on telly, and he never went on and mimed. It was just everything about it. People who missed it must’ve been stupid. I remember after Top Of The Pops going to school and asked my mates if they’d seen it and they said, “yeah – the fucking queer.” I didn’t even see that. I didn’t see it as a sexual thing, I wouldn’t have minded if I had have done. It made some sense because I was probably more androgynous than him through my teenage years – girls would ask me if I was a boy or a girl. I’d always tell them they could put their hands down me kecks and find out. When Bowie shaved his eyebrows off I knew something was up. That’s how you can pinpoint when Ziggy ends. His hair started to change and that’s when he stopped being so from-outer-space. I’m very exact on it, because it almost broke my heart. Without Bowie, obviously I’d have been centre-forward for Liverpool.

It wouldn’t have been a bad career playing for Liverpool. I was a goal-hanging bastard. Fantastic shot, but I didn’t particularly like going into the 50-50s, the life-threateners. And my eyesight went to shite when I was 13.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Laibach, Graham Parker, Holly Johnson, Simple Minds, Alan Mcgee, Irvine Welsh
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