David and Marc, older, richer, and more coked-up

David and Marc, older, richer, and more coked-up

This month’s book club selection is Bowie: A Biography by Marc Spitz. (Is he any relation to Bob Spitz, author of the gigantic Beatles book it took me the better part of a year to get through? I am mildly curious, but not enough to actually do any research.) My favorite factoid so far: In the years while David was still David Jones, his friend Marc Feld, later known as Bolan, briefly toyed with the name “Bowland.” It would have been Bowland and Bowie, and then maybe Iggy Stooge would have changed his name to “Bowery” and they would have formed a trio.

I also loved this anecdote about the first time they met:

It’s now hard to believe but the meeting of these two rock icons was as humble as it could have possibly been. Les Conn, managing both Bolan and Jones, had promised both future icons some much-needed spending money to whitewash his office.

“Both Marc and I were out of work,” Bowie would later recall, “and we met when we poured into the manager’s office to whitewash the walls. So there’s me and this mod whitewashing the office and he goes, ‘Where’s you get those shoes, man?’ And I asked, ‘Where’d you get your shirt?’ We immediately started talking about clothes and sewing machines. ‘Oh, I’m gonna be a singer and I’m gonna be so big you’re not gonna believe it, man.’ ‘Oh right. Well I’ll probably write a musical for you one day then ’cause I’m gonna be the greatest writer ever.’ ‘No no, man, you gotta hear my stuff ’cause I write great things and I knew a wizard in Paris!’ It was all this. Just whitewashing walls in our manager’s office.”

This is the kind of image that amuses me no end, two young, skinny, overdressed aspiring rock stars doing manual labor and talking shit. To quote another famous Bowie associate, “Those were different times.”