I don't usually buy The Mail on Sunday (or on any other day of the week, for that matter). Why would I? It's a nasty, confused rag written by nasty, confused people, all of whom only ever write about people and events they don't like and contradict themselves on every page. But in the name of ardent, obsessive fan worship, today I made an exception: 'iSelect - David Bowie's own choice of the 12 greatest tracks of his career on one brilliant CD!', screamed the headline on the cover, alongside a picture of the man himself at the height of Ziggy mania (and a smaller, black and white one lifted from the 'Changes' photo session, just for good measure). £1.50, for 'The Bewlay Brothers', 'Win', 'Lady Grinning Soul' and 'Fantastic Voyage' (one of my favourite ever Bowie songs) all on the same CD, alongside rarities such as 'Repetition', 'Some Are' and even 'Time Will Crawl'. Sold, to the woman with no principles whatsoever when it comes to collecting yet more Bowie-abilia. And of course, it's an ace collection, nicely paced and hugely satisfying. But here's the best bit:
In TMOS2 - which pertains to be the 'culture' section, hahaha - David reveals ("in his own words") the "fascinating stories behind the songs he personally selected for this unique CD"). And when they say "in his own words", it's clear that they really, really mean it. I can't see a Mail journalist coming up with a sentence like this: " I was looking to create a profligate world that could have been inhabited by characters from Kurt Weill or John Rechy - a bridge between Enid Blyton's Beckenham and The Velvet Underground's New York" ('Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing'). Or this: "This is not, you may be speechless to learn, an ode to Winfred Atwell" ('Lady Grinning Soul'). Or my favourite: "Images of the failed Napoleonic force stumbling back through Smolensk, finding the unburied corpses of their comrades left from their original advance in Moscow. Or possibly a snowman with a carrot for a nose; a crumpled Crystal Palace Football Club admission ticket at his feet - a Weltschmerz indeed" ('Some Are'). But even if a Mail journalist were to write such overblown, camp, highly embellished sentences ... can you imagine what a typical reader would make of such literary brouhaha? For Mail readers - judging from today's edition, anyway - gobble up headlines such as 'BBC's golden couple split!', 'Drug Addicts behind 3bn increase in disability benefit' and 'Golden Oldie Claudia still making waves at Chanel' (that'll be Claudia Schiffer, at 37 years old deemed to be the 'old lady' of the supermodel brigade). Elsewhere, Mariella Frostrup (another hero of mine) is referred to as an 'ageing frump', Susan Pinker states that it's 'a woman's right to choose a less well paid job' and Peter Hitchens points out that he doesn't care about Zimbabwe 'and neither do you'. Oh, and Paris Hilton is the cover girl on the glossy magazine. And in the middle of it all ... David Bowie, emoting in the wild, wonderful, ridiculous way that only he can.
So forgive me, won't you, my own little Schadenfreude moment (with a word like that, I know that David would): Mail readers are also offered the opportunity to buy the once extremely rare (until this month, only available on bootleg) CD of 'David Bowie Live in Santa Monica '72' (yes, fans - the ultimate 'Ziggy' moment), which isn't officially released until the end of July. Well nyeah, nyeah - I've already got it. But then again, I'm currently amongst the top bidders on ebay, hussling for 'the last cigarette Bowie ever smoked in his Ziggy persona', which might be mine for the bargain price of 72 dollars. Whether that makes me a sadder person than even a regular Daily Mail reader, I don't know (and frankly I don't care, because hey, I'm happy!). And the joy I'm experiencing today from (a) my new CD, and (b) David Bowie's pompous track-by-track notes knows no bounds - it's the sort of joy that could only be overtaken by the arrival of Whoopi, my own little Diamond Dog.
Altogether now: Bom-bom-bom-de-bombom-thrummm! "In the event that this fantastic voyage ..." (etc, etc, ad infinitum).