on 4 October 2013
This book weaves the story of Ziggy from the time of the Big Bang to his death at Hammersmith Odeon. He examines all the influences that went into his creation-musical, cultural, biological, chemical.........everything.
It's not really about Bowie-this is Ziggy's story.
Each page is riddled with references which possibly only Bowiephiles will understand-which, when you read them, makes you want to turn to someone to giggle and discuss. (Unfortunatly, the gent in the seat next to you on the train may not appreciate this.)
For example, he is writing about the rise of Elvis, and mentions that the record he is discussing was relesed in cerise pink, but adds it was more red hot red. The book is absoluty full of these oblique references-which possibly only a Bowiephile would understand) and is an absolute joy to read.
The death of Ziggy is particularly well written from inside Bowie/Ziggy's head.
It's humerous, hilarious, insightful, informative, sometimes fanciful, but more than that, it's such bloody good fun!!
Best book I've read in ages and is most definatly up there with Pegg and Trynka.
on 21 May 2014
This, along with 'The Complete David Bowie' by Nicholas Pegg and 'Any Day Now: The London Years' by Kevin Cann, is, in my opinion, essential reading for any Bowie Fan.
While the Pegg book is the ultimate information resource covering pretty much everything in his career (The Next Day is not included as yet, updated version hopefully coming soon) including insightful and often witty criticism, and the Cann book a sumptuous reference work detailing the minutiae of Bowie's early years packed with great 'must-have' photos, this book is something quite different altogether.
It's an attempt to actually get into Bowie's head and see precisely where Ziggy Stardust came from (or rather, why Ziggy Stardust chose him, as the book features the not-unpleasant contrivance of treating Ziggy as a separate, genuinely alien character looking for a human host) based on Bowie's early experiences and interests. If this sounds fanciful, flippant, disrespectful, pretentious or just plain ludicrous, please please don't be put off. It's a new kind of book, and it's very good.
Yes, strictly speaking this is written like a work of fact-based science fiction, but the sci-fi element is so small (less than 1/10th of the book) as to seem obsolete on reflection. However, on first reading the sometimes surreal facts of Bowie's life are so well tied together into a well-told story you may forget that the overwhelmingly factual basis of the book ISN'T fiction.
It follows through thought processes entirely in keeping with the influences, artistry, ambitions, friendships, rivalries and business dealings we learn about in the course of reading about Bowie's early experiences. It achieves this not in a simplistic and unconvincing 'oh he got this from there, then' way, but by building up a cohesive picture which puts together all of the many, many relevant puzzle-pieces of his life and characters he met (too many to list here) which encouraged Ziggy's arrival and his own half-fictional life through to the bitter end at the Hammersmith Odeon. It tells a tale which is ultimately a psychological drama, but one which rings absolutely true and which is very heavily based on concrete fact.
It's all very well tied together and well written, so much so that I completed it in one sitting and read it again the following day. This is the closest we may come to getting inside Bowie's mind when he was arguably at the height of his powers. Superb. Just read it, I promise you'll like it, especially if you've read the other two books, which will only serve to reinforce the interpretation of the Bowie/Ziggy creature you'll find written about here. Oh, and if you like Bowie AND sci-fi, what are you waiting for?
on 29 October 2014
As a lifelong fan I’ve read my fair share of books about Mr B, the best of which are insightful and educating, the worst uninspired dull listings of facts and figures. ‘Ziggyology’ by Simon Goddard is an altogether different beast. He takes the motif of everyone’s favourite glam rock messiah and uses it as a riff over which to improvise a highly engaging mythology of eclectic characters, influences and connections.
Peppered with nodding references for the initiated, ‘Ziggyology’ straps the reader into that Gemini Spaceship and blasts us through the history of popular culture and beyond … from the Big Bang to the Hammersmith Odeon … from “Let there be light!” to “Everybody …” This is no simple historical account—it’s an astrological chart for the Starman, the “Kether to Malkuth” of the Ziggy Kabbalah. And a riveting read to boot.
As well as the expected connections from Bowie-lore (Brel, Crowley, Lou, Iggy, Mott et al) the book also features (a little unnervingly) some personal cultural memes that have buzzed around my consciousness for years now: HG Wells, “Dead of Night”, Hoagy Carmichael, “The Little Prince”, “War of the Worlds”, “Quatermass” … Roll up! Roll Up! There’s something here for everyone!
Seriously, for Bowie fans—or anyone with the vaguest interest in the ephemera of C20th popular culture—this is a must-read!
on 20 July 2013
What an informative book! I learnt about Beethoven, Jules Verne, Holst, H.G.Wells and, of course, lots about what happened in 1972/1973 in the universe of Ziggy Stardust. I became a fan when I first saw the cover of Alladin Sane and have been a Bowiephile ever since. I've read a lot about him, this book is probably the best. So interesting and entertaining. Brilliant!
on 2 September 2013
An enjoyable book about the influences behind the creation of Ziggy Stardust, interesting because it focussed exclusively on Ziggy, rather than Bowie (about whom there are already plenty of books available). The writing was a little fanciful and speculative at times, but overall a fine addition to Bowie studies, taking him seriously as one of the greatest musical artiss of the 20th century and a major influence on musical andsocial trends.
on 4 October 2014
If you like Bowie, you'll love this! A fact-filled account of the creation of an off-the-peg superstar: what were the principal influences that led to the creation of Ziggy Stardust. Written in an amusing, though inforative, manner, this is a must-have addition to any Bowie bookshelf.