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Customer Review

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less than the sum of its parts, 15 July 2012
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This review is from: When Ziggy Played Guitar: David Bowie and Four Minutes that Shook the World (Hardcover)
I am of a similar age to Dylan Jones and find his work on GQ very entertaining. Like Dylan Jones, I too witnessed those magical 4 minutes on TOTP first time round I and have been a lifelong fan of Bowie since then. So hot on the heels of the recent BBC4 Documentary on Ziggy Stardust, I was really looking forward to this book. Certainly on first glance it looked great that is until I noticed that the same photograph had been reproduced 3 times - but that's a minor niggle it's the actual content that baffled me.

I found the book frustrating in that it couldn't make its mind up what it wanted to be - was it an examination of Britain in the 70's, a historical treatise on Bowie and the Ziggy phenomenon or a personal memoir? - for me these elements failed to mesh into a cohesive whole. It offered no great insights that most Bowie fans were not already aware of. This is especially strange given that Jones admits to having met and interviewed Bowie on several occasions. Most of the quotes seemed to be gleaned from other people's interviews or source material like the Storytellers broadcast.

The book just didn't seem to have a structure. Yes it's important to set the scene and place it and Bowie within a personal context, but not throughout the book. I found myself willing the book to get on with the story, there would be tantalising glimpses into the Bowie circle, which got hamstrung by another personal reminiscence of the 1972 album chart or a visit to the hairdressers or some such. By the time we finally got to the main meat of the book..it was over. It rather reminded me of someone in a pub recounting an anecdote that they felt was necessary to embellish and expand before they got to the punchline.

I'm sure this book was put together with love, but to me it just looked like a scrapbook of random facts and reminiscences stitched together with little regard for cohesion and continuity.
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