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15 August 2018
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Saturday, 23rd June 2012
A face of the seventies
David Bowie Live Santa Monica '72
It was 1972, my first year at art college and at nights I’d lie on the sofa, in the living room (also my bedroom) of a tiny house I shared with 3 others, and drift into another world – the world of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – where all men were stick-thin, wore makeup and tight clothes. 

David Bowie was my first role model. I starved myself to achieve his androgynous physique. I was 6ft tall, weighed 140lb and became an expert in makeup. 

Flash forward 40 years – I’m sprawled on my Charles Eames recliner, watching the tv on my 40” flat screen Sony when my idol from yesteryear appears on the screen. David Bowie and the Story of Ziggy Stardust on BBC 4 held me transfixed. The music brought another life sharply back into focus. Two thirds of the way through, an image of a poster flashed on the screen, promoting his gig in Santa Monica – the concert that introduced him to America and made him into a global superstar. What made me leap from my Charles Eames recliner was the recognition of an old friend! The typeface used on the poster was one I’d designed as a student in 1975. I’d had a couple of my favourite Johny Walkers earlier but how could that be? The concert was in 1972. 

After the programme had finished, I searched Google and discovered the Album of the concert (originally a bootleg) had been released much later. The typeface was produced originally as a rub-down transfer and so on the poster and album cover there’s a few weird things going on with alignment and the odd character upside down – but it’s quirky, of its time – a bit like Mr Bowie!