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Timur Muravyov
Timur Muravyov

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Described as a loose concept album and rock opera, Ziggy Stardust concerns Bowie's titular alter ego Ziggy Stardust, a fictional androgynous and bisexual rock star who is sent to Earth as a saviour before an impending apocalyptic disaster. In its story, Ziggy wins the hearts of fans but suffers a fall from grace after succumbing to his own ego. The character was inspired by numerous musicians, including singers Vince Taylor and Iggy Pop. Most of the album's concept was developed after the songs were recorded. The glam rock and proto-punk musical styles were influenced by Pop, the Velvet Underground, and Marc Bolan of T. Rex, while the lyrics discuss the artificiality of rock music, political issues, drug use, sexual orientation and stardom. The album cover, photographed in monochrome and recoloured, was taken in London, outside the home of furriers "K. West".

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The album's lyrics discuss the artificiality of rock music in general, political issues, drug use, sexual orientation and stardom.[41][20] Stephen Thomas Erlewine described the lyrics as "fractured, paranoid" and "evocative of a decadent, decaying future".[29] Apart from the narrative, "Star" reflects Bowie's idealisations of becoming a star himself and shows his frustrations at not having fulfilled his potential.[42] On the other hand, "It Ain't Easy" has nothing to do with the overarching narrative.[31][43] The outtakes "Velvet Goldmine" and "Sweet Head" did fit the narrative, but both contained provocative lyrics, which likely contributed to their exclusions.[44][45] Meanwhile, "Suffragette City" contains a false ending, followed by the phrase "wham bam, thank you, ma'am!"[46][47] Bowie uses American slang and pronunciations throughout, such as "news guy", "cop" and "TV" (instead of "newsreader", "policeman" and "telly", respectively).[48][49] Richard Cromelin of Rolling Stone called Bowie's imagery and storytelling in the track some of his most "adventuresome" up to that point,[47] while James Parker of The Atlantic called Bowie "one of the most potent lyricists in rock history".[35]

In promotion of Ziggy Stardust, Bowie began touring. The first part started in the UK and ran from 29 January to 7 September 1972.[135] A show at the Toby Jug pub in Tolworth on 10 February of the same year was hugely popular, catapulting him to stardom and creating, as described by Buckley, a "cult of Bowie".[136] Bowie retained the Ziggy character for the tour. His love of acting led his total immersion in the characters he created for his music. After acting the same role over an extended period, it became impossible for him to separate Ziggy from his own offstage character. Bowie said that Ziggy "wouldn't leave me alone for years. That was when it all started to go sour ... My whole personality was affected. It became very dangerous. I really did have doubts about my sanity."[137]

Inspired by the controversial EC Comics of the 1940s, artists of the late 1960s SanFrancisco counterculture community began publishing uncensored comics dubbed"comix," with the "x" standing for X-rated. With drug influenced and politicallycharged content, these new comix pushed the boundaries in every respect, and withina year of the first major publications in 1967, every head shop in the country wasselling underground comix. Early titles like Zap and the Fabulous Furry FreakBrothers drew a strong following and were reprinted many times over. For a while,the obscenity and copyright infringement lawsuits brought against comics like AirPirates Funnies and Nasty Tales didn't seem to harm underground sales, but by themid 1970s the "head shops" were disappearing and the remaining undergroundpublishing houses could no longer turn a profit. Coinciding with the birth of punkmusic in 1977, the underground genre lost popularity as readers turned to theupcoming trend of New Wave comics. Apart from the work of artists like Robert Crumband Gilbert Shelton, who continued to produce the same style of comix after 1977 asthey did at the peak of the movement, experimental and uncensored comics from thattime forward came to be known as "alternative comics".


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