The Teenage Brain

Now then,

if I seem to be sitting a bit gingerly, it is because I am ‘recovering’ from my bowel screening procedure. This is where they stick a camera up where the sun doesn’t shine (and I’m not talking about Greenland in the winter here) and look around for any pre- cancerous polyps. It feels like they forgot to take it off its tripod.

And then, when it’s over, like the log flume at Chessington World of Adventures, they give you a photograph! What are you supposed to do with it? Frame it, as ‘My Rectum’ and put it on the mantelpiece?

Anyway, I’m getting distracted. On to the Teenage Brain.

Not a very inspiring topic to write about I can hear you say, as there doesn’t seem to be much going on in many of them.

But you would be wrong. The Teenage Brain is an awesome piece of electro-chemical engineering. Specifically that period between

a) language aquisiton, the development of the skills to decode and navigate complex social and environmental situations. And

b) the discovery of alchohol.

I’ll explain what I mean.

Back in 1974 long before Lady Ga Ga was invented and I was fourteen, I borrowed the David Bowie album ‘Diamond Dogs’ from a friend for a week or so. We did that back then. I, like a lot of people was a big Bowie fan. I had ‘Space Oddity’ ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ ‘ Ziggy Stardust’ and ‘Pin Ups’ and found I loved ‘Diamond Dogs.’ Bowie’s vision of a dystopian post-apocalyptic world inspired in part by Orwell’s 1984. It was duly returned. I didn’t record it, because I didn’t have a cassette recorder and I didn’t buy the album either because I was too skint. Anyway the point is that during the week I immersed myself in the record but apart from the single ‘Rebel Rebel’ I haven’t listened to any of the songs from, or owned a copy of the album since.

Fast Forward forty two years (forty two!) to January 2016 and the news of Bowie’s death. I found myself looking on You Tube for something appropriate to mark the great man’s passing and came across the full album version of ‘Diamond Dogs’ and put it on. From the moment it started playing I began to sing along, and was astonished to find that I was able to recall the song lyrics word for word without even thinking about them. They had imprinted themselves on my still-developing brain back in 1974.

Who says there’s nothing worthwhile going on inside TheTeenage Brain?

Intereresting factlets: my sources (Wikepedia) tell me that ‘Diamond Dogs’ was originally conceived as a stage verion of ‘1984’, but the Orwell family would not release the rights. The sessions were held over the tail end of 1973 and early ’84 and mark Bowie’s last collaboration with Mick Ronson, although Ronson didn’t play on the album. In fact, apart from ‘When You Rock and Roll With me’ (Earl Slick) and ‘1984’ and ‘Rebel Rebel’ (session man Alan Parker uncredited for the latter) Bowie, as well as all the keyboards plays all the guitar parts. which makes for a kind of amateur-ish, garage band feel about the LP.

This ain’t Rock and Roll. This is genocide!

So now you know.

Andy Daly

2016

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