Photography by Chris Duffy
I was 11 when he came on [BBC chart show] Top of the Pops singing “Starman,” and he languidly straightened his arm around his beautiful blonde lead guitarist. Of course, it was all artful. What a wonderful moment of education to see this strange alien bisexual come from another planet to save us. I was just entering puberty, so I felt strange. I think I’ve always been bisexual, essentially, and there have been long periods of my life where I’ve identified as exclusively gay. I’ve always had a sense of curiosity that that moment in Bowie’s career sort of encapsulated—it was all about possibility, really. And it was all about sexual liberation, but sexual liberation at the time didn’t look sexy enough. You know, the ’70s were quite a gloomy time. But Bowie looked fabulous, and I think there was a feeling of that’s what you could become yourself. That’s what brought me to him.
Jake Arnott is the author of The Long Firm, Johnny Come Home, and the forthcoming The House of Rumour.