After Bowie

It was Sunday morning around 1978 or so and everyone’s weekend was decomposing in the cigarette stink of other peoples’ basements. But Danny, still wearing mascara and glitter, wandered, not quite ready for square Monday morning although it crouched in curtained windows and closed shop doors, lurked at each sterile street corner. Guarding the status-quiet like a dull-eyed concrete dog, Sunday was Cerberus of Normal’s return.

Danny knew what it was to be disappointed by your own ugliness, and just how destructive it was to disbelieve in your own beauty. But the brutal sameness of street after street – that irresistible conformity was the gravity well toward which each weekend plunged. Its inevitability demanded doubt in one’s self, just as its return proclaimed the rule of sameness: sack lunches and school haircuts and JV sports, station-wagons and Sunday afternoon barbecues and especially the message : no weirdoes allowed.

But during the week there was always a chance you’d overhear a snatch of boogie on a passing transistor radio or see, on Sunday morning, a closed record store window with a scrap of torn poster in one corner. There were always affirmations of the weird: subtle chimeras waiting to rise like night-blooms among the everyday. Such pop culture clues to our identity never lasted long before being painted over or torn down, which just made them all the more precious.

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