I still remember very clearly seeing David Bowie do Starman with the Spiders From Mars on Top Of The Pops 2 in the mid-90s. I was watching with my dad, like millions did when it was first broadcast, he didn't squirm of make any remarks about the interaction between Bowie and Ronson though, I think he noticed I was transfixed. That was the moment it all changed.
Before then I was always in to music, at that stage I was a huge fan of The Clash (still am), but was very narrow in my tastes. Seeing Bowie on TOTP2 opened up a whole new world, I obsessively collected everything I could get my hands on - albums, bootlegs, magazine articles, everything. I'd just started at college and we had free reign to go on the internet as we pleased (this was before everybody had it at home), and spent my days printing out photos of him for a scrapbook, which I still have. At that stage I was still getting money from my parents for lunch, and during one of my many days killing time in the sadly long-gone Gumbies record shop I noticed a copy of The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars. I think it was about £10, more money than I had anyway. So for the next week I only bought Polos to eat at lunch and saved the rest to buy that album. After finally getting it home, all the hunger pangs I'd felt were a distant memory.
Not only did he create some of the most extraordinary music, he was always turning people on to great things, through his patronage, covers or occasional production work - Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground, Mott The Hoople, Iggy Pop, Goldie, Pixies, the list is endless. It was via Bowie I became obsessed with The Velvet Underground, The Stooges and Krautrock, through them I got in to other things, and so on, and so on. It was via Bowie I first read JG Ballard and saw the films of Nic Roeg. Through Bowie I heard Klaus Nomi. Through Bowie it all happened.
Bowie was the north star.