Scary Monsters 1980


I only need to shave half of my face now. Pretty much. The other half has no stubble. In some places I’m almost completely clean shaven each morning. It makes a neat line down the middle of my face like in an ad showing the efficiency of the latest razor.

Boy, is it the latest razor. Makes me think of when David Bowie had some sort of electrolysis thing done to his face so that his facial hair wouldn’t grow and he’d never have to shave again.

Which reminds me of a very important story.

In 1980 Paul Allen, one of our neighborhood outcasts, was forced to attend a school assembly at Roosevelt Junior High. He was in 9th grade. The Reagan thing had just started and the school program had something to do with morals and values. Paul with his long blond hair and goofy clothes was thinking privately to himself that it was one of the weirdest things he’d ever been to. MIdway through the program, the speaker flashed up a slide image of the latest David Bowie album cover – “Scary Monsters”, I think it was.

Whoa, Paul thought. Now this is getting interesting. Bowie was wearing some kind of cool makeup that made him look his usual androgynous self. Nice, Paul thought.

Just LOOK at HIM!!!, the speaker suddenly barked out to the packed auditorium. You can’t even tell if he is a MAN or a WOMAN!!!

EEEEEWWWWWWWWWW, the entire audience of eighth and ninth graders jeered.

1 thought on “Scary Monsters 1980

  1. Hi Andy,

    It’s been a long time since we last spoke. Scott hipped me on to this post and your blog. It’s funny, I had just written about this on my Facebook page last month. I was commenting on an interactive feature about 5 Albums That Shaped Me. I listed Scary Monsters as one because it’s my favorite Bowie album:

    “I had more Bowie albums than any other artist when I was a teenager. I’m not sure why. He was so creative, and certainly transcended the homogeneity that surrounded me in San Diego. I went to a fundamentalist Christian high school connected to the Moral Majority for one semester. One of the teacher’s aides was a former druggie turned born again right-wing freak who led a few (forced) seminars on how bad and unChristian rock ‘n’ roll was. When he put up a slide of the cover of Young Americans with its photo of Bowie wearing some makeup and looking androgynous, a huge collective “eewww” rose up from the kids at the seminar. That’s when I knew just how brainwashed these kids had become and resolved to get the hell out of there. (They asked me to leave anyway because I flunked bible class).”

    Ray Brandes (do you know him? he knew/knows the Stoups) wrote:

    “Love the commentary, Paul. I remember those Moral Majority types in the early eighties. They used to show up wherever three or more kids were gathered and try and convince them that all rock and roll was a tool of Satan.”

    To which I responded:

    “I didn’t know they did outreach, although I remember having attractive young women (accompanied by a somewhat older man nearby I didn’t notice at first) trying to convert me on the street.

    The head of the board that ran the school, who was also the pastor of the affiliated church was Tim Lahaye, who moved to Washington D.C. to do some sort of right wing Christian leadership thing there. He also authored some best selling science fiction/right wing Christian books. My mom, who’s working on being an author, said she tried to read one but the writing was awful. I just looked up his site and found one of the books of the scifi/christian series, written in 2006, in which an attack by the Russians on Israel is a big part of the plot.

    When I was going to that school, it was clear that the 3 R’s were of secondary importance to spreading the word. And intertwined with religion was a right wing politics.”

    Andy, was it Alison who was murdered? That’s terrible.

    I hope you’re getting well even if the treatment is awful.

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