Bowie by Wendy Leigh Read Free Book Online

Book: Bowie by Wendy Leigh Read Free Book Online
Authors: Wendy Leigh
monitored religiously on the short-wave radio purchased for him by his father, John encouraged him to write to the U.S. Navy’s London headquarters, detailing his passion for football and asking if they could send him some magazines about the sport.
    David’s letter, as masterminded by his father, elicited not only American football magazines but the gift of a helmet, a set of shoulder pads, and a football. Whereupon John immediately wrote a press release and sent it to a local newspaper, which duly published the story about young David Jones and his fascinating preoccupation with American football.
    Fortunately for David, one of his other primary interests, art, was fueled by the head of Bromley Technical High School’s art department, Owen Frampton, whose son, Peter Frampton, would find fame as a guitar player and go on the road with David on his Glass Spider tour, and also play on his Never Let Me Down record.
    “David was quite unpredictable,” Owen Frampton remembered. “He was completely misunderstood by most of my teaching colleagues, but in those days, cults were unfashionable and David, by the age of fourteen, was already a cult figure.
    “I was thoroughly used to very individualistic pupils and was rarely surprised by anything that occurred. Even when David varied the color of his hair or cropped it short, or plucked his eyebrows, I accepted his actions as a means of projecting his personality, and of that he had plenty!”
    By the age of thirteen, David was engaging, handsome, and charming, and girls were already flocking to him like homing pigeons. On a school trip to Spain, such was his sex appeal that afterward, in a school magazine article, he was dubbed “Don Jones, the lover, last seen pursued by thirteen senoritas.”
    Aware of his power over girls, even in his early teens, David manifested a streak of ruthlessness whenever a girl took his fancy, riding roughshod over any competition. When he double-dated, he thoughtnothing of jettisoning the particular girl he was with in favor of the girl who was with the other boy in the foursome, whereupon that girl immediately went off with him, lamblike, leaving the girl he was supposed to be dating feeling rejected, lost, and alone.
    However, his propensity for assuming that any girl was fair game for him, no matter who else had already laid claim to her, led to one of the most seminal events in his life. In the spring of 1961, when David was just fourteen years old, a girl named Carol would inadvertently be the architect of the first tragedy of his life—one that would ultimately become the cornerstone of his image, and in many ways would lend him his unique trademark aura of dreamy otherworldliness.
    His classmate and best friend George Underwood had fixed his amorous attentions on Carol, then still at school, and arranged a date with her. David, who had designs on Carol himself, told a massive lie to George, declaring that Carol wasn’t interested in George and therefore wouldn’t be going on the date he had set up with her.
    When George learned the truth, outraged, he took a swing at David and caught him in the eye. David stumbled and fell down. At first, George assumed that he was kidding, as the punch hadn’t been hard. But by some malevolent quirk of fate, his punch had caught David’s left eye at an odd angle and scratched the eyeball, causing the muscle that contracts the iris to become paralyzed.
    The end result was that, even to this day, David’s left pupil remains permanently dilated, giving that eye the appearance of being a different color from his right eye. It also left him with damaged depth perception, so that when he drove, cars didn’t come toward him but just appeared to get bigger.
    His unmatched eyes also lent his gaze a hypnotic quality, and although it took him some time to adjust to the fact that his eyes were no longer identical, and he thought that he looked “weird,” he admitted, “I quite enjoyed that as a badge of

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