Like every other kid I had a best friend at primary school. We did everything together until he disappeared one day. Not sure if anyone ever told us why. As far as I remember our teacher just explained in very neutral, meaningless terms. Different stories circulated on the schoolyard. The most popular one was that his father committed suicide and that he moved to another town to live with his mother. We all knew his parents were divorced. Not that common in mid 70’s. Don’t know if the suicide story was true; gruesome stories and fantasies can easily fill a kid’s mind. I think it was winter when I last saw my best friend. It was winter or it just felt cold and dark, maybe I just transformed a feeling into a season.
His father owned a copy of David Bowie’s Low. It was brand new, so probably it was 1977 or 1978 at the time. I know we listened to it at their place. Were we impressed? I don’t really know. Did we listen to it more than once? Definitely. Low’s record sleeve had something magic. It shows Bowie’s profile against an orange backdrop. We were fascinated by this beautiful, alien like creature, with his orange hair, set against a post-apocalyptic orange glow. My first encounter with ‘the man who fell to earth’.
I saw a young woman the other day wearing that exact t-shirt. It made me smile. Not because young people apparently still love David Bowie. No, just because of seeing that beautiful alien again, and my primary school best friend in a way.