1. Mod Bowie 1962-1968: The man who was called David Jones
It’s tempting to imagine that David Bowie fell to earth in a spangly onesie, but photos of the artist as a young man show him to have been a serious mod. The ultimate early adopter, he started a trend for tapered-leg trousers at Bromley Technical High School, and dyed his hair with food colouring.
You can see the blazer he wore in beat group The Konrads in the exhibition, with bold stripes drawn on by Bowie himself. In 1964, his first TV appearance saw the 17-year-old on BBC2’s ‘Tonight’ as part of the ‘Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Men with Long Hair’. ‘I think we’re all fairly tolerant,’ a polite young Bowie opines, modestly attired in a suit and with a Brian Jones-esque moptop. ‘But for the last two years we’ve had comments like “Darlin’” and “Can I carry your handbag?”, and I think it has to stop.’ He soon stopped worrying about reactions to his appearance and began playing with them.
Track of the era: ‘In the Heat of the Morning’ – romantic whimsy from a swinging suburbanite.