My life as a Glam Rock music fan in the 70s
In Northern England where I was born the idea of glam rock and dressing up in feminine fashions was not too well received. The north of great Britain is home to many gangs and even back in the 1970s there were roving gangs of hoodlums where un employment and drug use festered a violent environment that would only get worse in 2010. For a kin into glam rock fashions male of female is was a risky business walking about in high heel shoes and glitter makeup. The truth is you needed to be braver than the gangs to stroll about like a glam rock star as you were just asking for a violent confrontation in the atmosphere of sexual suppression and ignorant attitudes at the time.
Being a youngster in the 70s i was made aware of glam rock stars like Marc Bolan, David Bowie, The Sweet and loads of other glam rock bands that were popular at the time. There were many divisions in the music scene including prog rock, hard rock, skinhead ska and general pop music of the day. Glam rock was divided between groups like The sweet, T Rex and the more serious David Bowie, Cockney Rebel type of glam rock bands. After seeing and hearing the first Roxy music record i decided I wanted to look like a glam rock star myself and proceeded to carry on my mission as a glam rock kid in Northern England.
My glam rock life began as I started to badger my mother for certain clothes: I wanted platform shoes, I wanted flares, shirts with wild, aeroplane collars and, above all, long hair. It took quite some time to get my “glam rock look’ together but finally, at about the age of 14, I was able to look in the mirror with some degree of satisfaction.I rapidly realized that, in a place like Dundee, dressing in this glam rock fashion manner would be asking for abuse and it soon came along. It was mostly verbal combined with being jostled or shoulder-barged in the street. i was soon to learn the danger’s of dressing like a glam rock star in the 70s.
My first encounter with violence came with me walking home after a local glam rock band played in our city. I was attacked by a local gang of kids who called me names and proceeded to rip at my sleeve. I told several of them who I actually knew from school that I was not gay I just liked the clothes and so did the girls, this enraged them even more. I was lucky just to get a black eye, spat on and my shoes taken (presumable so one of them could wear them) and get a date. Anyways it was my introduction to intolerance for no reason but the way you look and the ignorance and stupidity of the act would remain with me all my life. If people could not accept the glam rock clothes you wear how would it feel to have a skin color that they did not like?
I made it out alive with a few torn clothes and a missing platform boot. A small price to pay on reflection as if it were today I am sure there would have been a much more violent response. I did get a black eye and a few bruises but what really hurt is the wounded pride and loss of personal freedom to express yourself after such an encounter. I still wore glam rock fashions but was cautious where to go and be seen in such outfits. it all seemed so simple for the glam rock stats on my TV, they lived their lives (it seemed) dressing up every day in glam rock clothes and never having a care in the world. In truth I was too young to know about marketing, hype and that they were just kids themselves many manipulates to look a certain way just to make money as a glam rock star.