As promised, here is another blog entry continuing to explore/explain the thematic sub-text behind my work-in-progress novel, LITTLE BASTARD.
Of the two protagonist brothers – Jason and Robin – in my previous two blog posts I have already looked at Jason’s hero, James Dean, and his tragic car crash death. Now it is the turn of Robin’s hero, Marc Bolan – and the similar tragic fate that befell the Glam Rock pioneer and T-Rex singer.
Marc Bolan probably needs no introduction – even to today’s generation of 21st Century Boys and Girls. At one time Bolan was as big as (bigger than?) his friend (and occasional rival) David Bowie. Musically, Marc was involved with folk, rock (trad, prog and Glam) and (in his final months) Punk. He pioneered Glam – after his wife, June Child, applied sequins to his face before a stage appearance, was one of the original Mods (appearing in a magazine fashion shoot as a ‘London Mod’ while still a very young teenager) and nurtured and supported nascent Punk acts including The Damned and Generation X.
Despite his huge musical influence and contribution, few realise that Marc Bolan (real name Mark Feld) wanted to be a writer more than he wanted to be a musician. In the early days of struggle he once told a job centre interviewer that he wanted to be “a poet” – with an earnestness that belies the apparent flippancy of the remark. He was heavily influenced by Tolkien and the Fantasy genre – filling pages and pages of notebooks with stories and sagas such as ‘The Scenescof Dynasty’ and ‘Pictures Of Purple People’. These preoccupations were frequently fed back into the folk music produced by his early double act, Tyrannosaurus Rex – a collaboration with Steve Took (who derived the stage name ‘Took’ from Lord Of The Rings at Bolan’s suggestion).
Bolan’s career certainly had its ups, downs and detours on the way to superstardom and tax exile status. Like a chameleon with sixth sense, he both anticipated and followed the major trends (and even started one) – riding the crest of the wave at the curve of each moment of change. Thus, he was a Mod, a hippy, a psychedelic, a Glam star, a Punk. He played guitar in the world’s loudest band – John’s Children (who were allegedly louder even than The Who, thanks to their use of the NASA-patented Jordan brand of amplifier). He contributed the guitar solo to Bowie’s ‘The Prettiest Star’. He invented several all-time classic riffs – the backbone to many an enduring T-Rex hit (not least in ‘Get It On’, from which the line that introduces this blog derives).
Bolan is survived by his son, Rolan Bolan and Rolan’s mother, Gloria Jones. Rolan has followed in his father’s footsteps – being a one-time fashion model (for the Tommy Hilfiger brand) and playing guitar in a band. Gloria now lives in Africa – where she continues to work for charitable causes and is attempting to establish a School for Music and the Performing Arts for underprivileged children in Marc’s honour.
In my next blog post I will look at the events of 16th September 1977, when Marc sadly met his untimely death. Thereafter, the final post regarding Bolan will examine the notion of a curse (and the several unanswered questions) that built up surrounding Bolan’s car crash death in a strange echo of the legend of Little Bastard that is now forever part of the James Dean legend.
Until then, amigos…and, in the words of Marc Bolan, remember that “Life’s A Gas” and don’t let the “Scenescofs” drag you down!