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It was only an eight day train ride to Moscow, but the tortuous trip nearly scared the shorts off David...and forced him to put down his pen.

by Steve Gaines - Circus Magazine (October 1973)

See also: "Journey through Siberia" (UPI- April 1973)

Kansai, the outrageous Japanese designer who is David's exclusive costumer, was about to cover David's lithe figure in skin-tight lame leotards when Angie Bowie suggested her hubby discard the tights for a red athletic supporter.  After drenching himself in his own sweat, David ripped off the Kansai outer skin to give the Japanese fans a little skin of his own - clad only in his jock strap! Could this be the beginning of "jock-rock"?

It was a hot night in Tokyo when David Bowie flashed his pubes at three thousand straining Japanese fans, but less than seventy-hours later David found himself plunged into the cold wastelands of Russian Siberia. 

The madness behind his unusual escape method?  Rock and roll's most daring darling preferred the long overland trek home instead of an airline.  "Can't do it," David quaked when a jet was suggested.  "If it flies, it's death."

As a nearly-naked David left the Tokyo stage after his ninth - and final show, three thousand kids rushed the stage, sending some unlucky fans sailing up into the air or flopping down to the ground under the stampeding wave.  The Tokyo fans stomped so hard they twisted the massive steel girders supporting the floor of the arena and almost caused the collapse of the ceiling in David's dressing room.

A short boat ride from Japan to Russia couldn't dampen his exuberant mood, but his spirited pranks were quickly frozen solid by a gloomy Siberian train ride that would convince David the world was doomed if communist Russia was a taste of the future...and cause him to mutter pessimistically, "I've seen life, and I think I know who's controlling this damned world." The long distance journey started out on a high note when David boarded the famous Trans-Siberian Express in the Russian town of Nakotka for an eight day trip towards Moscow. 

Part of David's fabulous Japanese journey included visits to Tokyo's major department store, where he autographed fifteen-foot tall posters of himself.  Tiny children chased him down the aisles, called, "Boowy! Boowy!"

Upon entering his sleeping car with its ornate golden mirrors and polished wood walls, David announced, "Gee, this isn't so bad," but the depressing realities of Russian life were waiting just down the railroad tracks.  VIPs like himself, David soon realized, stayed in luxurious "soft-class" cars.  But just down the line, native Russians were forced to cluster in crowded compartments with no place to sleep except for hard wooden benches that made Hindu nail-beds feel like downy pillows.

David spent his entire eight day train trip wrapped in a comfortable kimono.  On the rare occasions he visited the dining car, he dressed in conservative street clothes, and was shocked to find the travelling Russians dining there in pajamas.  Chatting with David are United Press International reporter Bob Muesel and David's travelling companion, Jeffrey McCormick.

The railroad attendants assigned to David's plush car were two burly young women who looked like they had never cracked a smile in their lives.   Dressed in masculine navy blue uniforms, they were a frightening sight to the slender Englishman until he discovered that both were ardent Ziggy Stardust fans! The two would-be Russian rock and rollers took an instant liking to the grinning carrot-topped celebrity, keeping David cool on the tedious trip by serving him hundreds of glasses of tea in carved-silver holders.

David was terrified most by the poverty of the Siberian shanty towns.  The Russian peasants lived in tiny shacks built of rotted wood and held together with frayed rope. "I don't understand how they live through the winter," David exclaimed.

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---This page last modified: 27 Jun 2002---

Ziggy Stardust Scarf (1973)