The Skids Official

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Skids frontman Richard Jobson pens novel to hero David Bowie

Posted on January 27, 2018 at 1:00 PM


“IF IT wasn’t for David Bowie, I don’t think my life would have turned out this way.”


Growing up in a distinctively industrial, masculine area of Scotland, Richard Jobson suffered from epilepsy, and as a result, alienation.


It was only through music that he was able to realise his own identity.


His hero’s words offered an understanding, a helping hand on the road to self-acceptance and development.


Bowie’s music and manner in which he navigated his way through life encouraged Jobson to be brave and to channel human nature’s desire for creation, reinventing himself as a poet, model, writer and film-maker, in a way almost mirroring Bowie’s change of personas during his starry career.


It was questioning his own role as a fan of the pop-culture icon which inspired Jobson to pen his new novel, which emerges this month as a “love letter” to the singer following his death in 2016, merely days after the last words were written.


The Speed of Life explores the theme of creation and sensuality through the eyes – a colour-coded nod to Bowie’s own contrasting pair – of two non-gender specific aliens, Blue and Green, who discover his works through a satellite which crashes onto their planet.


The Skids frontman speaks with sincere passion as he discusses his latest project with Press:ON: “This satellite contains the history of earth and as these two aliens process it, they see the damage we’ve done, the wars and the chaos.


“They think earth is boring, a total joke. They think we’re not worth visiting. That changes when they hear The Speed of Life by David Bowie, the first track from Low.


“They can’t analyse it. They can’t understand this new sensation they feel from listening to him.


“So, they go to earth in search of him and realise the sensation was creativity, which they don’t have. They find the idea of it daft, as there’s no logic to creativity; it’s based on emotions such as care and love. On their travels, they discover not just creativity but a sensuality they had never experienced or knew of; Bowie’s music was so romantic.


“I wanted my two central characters to be as if they could’ve been created in the head of David Bowie. They’re very romantic characters and lovers.



“They follow him from Hammersmith Odeon in London to Los Angeles, Berlin and finally New York for the end.


“My work is sometimes quite nihilistic and violent but this isn’t. This is a love letter to him.”


Selling millions of records throughout his career, David Robert Jones’ changing faces captured the hearts of fans across the world.


Those same hearts were then broken on January 10, 2016, as, at the age of 69, his life was taken by liver cancer, although not before releasing his final album, Blackstar, as a parting gift.


“When the news came through on the Monday morning that he had died the night before, it was a real shock. You always thought of him as being immortal in many ways,” Jobson comments, recalling the aftermath in the city the 57-year-old now resides in.


“What you really meant by that was it was his music which was immortal, although he always had this youthful sheen to him when being interviewed. He had a wonderful sense of humour and a young person’s hair; he had the best hair.


“It was very emotional. I was in Berlin at the time, so I walked to Hauptstraße where he lived. Crowds had gathered outside his apartment and they were singing his songs; it was this amazingly beautiful, sad, tragic moment


“It’s hard to think that he’s gone, really. I still listen to his music every day.


“I discovered him when I was very young, and I was already different to other kids in the area through my medical condition, epilepsy.


“It wasn’t easy to be different then. Everyone else chose traditional paths (working in the docks or joining the army), whereas I chose not to.


“I understood without really understanding that Bowie always said that it was OK to be different, and to be slightly alienated from normal aspects of life.


“I never let go of him right up to Blackstar which is an incredible album and piece of work.


“He really helped me and taught me that it was OK to live in your own wee fantasy world.”


The Speed of Life will be available in late January, with no fixed date for release


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