Friday, October 7, 2016

The Man on Top of the World: Q&A #1

Did you think about ever starting the story at a different point in time, for instance, when Izzy met Jon, and related to that, why did you ultimately choose to begin the story at the sexual turning point of their long friendship?

- Scarlett Knight  

It feels like yesterday when I first thought about this story and how it should be written. I knew that it had to be from the point of view of Jonathan and that it should, and in a way had, to take place three years after and since Jon was first hired to be in Izzy's backing band/The Diamonds. Three years is a long enough time for these two to have established a bond as bandmates and form a brotherly friendship to feel comfortable enough to where a sexual relationship later would come naturally to them. And what a more appropriate and convenient time for them to start that sexual relationship than in 1973, a time when the sexual revolution really peaked and when glam rock as well was really taking off, and when by this point in Izzy's career, with his lifestyle and reputation, both of them could get away with being as hedonistic as they want and as freely as they did. If I had started the book to when Izzy and Jon first met, it would have been 1970. The sexual revolution wasn't quite dawning yet at that time. Everything was still tame. Nobody was yet rebelling against what the 1960's was mostly about: conforming to all societal standards, repressing desires, and seeing sex, no matter if it was straight or homosexual, as something that was taboo in general. During this time period, it was essentially about being straitlaced about all things human nature that only once the mid-to-late 1970's hit that people started embracing what was only and always a part of us inside and out.

Let's take David Bowie himself for example. In Melody Maker (UK), January 22, 1972 with Michael Watts, was when David Bowie gave his most famous interview, where Bowie said "I'm gay."


Whether Bowie meant it or not, this was a very brave thing for him to do, for any rock star to have done, whether it was true or wasn't true that he was gay. Nobody had done this before, not until 1972, and it started with David Bowie. Like with many things, he was the first to do such a thing!

Jonathan and Izzy had spent three years on the inside, enjoying their friendship and bond as best mates, and reveling in the rock and roll lifestyle together and yet apart from each other, that once 1973 arrived - the timing was just too perfect, for them to finally be free on the outside. And the easiest way for them to do that was through sex. But it wasn't about the just having sex itself, the other difference was how and where they did it that represents the times. They could get away with having sex in public by 1973. It wasn't just these two that did it. A lot of people did it, whether they were rock stars or not. That was the culture, it was about being outrageous, without apologies.

If the book started at 1970 or earlier, more than likely Izzy and Jon would have been more tame, maybe a little daring, but more than likely not nearly as bold. And to think of it in this way also - three years is also a long time to keep sexual desires for someone to oneself. Izzy and Jon clearly have long had a sexual attraction to each other, but the timing wasn't right, until when the story takes place where it is, in the middle of a new tour, in 1973. So once they started, it should be no wonder or surprise at all as to why these two have a lot of sex in the first 3 chapters! Can you blame them? ;)

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