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Blog post at this site May 30 2018 opening Metrobolist 7
Metrobolist7 will explain, in a form of imaginative storytelling [...] how the tale might conceivably end up as parallel alterities—fantasy and actualised document.
And so it has turned out to be. Veer Books (London) in association with visual associations has published limited bookartobject Metrobolist 7 dedicated to the memory of my old friend and young days collaborator David Bowie.
Metrobolist 7 contains Metrobolist: Five Chapters (homebakedbooks 2014-2015) noted on earlier blog postings at this site with cover images and descriptive chapter précis. This bookartobject is filled with newer text including fantasy Metrobolist6 and more art — completing the big Metrobolist picture. Although actualized, catalogued and released as Metrobolist 6, November 2020 (Social Reality Earthtime) as an official 50th anniversary remix on Parlophone, loss of original artworks: and sadly the loss of David himself in 2016, followed by that big elephant man in the laboratory — severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 — lessened the chances a re-released The Man Who Sold the World would see light of day.
Between 2015 and early 2020 with possibility a documented Metrobolist would never happen, the present writer designed an imaginary album.
A fictional Metrobolist 6.
Mark Adams has provided detailed plans on David Bowie's official website for the release of Metrobolist6 in November as an actualized document.
Mike Weller thanks Tristram Penna, Nigel Reeve and Scott Minshall's highly professional GASwork studios for the realization of Metrobolist6 as real document in vinyl and digital formations.
Tris has already been fictionalized "Mart Sirt (Cert)"/"Alpha Zee" in wellerverse fantasy and fictionalizations of immortal blackstar "Ken Tapley"/"John Dagger"/"Glitter Glamm"/"Starman Jones"/"John Beyond" appears in five out-ot-print and obscure homebaked Metrobolist chapbooks précised here as Metrobolist7 posts.
An introduction to Metrobolist: Five Chapters by Michael J. Weller (Home'Baked Books, 2015) was first blogged on the 45th anniversary of David Bowie's The Man Who Sold The World LP release in the USA.
Michael J. Weller’s ‘Metrobolist' tale is a published chapbook series. Five chapters beginning 1946 finishing 2015.
Apart from social media updates and term 'poetry comics' amended to 'poetry c(art)oons', 2015's original post remains the same. It's here.
Mid-2015 there was an idea initiated by Nigel Reeve working for Bowie’s record company to release a limited, signed Metrobolist album: a boxed vinyl recording of David’s nine songs with the American cartoon sleeve as it was conceived originally, speech bubble filled; opening to reveal a surreal Metrobolist6 gatefold photo story from out-of-time schooldays to Bowie 2015 via Keith MacMillan's 1970 Haddon Hall photoshoot. Same yellow US The Man Who Sold the World back cover with song lyrics and Blue Note Oh By Jingo cartoon trio sans Mercury logo.
Metrobolist7 will explain, in a form of imaginative storytelling, why Metrobolist6 didn't happen, and also, as speculative fiction, suggest how the tale might conceivably end up as parallel alterities—fantasy and actualised document.
Dedbrickton—imagined district of southeast London.
Unique serial title & number ‘Metroblist6’ is suggested by MJ's fictional character "Mart Cert/Alpha Zee" in June 2015 (Social Reality Earthtime) to acknowledge the publication of Mike Weller’s Home’Baked Metrobolist5 chapbooks and numerically index the release of Metrobolist as a record album.
In 1970 Metrobolist was the original title Mike Weller and David Bowie agreed on, before Mercury Records decided to disregard their client's instructions. The record company made a mess of material left them to complete— resulting in less options for DB to consider as potential LP presentations in territories other than North America.
Mercury’s UK subsidiary Philips Records subsequently released David’s preference for a selected Keith MacMillan domestic cover photograph for his emerging homegrown, European and Asian audience—to the applause, it must be admitted, of not only David but just about everybody involved in Bowie’s professional management 1970-71.
Despite, or because of Mercury's cock-up, the 'cartoon' or 'wild west' cover always enjoyed a tiny fistful of admirers. Over the years this has turned into a growing number of enthusiasts. And David was the first. Thirty years after the picture was drawn it seemed to grow on him again as time and events passed—and continue to pass.
DB and his New York office gave Metrobolist6 an initial nod in 2015 but that was it.
Sadly, after 45 years, there was to be no reunion or working collaboration between Mick Weller and his old chum making the Metrobolist6 album a social reality.
David’s poor health was not, however, the only reason ‘Metrobolist6’ did not materialize 2015/16.
Back in 2015 other production difficulties emerged. Original lettering, painting and finished artwork had mysteriously vanished from Mercury’s archive years before. The lettrist title ‘Metrobolist’ and comic-book bubble caption had to be hand-drawn again from Mike Weller’s memory (with originals 'lost' and only an old 'Metrobolist' lettering sketch in pencil to work from). A newly agreed hand-lettered album subtitle Nine Songs by David Bowie was added.
These in turn needed digitalizing with the best front and back colour reproduction the Bowie Archive had in its possession. A professional art studio began developing the concept with a quote from David in a companion supplement.
Metrobolist6 was intended to be a high-end gold-lettered boxed vinyl article.
Along with his visual associations page at homebakedbooks, everything the present author wished to write about David Bowie was published as Metrobolist: Five Chapters between 2014 and 2015.
Metrobolist chapters' précis began at this site 2015. It was inevitable Five Chapters' online posts would need amending and revising after sad news of David's death in 2016. But précised chapters one and two remain here on original date of posting, January 5 2016.
Although Mick Weller is user and supporter of information junkie Jimmy Wales's Wikipedia project, an honest account of David and Michael's original Metrobolist is not included in its current The Man Who Sold the World (album) article. The present writer tried but didn't succeed to effectively add accurate revision to content -- it was altered back to an earlier patchwrite. Mick's effort can be found buried in the article's 'Cover art' edit history. Wales's free-to-use-and-edit encyclopedia can attract an obsessional wikipedian concern with erroneous detail resulting in a form perhaps best described as uncreative patchwritten wikifiction.
A telephone interview Mike Weller conducted with John Robinson for music magazine UNCUT's February 2020 Bowie Ultimate Record Collection Part 1 (1964-76) is recommended for its insights and historical accuracy. Or as Mick responded to this edition of UNCUT's archive collection—someone's done research at last!
But Metrobolist chapters have never claimed to be anything other than fiction. Imaginative fiction is sometimes the only mode in which truth be told. Starman Jones made fantasy characters out of experience for the entertainment of himself and his audience. From Ziggy to final identification with vulnerable, ailing, alien Newton -- the character Jones first portrayed in Nicolas Roeg's movie of Walter Tevis's The Man Who Fell to Earth.
Perhaps only the small surviving group of people who knew David in childhood; and those close to him maybe in later years, are really able to compare the human-being who lived downstairs until 2016, with Mike Weller's character drawn upstairs as "John Beyond" in a fiction with made-up 16th century actor Kenneth Morris Tapley playing boys and girls in old times.
In his late twentieth century incarnation "Ken Tapley" plays pop and rock musician "John Dagger", doubling as a cultural vanguardist in New Elizabethan Deamtime Reality. By 1958 Weller's secondary world character demanded someone soon play him for real. In this incarnation Ken Tapley is written and birthed by a "lady grinning soul" -- glamourous yet obscure handmaiden of suburban 1940s Metrobolist picture houses.
Ken Tapley, preparing for his role as rock 'n' roller John Dagger, in turn playing '70s pop sensation "Glitter Glamm" is blue-suited figure left, accompanied by glamorous lady grinning soul character "Debbie Dagger" centre, and fictional Jinkerman -- revolutionary "Mo Stepniak", character right, disguised as worker struck for fame at "The Firm".
(Blue Note extract from Metrobolist 4, Home'Baked Books, 2015)