On page 335 of The Complete David Bowie, author Nicholas Pegg describes a release called 1966 as, ‘Yet another reissue of [the Pye singles and B-sides]. For mad people there was even a 12″ picture disc,’ which is fair enough, but if ever there was a book for mad people, Pegg’s 559 page whopper is it. It would certainly drive you mad or put you in an irreversible coma if you tried to read it cover to cover, but as something to dip into over a leisurely breakfast, it’s ideal. The detail is overwhelming, stretching far beyond the music itself. 1995 album 1.Outside is apparently inspired by Bowie’s interest in, ‘the more macabre end of the performance art spectrum, notably Rudolf Schwartzk’gler, leading light of the “Viennese Castrationists” who had cut off his own penis’. Oh, go on, David. Pegg also reproduces an NME review of the same album by Simon Williams: ‘El Bowza’s latest lurch away from reality is entitled Outside, which is kind of about ‘outsiders’ and involves all these strange neo-futuristic characters running around El Bowza’s head and it’s sort of a concept album blah blah bollocks blah blah ARSE!!!!!!!’ A dead cert for Rock’s Back Pages. Bowie’s acting is given generous coverage , as are his interactive exploits and his paintings. This stuff is quite interesting, but I can’t remember why. I suppose it helps that author Pegg is an actor, playwright, theatre director and journalist, so he ought to know his onions. Mott the Hoople, Iggy Pop and other hangers-on or hanged-onners are covered, as are Suede, Bauhaus, Japan, etc. The book is described as ‘an indispensable guide for all serious collectors of David Bowie’s music’ and although there is also plenty here for the casual dabbler, this is where its chief strengths lie. No longer must Bowie freaks lie awake wondering what that strange sound is on Ashes to Ashes; it was obtained by ‘feeding the sound of a grand piano through a gadget rejoicing in the name of the Eventide Instant Flanger….set at maximum wobble,’ and anyone who doesn’t know is a right Bowie joey.