David Bowie's fascination with Prickly Pal

December 03, 2018

There are some many stories regarding how Mr David Bowie assembles his lyrics. Some more wild and fanciful than others.  But in all cases, deep, meaningful, puzzling and thought-provoking.  

With this in mind, and Spotify being the current music player of choice, entering "Cactus" into the search and low and behold what did we get . . . . . Mr Bowie the top of the list with Cactus from the Heathen album 2002. Now, this is a fairly dark song with a rather disturbing reference to our bellowed Cactus.

 “Bloody your hands on a cactus tree

Wipe it on your dress and send it to me”

Either way a great track that captures the mood of the lyrics. Listen here 

Now Mr Bowie has often made a reference to a future song in a lyric in a past song. For example, in “Cracked Actor” (the David Live version) he adds, 'Just for a day.' A line form the track “The Bewlay Brothers” from the Hunky Dory album 1971. In “Buddha of Suburbia”, he says, 'Never born so I'll never get old.' Reality album 2003 has a song titled “Never Get Old”.

So it got us thinking . . . . Cactus! Has he . . . .  did he . . . . well yes, he did in the most beautiful way. Did he have a more profound relationship with our mysterious yet poignant Prickly Pal, the Cactus? These lyrics suggest yes!

Eight Line Poem

The tactful cactus by your window

Surveys the prairie of your room

The mobile spins to its collision

Clara puts her head between her paws

They've opened shops down the West side

Will all the cacti find a home

But the key to the city

Is in the sun that pins the branches to the sky, oh, oh, oh

Album: Hunky Dory 1971 – Listen to it here 

It just goes to show how Cactus can inspire you for a lifetime. 31 Years between these two songs. Just like a real Prickly Pal - with love and nurturing, it will be with you forever.

Blog Author: Mr. Louis Barbe


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