It’s the most famous salute in rock. Returning to London’s Victoria Station in May 1976, after a spell in Berlin, David Bowie, world-famous, stood up in the back of his open-top Mercedes and saluted the crowd: his right arm extended unbent, his hand flat palm-down.
Though he’s since denied this was a Nazi salute, Bowie had spoken so much of immersing himself in the occult, in Nazism, in the trappings if not the ideology of fascism that it was an understandable conclusion for onlookers to reach.
A few years before, Bowie had inhabited the persona of Major Tom, an astronaut cut adrift in space. Now, like the possessed astronauts of 1950s film The Quatermass Xperiment, the unwitting vectors to Earth of a lethal alien infection, people might have wondered: Bowie may have come home, but what had he brought with him?