We needed David Bowie to fall to earth when he did. To land slap bang middle in the monotone early seventies and tell us it was alright to be different.

He wasn’t the first cultural pioneer through the centuries to open minds but it was his turn in the miserable land of the Three-Day-Week and the energy crisis.

Take a look at the YouTube footage of him singing The Jean Genie on Top of the Pops in 1973.

There he is looking like your now raddled, but still glamorous, aunt, virtually making love to guitarist Mick Ronson while singing a song in tribute to a French author who spent his life in and out of prison for acts of indecency and thievery.

Around him in the audience a lumpen mass of feather-cuts, Mr Byrite nylon flares and pasty complexions self-consciously hops around from one foot to the other trying to make sense of it all.

I suspect a few in that studio, those he saved, popped up on our TV screens this week with their tear-stained laments.

I have never forgotten my own introduction to Bowie. He didn’t rescue me for I was too young at the time. That work was to be left to Mssrs Reed, Byrne and Morrissey some years later.

But he did start pulses in my under-developed brain that began to question the orthodoxies of the time.

I was 11 and at a Christmas gathering of neighbours when our host, a friend of my father, pulled out a copy of Diamond Dogs. It was 1974.

The artwork on the cover was an instant glimpse into another world, more daring, shocking than the bland cultural fare that adults, let alone 11-year-olds, were being served up at the time.

There is Bowie, half-dog, half-alien staring out of the album cover.

Behind him lurk two hellish female creatures about to leap from the picture and devour you.

Even I recognised it as staggeringly brave, a two fingered salute to a world that seemed to be buttoned up, wearing horned-rimmed glasses and talking like the Queen.

In back bedrooms all over the land as many boys as girls found a hero, an androgynous alien who told them it was alright to be unsure, playful even, about their sexuality in a land where gay bashing was a pastime in some streets.

It’s obvious to say that Bowie was a consummate actor (and I don’t mean in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence) the transformations of his character as important as his music.

Indeed, while of course there were soaring heights in the latter, a lot of his output was a bit meat and potatoes RnB when shorn of the imagery.

So we played the obvious game this week (for the record Heroes topped the poll in Argus Towers although I threw in Young Americans just to be different) and we mourned the passing of perhaps the last global rock star.

Very few get to be known in every corner of the planet simply by their surname. Bowie joins Michelangelo, Titian and Shakespeare in the firmament. On second thoughts not quite as disparate a collection as you might think.

The proof of his impact was that this week we were not just shedding a tear for a multi-millionaire rock star.

Those of a certain vintage were also lamenting our own lost youth. And our old friend the helter-skelter passing of time.

For when some, including me, argue that Bowie had done little of artistic merit recently (2013’s The Next Day surely given a critical pass because of who he was) we hardly understand what we mean by our time scale.

Scary Monsters, his last consistently good album. was released in 1980. That’s 35 years ago, a lifetime for half the world’s population. So much for recently.

But that was the power of David Bowie. Omnipresent, woven into our lives, timeless.

Now and forever a starman waiting in the sky.

(new drop cap)

I was fascinated to read architect Nick Lomax’s ideas for transforming our seafront in The Argus yesterday. He is to be congratulated for having the bravery in Brighton to suggest we should embrace change and encourage vision.

Our city is wonderful but we do have a tendency to jump on people who dare to suggest the city should not be preserved in aspic.

Whenever this debate flares I always think of Frank Gehry’s incredible gigantic Peix (Fish) sculpture that transformed Barcelona’s seafront.

Have a look at it online and then ask yourself. What would have been the reaction had he suggested we build it in Brighton?