The famous story that no one - or, depending on who you ask, everyone - knows about David Bowie is that his first performance as Ziggy Stardust was at the Toby Jug pub in Tolworth.

This Is Local London:

Prof Brooker's various Bowie guises

Now a Kingston University researcher is writing a book about the pop star, including his meteoric 1970s rise, and he has gone so far as to transform himself into the Stardust persona to better understand the icon.

Cultural studies professor Will Brooker, 45, said: "I'm trying to connect with where his head was at, with his mind-space at different points.

"I'm reading several biographies at the same time, taking notes and trying to build a pattern. It's also the hair, and makeup, and vintage clothes.

"A tribute band has asked me to join them and I will be doing singing lessons. I'm also doing painting, as he got immersed in painting in the early 1970s."

Prof Brooker, who lives in Surbiton, has previously investigated the cultural significance of Batman, Blade Runner and Star Wars. 

He added: "I've loved Bowie's music, the performances, for some time, since I was a young teenager. I avoided studying it, so as not to ruin the pleasure.

"But I was struck by Lou Reed's death. All the icons are elder statesmen; they're not going to be around forever. It's time to appreciate them."

Asked whether he would address the baffling and cringeworthy video to Bowie's duet with Mick Jagger, Dancing in the Street, Prof Brooker added: "You can't avoid it, I don't think. I've seen it again recently - it's no better than it was.

"One of the nice things about Bowie is he's not perfect. It makes him a more complete figure."

Bowie has not made contact, yet, but Prof Brooker hopes to shake his hand at some point and perhaps give him a copy of the finished book.

The monograph, Forever Stardust, is set to be published in 2017.