I was looking at Flipboard this morning and came across an article saying David Bowie was dead. Hoping it was one of those cruel internet hoaxes I paged through a couple of news sites. Turns out, sadly, that it wasn’t. I am stunned.
Bowie’s music was part of the soundtrack of my teenage life, perhaps the largest part of it. I can remember lying on my bed in the council house in Fairhurst Rd listening to The Man Who Sold the World and Ziggy Stardust and Diamond Dogs. Brilliant stuff; great rock, weirdly intelligent, with heavy SF undertones. It spoke to me as it spoke to millions of others of my age and alienation.
One thing that set Bowie apart from many of the rock stars of his generation was the sense of strange intelligence at work. I remember an interview with him made about the time of The Man Who Fell to Earth. He was obviously drugged out of his gourd and the interviewer asked him what he thought of America.
“It’s like a fly drowning in milk,” Bowie replied. It sounded like as total stoner non sequitur but Bowie proceeded to riff brilliantly on the subject of media overload, affluenza and the dark side of the good life. By the time he finished he had demonstrated exactly how apt the simile was. The contrast between the slow stoned voice and the articulacy and lucidity of what was being said was striking.
As I have been writing this Starman has been running on a continuous loop in my head. It’s been in there for over 40 years along with a whole lot of other good stuff, mostly with Mick Ronson on guitar. Screw this. I don’t really want to write about this any more. I am off to listen to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.
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