Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Monday, 11 January 2016

David Bowie, RIP

It is not often a celebrity death pulls one up short - our favourites do get old and die - but putting on the television this morning for the news and weather, and seeing that picture of David Bowie (left) with the tag 1947-2016 made one gasp - rather like learning about the deaths of Princess Diana or John Lennon or Elvis back in the '70s - and get tearful seeing all those clips and innovative videos. One just did not think of Bowie as 'old' - he seemed a timeless, current artist - with that new album two years ago, and the latest one just out, which I have not even heard yet, but have just seen that astonishing video for "Lazarus".. Perhaps not being so visible in recent years had a lot to do with it - the internet will go into overdrive about him now and expect all those albums to be selling again. Would the sudden passing of Jagger, McCartney or Dylan be as newsworthy?, as the TV stations here are preparing tributes ... 

Of course I spanned the Bowie era, in the '70s we had to have those influential albums, and iconic singles. After he left Ziggy Stsrdust behind Bowie developed into a fascinating man and artist as he turned to acting and taking up soul and dance and then that Berlin period .... I loved the YOUNG AMERICANS album which I had on cassette and played all the time, and STATION TO STATION: "Golden Years", "Fame", "Win", "Fashion", "Blue Jean", "Boys Keep Swinging" etc. I loved his version of the ballad "Wild Is The Wind", and then the 80s glossy look of LET'S DANCE with Nile Rodgers, and those collaborations with Queen: "Under Pressure".(love his and Annie Lennox's version), with Jagger in the fun throwaway "Dancing in the Street", and "Hello Spaceboy" with the Pet Shop Boys. The Berlin albums though, with Brian Eno, will prove more infuential - LOW, HEROES, LODGER ... I love his "Putting out fire with gasoline" used in Schrader's CAT PEOPLE
The movies were varied too, from Roeg's THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH to the vampire gloss of THE HUNGER and with Marlene Dietrich for a few minutes in JUST A GIGOLO in '77 (where he is in Berlin and she is in Paris). The tours were amazing too, as The Thin White Duke took to the road - Serious Moonlight indeed.  His later years seemed more relaxed, living in New York with Iman and family and then suddenly putting out that new music, and keeping his illness secret. David certainly knew how the play the fame game. RIP indeed to a giant of popular culture and a true enduring legend. 
I worked in Regent Street, in London, for over 20 years and Heddon Street was just behind us - even then tourists would be looking for the exact spot where they shot the iconic cover for the ZIGGY STARDUST album ...
My first longtime partner (from 1974-84) is full of surprises. This, from him today:
"Sad about Bowie. I briefly worked with him as a Saturday boy at Brixton Market greengrocers stall, he had lied about his age and was sacked after two Saturdays. He had to be 14 , I think he was 12". He never mentioned that during our decade together when I was playing Bowie a lot!   

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for your gorgeous Bowie tribute. My favorite of all his songs was Changes from Hunky Dory...
    I love how Bowie seemed never to age, just like Dorian Gray. He was--and will be---sexy forever!

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  2. Michael- It's been a bad week for British artists - first Bowie and then Alan Rickman and Brian Bedford. A very sad time.

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