Behind David Bowie
The news of David Bowie's death was somewhat baffling to me. I only realized it wasn't a hoax, some weeks after the actual event. And I missed the tv and newspaper reports. The funny thing is that I had located his new album, Lazarus, and there was a reference to his death. But when I was through trawling through the pages and photo gallery, I came to the conclusion that it was a marketing trick.
I mean, it was odd that. Lazarus in The Bible, is the guy whom Jesus supposedly brought bqck to life when he was thought to be dead as a dresser's dummy. So the juxtaposition confused me, until I came upon another tribute, days later. And I went huh? Huuuuh?No waaay!
But he was. Lazarus wasn't coming back this time.
Hence this obiit.
I'm not a huge Bowie fan, but I'm drawn to the offbeat. And he definitely was offbeat. Androgynous, chameleonlike, colourful.
Always a bit of a mystery. Which is the ideal thing for someone with a public persona.
It keeps the curiosity alive.
You couldn't quite pin him down.
He morphed between many different avatars during his lifetime. Imagine Clark Kent disappearing into the phone booth, every few seconds, and emerging in a new Superman costume, asking Lois Lane, "how about this one?"
I got vaguely interested in Bowie, when he was singing with Mick Jagger, whom I was lucky to have a personal encounter with a few years ago. The pair of them were singing ''Dancing in the Street' for charity.
I thought it was a particularly messy, distorted song, but lots of fun.I'd heard some of his other material before like Let's Dance and of course, the eerie Ground Control to Major Tom. I think they used that on the soundtrack of The Martian. So its kind of weird again. Bowie gets resurrected in the movie, then he makes an album called Lazarus. And he dies. All within a short span of time.
I didm't know at one point that the astophysical of Space Oddity and Ziggy Stardust, was actually Bowie himself.
And that this working class kid named David Robert Jones, with his hungry, vampire look, had emerged from a blue collared background to become a stage Titan. A really classy act.
The evolution of Bowie is a separate book by itself, as he experimented with a variety of musical styles and enlarged his repertoire.
The times they were always a-changing, and Bowie adapted very well.
The music he produced has always been eclectic and there was a period in his life when he was in Germany doing late night dives, and the sounds that came out deeply influenced his middle albums.
I've also watched him in movies like The Last Temptation of Christ and Absolute Beginners where he was tight and strange and dry and grim.
I always thought he was grim and even macabre, until I saw him in an episode of Extras with Ricky Gervais, banging away at the piano.
Anyone who has seen the scene will recall how Gervais' self deprecating character tries to chum up to Bowie,who gives him an odd compliment by sitting down at the black and whites and dedicating a song to him that he makes up at the spur of the moment.
Or so it seemed like. It must have been in the script Gervais co-wrote.
The song goes, 'The Little Fat Man Who Sold His Soul', and is targetted at chubby Gervais, who looks on not knowing whether to be honoured or embarassed.
And what compounds his humiliation, is that the entire room joins in the song, with the glee of a group of kids singing ring-a-ring a roses to taunt one of their peers.
Gervais looks perturbed, respectful and embarassed, all at the same time. There's a clip of this on YouTube, unfortunately its only got sound, no visuals. But it can be located at: David Bowie and Rick Gervais-"Chubby Little Loser" from Extras (AUDIO EDIT ONLY).
Bowie was being playful and silly which is the kind of thing that great performers do. Even the ones you mistook for being grim.
Like it on Facebook, +1 on Google, Tweet it or share this article on other bookmarking websites.