Category Archives: Media

➤ “I’m not a rock star” Bowie often said – No, David, you were a messiah

David Bowie, death, obituaries, tributes, rock music, Man Who Fell to Earth, media, videos, films,

A humanoid alien comes to Earth with a mission… What a spooky coincidence that David Bowie played the alien Thomas Jerome Newton in the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth

David Bowie, death, obituaries, tributes, rock music, TheTimes, UK, newspapers

Today’s Times: the masks and the man behind them

◼ ALL 10 BRITISH NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS filled their front pages today with the death of David Bowie at 69 – and so did scores of newspapers overseas. The last pop star whose death justified such deification was Jacko in 2009; and the last British pop star to do likewise was John Lennon, in 1980. The Times of London dedicated 18 pages including an outer broadsheet wrapper to honouring Bowie, plus an editorial comment as blessing. The Guardian topped that with 20 pages, plus the most enlightened editorial comment of them all. Not only did this misfit megastar and cultural icon radiate consummate flair as a performer but he displayed “an instinctive affinity with his times”. He had a “way with the zeitgeist”.

All media, notably social media, captured the dominant sentiment of generations of fans suddenly plunged into mourning. Again and again they claimed: He changed my life. . . He taught me how to be myself. . . David was my inspiration. . . David was my tutor. And most could quote their own favourite song lyric expressing their faith: Oh no, love – you’re not alone. . . Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it. . . It’s only for ever, not long at all. . . All you’ve got to do is win. . . We can be heroes just for one day.

David Bowie, death, obituaries, tributes, rock music, front pages,media, newspapers

Blanket coverage: Bowie on all UK front pages… Image updated 14 Jan to include news magazines

‘THE WORLD HAS LOST AN ORIGINAL’ DECLARED THE GUARDIAN, REMINDING US THAT BOWIE’S
MUSIC WAS MERELY HIS MEDIUM

➢ From today’s main editorial in The Guardian:

His obsession was reinventing himself, not changing the world. But even with that inward focus, Bowie proved a mightily disruptive figure.

The cultural revolution known as “the 60s”, even though it largely took place during the 1970s, blended hazy hopes of a collective awakening to a post-materialist future, with a determined emphasis on the right of the individual to realise his or herself. Nobody embodied the second half of that, the only half which was to stick, like David Bowie. Not for him the protest anthems associated with Dylan or Lennon in the right mood, nor the campus class consciousness raising antics of soixante-huitards. No, almost from the beginning, as this singular stone rolled between obscure bands, dance classes and every last pocket of the avant garde, he grabbed at everything from makeup brushes to music-hall standards for the over-riding purpose of defining, and then reinventing and redefining, the boy born David Jones. . . / Continued at Guardian online

➢ The New York Times eulogises his swansong: David Bowie Allowed His Art to Deliver a Final Message

“I’m not a rock star. I’m not in rock and roll,” Bowie often maintained, and when in 1974 Dick Cavett remarked “You seem to me like a working actor” Bowie agreed, “That’s very good”

Yesterday BBC TV arts czar Will Gompertz called Bowie “the Picasso of pop in the way he was able to synthesise ideas of the modern age and make sense of them in beautiful precise pieces of art”. As is all too clear in the following clips of Bowie’s output – as an actor.

1967 — THE IMAGE

1969 — THE MASK

1969 — SPACE ODDITY

1972 — STARMAN

1973 — LIFE ON MARS

1975 — GOLDEN YEARS

1977 — HEROES

1979 — THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD
and “transformed live television”

David Bowie

Click the pic to view the video in a new window – starring David Bowie with Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias

Updated 16 Jan when Saturday Night Live finally released this pristine 1979 recording of the most immaculate performance of TMWSTW by Bowie, Klaus Nomi, Joey Arias, Stacey Hayden on guitar and Jimmy Destri on keyboards, which some say was the night “he transformed live television”. Since January this video had been marked Private at YouTube for UK viewers (presumably to comply with NBC regional reach), but in February it is suddenly visible again. Catch it before NBC changes its mind again!

1980 — ASHES TO ASHES

2006 — VITTEL TV COMMERCIAL

➢ BBC London radio: Onetime Blitz Kid Robert Elms dedicated yesterday’s three-hour show to David Bowie with tributes from Gary Kemp, Chris Sullivan and Julien Temple. Online for a month

➢ Vogue online gallery: Bowie’s fashion history in pictures

➢ Update 13 Jan, Daily Mirror – David Bowie has been secretly cremated without family and friends present: The singer told his loved ones he wanted to “go without any fuss” and not have a funeral service or public memorial. A source in New York told the Mirror: “There is no public or private service or a public memorial. There is nothing. . .” / Continued at Mirror online

➢ Update 13 Jan, Rolling Stone – Bowie planned post-Blackstar album, “Thought he had few more months”: About a week before his death, with Blackstar nearing release, David Bowie called his longtime friend and producer Tony Visconti via FaceTime, and told him he wanted to make one more album. In what turned out to have been the final weeks of his life, Bowie wrote and demo-ed five fresh songs, and was anxious to return to the studio one last time. . . / Continued at Rolling Stone online

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Image

➤ David Bowie 8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016

Posted on January 11, 2016
David Bowie, dead, BBC News, breaking news,Duncan Jones, pop music

David Bowie, dead, pop music, genius

All-Bowie search here at Shapers of the 80s

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➤ Lovey-dovey Shia LaBeouf says: Ring me today and touch my soul

LaBeouf Rönkkö Turner, performance, art, Liverpool, FACT gallery, streaming, telephone, #touchmysoul

LaBeouf, Rönkkö and Turner taking your calls: Click on this pic to open the live stream at touchmysoul.net in a new window

◼ SHIA LABEOUF INVITES YOU TO RING HIM AND TO #TOUCHMYSOUL – the art collective LaBeouf, Rönkkö and Turner are standing by, waiting for your calls as part of a new project at Liverpool’s FACT gallery, 11am–6pm GMT from Dec 10–13. Telephone +44 (0)151 808 0771. Or view the live stream. Or visit the gallery in person.

➢ LaBeouf’s artworks have been dismissed as stunts but the Hollywood star and his collective tell The Guardian why they’re in Britain today taking calls from the public:

LaBeouf Rönkkö Turner, performance, art, Liverpool, FACT gallery, streaming, telephone, #touchmysoul

Shia on the line: “Can you touch my soul?”

Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö, it’s safe to say, don’t quite have the same growly charisma as Shia LaBeouf, a world-famous Hollywood actor turned performance artist. Indeed, they look as if they’ve won a competition to hang out with him. But the unlikely trio are adamant that they are an artistic collective, each on an equal footing. Turner wags a metaphorical finger at journalists who have failed to understand this.

“If it’s a positive article, it’s a work by the art collective,” he says. “If it’s negative, it’s by ‘actor Shia LaBeouf’.” He frowns. “It’s very peculiar to write about a work without saying who it’s by.”

But aren’t they like a band, where people are only interested in the singer? “Well,” says Turner, “you don’t say, ‘John Lennon has released his album.’ It’s the Beatles. I’m not comparing us to the Beatles, by the way.”

Since the beginning of 2014 – when LaBeouf heralded his new career by attending the premiere of Nymphomaniac with a paper bag over his head, scrawled with the words “I am not famous any more” – the three have dreamed up projects that have involved LaBeouf interacting directly with the public. “Why does a goat jump?” asks LaBeouf. “There’s an animalistic urge to express love that I can’t express in film”. . . / Continued at Guardian Online

Read transcripts of the live stream:

#touchmysoul
❏ Luke Turner tells us what we’re seeing beneath the live video stream: “It’s the three of us typing the fragments of conversation together as there’s only one phone line, so we’re all on it together. Colours just separate the ideas/threads of thought or conversation.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


➢ For four days from 10 Dec 2015 #TOUCHMYSOUL is being streamed live from FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), 88 Wood Street, Liverpool L1 4DQ, as part of the group exhibition Follow, open 11 Dec 2015–21 Feb 2016 (admission free)

UPDATE 15 DECEMBER:

➢ At Dazed Digital: After four days of taking calls, Shia LaBeouf, Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner reveal exactly what and who connected with them

❏ Except that the performers didn’t reveal any such thing. It was an impossible and ambiguous invitation – “Can you touch my soul?” – since some people insist there’s no such thing as the soul, and whatever it is, a soul is intangible or immaterial and cannot be touched anyway. The OED offers three definitions: “1, The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal. 2, A person’s moral or emotional nature or sense of identity. 3, Emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, especially as revealed in a work of art or an artistic performance.”

So what counts as a soul being touched? The TMS artists did not specify, neither before the four-day performance, nor after. The trio gave a post-event interview to Dazed Digital in which they still did not answer these questions. They talked about phoning and listening. The words meaningful and connection and rewarding experience recurred. All are intensely subjective, so how can we or they evaluate the outcome?

Luke Turner said that they wanted to “be receptive to whatever feelings might travel down the phone lines to us over those four days”. Do feelings touch a soul?

Nastja Säde Rönkkö said: “Some people moved us with their sweet energy, laughter, singing, silence, life stories, emotions.” Does all this mean touching a soul?

Shia LaBeouf spoke mostly in blank verse, very little of which made sense: “Connection is to be lived / And the internet is not any less alive.” Hm.

A curator said: “It’s about the framework of the show: what do you think is a real experience?” Ah, good old reality. There you go.

The event seemed to conclude with LaBeouf being tattooed with the words: “You. Now. Wow.” We were shown him being touched by the tattooist’s needle.

A project that doesn’t set out its brief beforehand risks missing its mark. It’s hard for callers to know what they’re expected to do or to evaluate any subsequent touching. The result was yards of telephone transcripts which are available to read online at touchmysoul – mainly touchy-feely, hippy-dippy psycho-babble and precious little enlightenment.

18 FEB UPDATE: A SELECTION OF THE 1,089 CALLS

Jerry Springer’s Final Thought:

“I play a crazy talk-show host, but that’s not me. It’s like an actor playing a role.”

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➤ Who’s that man in the black jumper and spectacles? Wowie, it’s Bowie

David Bowie, Lazarus, theatre, musicals, New York Theatre Workshop

David Bowie at rehearsals for Lazarus: wearing a feather embroidered wool-silk V-neck sweater by Alexander McQueen, plus the latest self-winding Louis Vuitton Tambour eVolution Chrono GMT watch in stainless steel. Facebook fans comment: “Back to blond!”. . . “Is that his John Shuttleworth impression?” … “Almost unbelievable that a man approaching 70 can cause such media interest”. . . “The watch is the Vuitton one he got for free when shooting in Venice [wink]” [Wrong!]. . . “Still not wearing his wedding ring though – it disappeared from his finger when he returned with The Next Day”. . . And a female: “Really the spit of his Dad there!”


◼ SOMETHING IS IN THE AIR. Bowie as you’ve never seen him before. Nothing new about that. But here he is with black spectacles and short-back-and-sides (plus a hint of moustache or mere cool stubble?) coming and going while his new show Lazarus is in rehearsals in New York, modestly and without fuss, sitting in the auditorium for previews alongside its director Ivo van Hove. “No one saw him sat there! ‘I can behave very well so nobody sees I’m there,’ he would say.” And before an enthusiastic first-night audience on Monday, Bowie appeared unshowily on stage to take a bow along with the cast. In fact, he looked inwardly chuffed.

The multimedia production is co-written with Enda Walsh and presented off-Broadway at the 200-seat New York Theatre Workshop. It is Bowie’s surreal live stage re-imagining of The Man Who Fell To Earth, according to the entertainment site ShockTillYouDrop. “This is a Bowie show. Lazarus takes pieces from Bowie’s music, album covers, music videos, and more, to belie a virtual scrapbook of the artist’s career and ideas new, used and unused.”

The New York Times decides it’s a “great-looking and mind-numbing new musical built around songs by David Bowie”, four of them new (Lazarus, No Plan, Killing a Little Time and When I Met You). Some songs “are rhapsodies of alienation; cries of solitary pain turn into our collective pleasure”.

Click any pic below to view bigger:

David Bowie, Ivo van Hove, Lazarus, theatre, musicals, New York Theatre Workshop,

Bowie and director Ivo van Hove at Lazarus rehearsals


Under the headline “Bowie’s weirdly brilliant off-Broadway masterpiece”, The Daily Beast says: “Lazarus contains its own surreal logic, but at its heart seems to be about love and connection, and the forces that can make or violently break such connections.”

Rolling Stone declares it a “Surrealistic tour de force: Impromptu kabuki actors invade the stage. And through it all, the humanoid Thomas Newton [The Man Who Fell to Earth] — played by golden-throated Michael C. Hall, who is best known for his roles on Dexter and Six Feet Under but whose theatrical credits include big roles in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Cabaret and Chicago — mostly remains stoic, lonely, yearning. At its core, Lazarus is a two-hour meditation on grief and lost hope (with no intermission), but it takes so many wild, fantastical, eye-popping turns that it never drags.”

In a nutshell, The Wrap media website raves: “It’s the best jukebox musical ever. That may not sound like much of a compliment, but when you put David Bowie’s musical catalogue at the service of book writers Bowie and Enda Walsh and director Ivo van Hove, the result is more than unique. It’s terrific must-see theater.”

Meanwhile in little ole London, look what has appeared on a billboard at Olympia – a stylish poster counting down to the January launch of Bowie’s new album, ★. And a Bowie New Year to us all!

Blackstar , poster, David Bowie, album,

Ta-daaa! Jonathan Barnbrook’s ★ billboard at Olympia

➢ The V&A touring exhibition David Bowie is. . .
opens 11 Dec at the Groninger Museum in Holland, running until 13 March…

➢ Plan your channel-hop with The Man in Seat 61

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2015 ➤ Weird and wonderful new Bowie – his Blackstar man is set to blow our minds

David Bowie, pop music, video, Blackstar, starman, album, Johan Renck

Blackstar: Bowie being messianic and ghoulish

◼ SET ASIDE 10 MINUTES AND HOLD YOUR BREATH. David Bowie’s first video for his January album is titled in plain English Blackstar, though the album itself is titled ★ following the Princely principle of symbols. The video is ghoulish, disturbing, eerie, messianic, ritualistic, jazzy, baffling – and a little mousey. His tale of a starman’s legacy out there in a faraway galaxy is musically immaculately orchestrated and makes compelling viewing and listening. It will have the geeks mining for references in its overwrought and folksy narrative. A momentarily real-world Bowie actually thumbs his nose at us singing “You’re the flash in the pan/ I’m the great I am!” yet the overall gist seems relentlessly morbid and we’re not helped by not being able to catch crucial lyrics, which for a music video is a drawback.

Directed by the Swedish music video maestro Johan Renck and premiered last night on Palladia TV, it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before. Natch.

➢ Blackstar is also pre-bookable on vinyl

David Bowie, pop music, video, Blackstar, starman, album, Johan Renck

➢ Nov 23: “We were listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar,” says producer Tony Visconti. “The goal was to avoid rock & roll” – Rolling Stone reveals all about ★ the album

➢ “As a taster for the forthcoming album, it works perfectly” – Alex Petridis reviews the single Blackstar in The Guardian:

The influence of latterday Scott Walker still appears to be making itself felt in the lyrics – they’re elliptical, filled with images of fear and death (“Take your passport and shoes and your sedatives”) and clearly just waiting to be unpicked by the more dedicated Bowiephile – but the music drifts episodically: from an ambient opening to vocals floating mournfully over a jerkily propulsive drum pattern and synthesisers squelching in vaguely acid houseish style to a sax solo to a beautiful, slow middle section with both a lovely melody and electronically-treated backing vocals. . .

David Bowie, pop music, video, Blackstar, starman, album, Johan Renck

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