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