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
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.
Blanket coverage: Bowie on all UK front pages… Image updated 14 Jan to include news magazines
Posted in cinema, Europe, Fashion, London, Media, North America, Pop music, Youth culture
Tagged Ashes to Ashes, BBC London, cremation, David Bowie, death, Dick Cavett, Guardian, Heroes, Man Who Fell to Earth, Man Who Sold the World, New York Times, obituaries, Robert Elms, rock music, Space Oddity, Starman, TheTimes, Tony Visconti, Tributes, videos, Vogue
Click on image to view BBC vintage video from 1981: Toyah Willcox interviews Strange in Robin Hood guise
◼ ONE OF STEVE STRANGE’S TALENTS was persuading the press to believe in his latest wheeze, however fantastic. He had a way of convincing himself that a story was already written and a mission achieved before he had pressed the accelerator and set off. This irritated as many journalists as it amused and many were consequently very sceptical of his next big announcement – like saying he’d booked a big American star to do her first live promotional performance in Britain at his crowning glory, the Camden Palace, capacity 1,410. But in fact he had and she did, and in June 1983 the unknown Madonna was launched singing to backing tapes for half an hour.
The myths surrounding Steve were always the stuff of self-promotion. Today, he would say, I am Robin Hood, tomorrow Ruritanian Space Cadet, the next day Marionette with the mind of a toy. A compulsive man of masks presents a tricky subject for the scribblers obliged to capture that life once it is spent, so we must tiptoe through the obituaries like a minefield, and beware of tripping over Steve’s much-spun versions of history that were pure fantasy. Even national newspapers seemed to fall for many of the dreams he spouted, as well as the exceedingly vague memories committed to his 2002 book, Blitzed.
➢ Read extracts from the obituaries inside Shapersofthe80s: As the mainstream writers lead you through those New Romantic years, see if you can spot the porkies
BOY GEORGE’S OWN TRIBUTE TO HIS RIVAL
➢ At Shapersofthe80s: Original Blitz Kids say farewell to Steve Strange, their host, pivot, style icon, friend
Posted in Clubbing, Fashion, London, Pop music, Youth culture
Tagged Billy’s club, Blitz Kids, Boy George, Madonna, New Romantics, obituaries, Steve Strange, Steven Harrington, Swinging 80s, Toyah Willcox, Video