Hollow Hype on “Blonde” & Bowie

Andrew Domink’s Blonde is a mostly dissatisfying film which chronicles most of MM’s iconic moments – the skirt flying up, taking drugs, rendezvous with JFK – all of which can make it tedious. The NC17 hype is silly as well, all because it seems of a brief shot of an erect penis. And while Ana de Armas’ commitment to the role is clear, she is exhausting to watch, pouting and crying at every turn. There are also very strange scenes of a talking fetus which really detracts from the film.

Talking fetus in Blonde

However, given all of this, I was struck by some lovelyshots from Cinematographer Chayse Irvin, especially MM’s final moments, over-exposed, drinking and drugging herself into oblivion. It was a long wait and perhaps even worth it.

Brett Morgen’s Moonage Daydream also suffers from an obsession with the iconic moments – Ziggy Stardust, Thin White Duke, et al – and is further hamstrung by a limited Bowie view of Bowie.

While the visuals are great and many of the song selections, there is nothing on David Bowie being David Bowie except one vague interview that barely touches on anything. It’s not like I was looking for a tabloid tell-all of the drugs and sex mania or even the ego-centrism and abandonment of Ronson and others. It’s just that completely ignoring this aspect of Bowie’s life renders the film, for all of its sound and vision, little more than a Look Video Magazine.

The Loving Other of Bowie

I did not have complicated musical tastes as a boy. I liked The Partridge Family, Helen Reddy and K-Tel records like Fantastic.

Elton John was on the track list…twice!

I collected 45 singles like Disco Tex’s Get Dancin’ and Shirley and Co’s Shame, Shame, Shame and sang along. You get the picture.

I also liked David Bowie. I loved Ziggy Stardust. I listened to that record over and over. I didn’t understand any of it, that it was a concept album or that he was challenging gender stereotypes. None of it. I just loved the music.

Ziggy Stardust Artwork
Who is he/she?

When I realized many years later that the music gave people who were shunned and excluded a feeling of being part of something, I was amazed because I felt like that too, even though I looked like I didn’t fit into that bracket.

In my kid brain, it was just music. And now I realize there is no such thing.

David Bowie On Immorality

A little wisdom from David Bowie: My parents had the same work ethic, you know, work as salvation. Work really hard and somehow, you’ll either save yourself or you’ll be immortal. Of course, that’s a total joke, a sham, and our progress is nothing.

There may be progress in technology but there’s no ethical progress whatsoever. We’re exactly the same immoral bastards that we were twenty thousand years ago. (From Dylan Jones’ An Oral History, 429)

Notes on David Bowie’s Fame

Some notes culled from Dylan Thomas’ book, Davide Bowie: An Oral History.

Bowie was a bit of a sociopath, but then aren’t all stars? (Wendy Leigh, 31)

I was a nymphomaniac at the time, and I suppose Bowie was a sex addict. He just had a good time. He may have intellectualized it, but it was really just sex. Lots of sex. (Cherry Vanilla, 109)

What really struck me was how he looked at me. I remember him looking at me and checking me out. He was like a robot. He was working out exactly what persona he was going to show to me. “I’m going to humor you, but I have to watch out for you.” (Nick Kent, 153)

I was like a sacrificial whore for David, and I didn’t care because playing a sacrificial whore was a role I liked. It opened doors for other sacrificial whores. (Cherry Vanilla, 190)

He told me once that the best way to travel around in London anonymously is on public transit. All you have to do is wear and hat and read a Greek newspaper. (Tracy Emin, 391)

Frankly famous people feel a lot happier around other famous people, rather than civilians. (Dylan Jones, 442)

Q107 SuperSet: Greatest Emotions of Man

I won the Q107 SuperSet Competition as a 15-year-old with my entry “The Greatest Emotions of man” which included David Bowie’s Five Years, Led Zeppelin’s Celebration Day and Black Sabbath’s Iron Man. Greatest Emotions of ManThe idea of the Q107 Superset was to create a set of songs and see if the radio station would play it. And, yes, my high-fallutin’ concept of being sad, happy and mad won that night. I couldn’t believe it. I might have even screamed and jumped up and down.

I went down to the station the next morning to collect my prize – my own album from the Q107 collection – and was directed into a drab office by an indifferent secretary to pick something out of a cardboard box. Greatest Emotions of Man“Take whatever you want.” I flicked through the discards – the telltale rectangular notch in the upper right corner – and begrudgingly took something yellow. It was as I descended the cement staircase that I realized that there was an emotion I had neglected to cite – disappointment – but there were no songs for that.

Bowie’s Greatness in Songs You Don’t Know

You know about Ziggy Stardust, Rebel Rebel and poor old Major Tom, but there is so much you don’t of the sound of David Bowie. These are the songs that you should:Bowie's Greatness in Songs You Don't Know5. Sound and Vision (Low, 1976) Actually a song you probably do know but didn’t know you knew, sharp and compelling as anything you’ve heard..

Bowie's Greatness in Songs You Don't Know4. Bewlay Brothers (Hunky Dory, 1971) Climbing out of earnestness with pain and delight, knowing something but not knowing what.

Bowie's Greatness in Songs You Don't Know3.  V-2 Schneider (Heroes, 1976) Space-age, new-age from a distant planet, words so close and so far.

Bowie's Greatness in Songs You Don't Know2. Fascination (Young Americans, 1975) The rhythm and groove which every disco artist dreamed they might find.

Bowie's Greatness in Songs You Don't Know1. Big Brother (Diamond Dogs, 1974) Magnificent, poignant and magnificent again, what the conceptual album and song are dreamed upon.

David Bowie’s Death on Facebook

Social media – yes, like you are reading now – is fatuous and inane, worse than anything ever produced on radio or television – and that includes The Bachelor. getting aa roseFacebook posts on the death of David Bowie serve as sad exemplars.

Mark Pautz 06h30 this morning. I was awake. Strange, as I’d only got to bed four hours earlier. But it was then that the musical soundtrack of the first 55 years of my life came to an end.

Terry Boyd I am 43 and I have always known David Bowie to be singing he was an iconic singer, and there will never ever be another David Bowie of his kind.

William Lemos David Bowie a true hero

What is it about any of these people – indeed anyone, you or me – that makes one a David Bowie expert? Our facile love of his music? Our hyperbolic connection to his lyrics? Good god, even The New York Times sounded ridiculous in their piece on how Bowie “transcended” music and art. 20160112_BOWIE_HP-slide-DMXR-videoSixteenByNine1050-v2The truth is his music didn’t transcend anything. He was a great musician, and all of this  blather only acts as a depressing testament to how lonely everyone is too scared to admit. 20150820_162923While keeping up to date with each other’s life moments on social media can be a nice thing, as is watching cute red pandas, reflections on the importance of an artist for an individual is irrelevant and utterly pathetic.20151205_162003Someone to claim us, someone to follow
Someone to shame us, some brave Apollo
Someone to fool us, someone like you

We want you Big Brother, Big Brother