Tag: David Bowie

Doctor Who: The Early 1970s, The Third Doctor and Velvet Aspirations

Doctor Who and the 1970s

Third Doctor Twelfth Doctor

40 years on from the demise of his third incarnation, the Twelfth Doctor’s arrival looks like it will not so much reverse the polarity as boost the popularity of the dandy Time Lord of action. But as the new Doctor may ask, could the real question be how important the 1970s are in the future of Doctor Who?

IN THE 2013 CELEBRATIONS OF ALL THINGS WHO, IT WAS THE SECOND DOCTOR’S STOCK THAT ROSE THE MOST. As the major casualty of the BBC’s catastrophic episode pulping, we’ve been robbed of the majority of his stories. True, some of them have earned a heightened classic status through their disappearance and the hope of their discovery, but for the most part appreciation for the Second Doctor hung on memory and some key rediscoveries like The Tomb of the Cybermen.

For his recorder toots to rise higher in the mix, especially in 2013, something major would have to happen. And fortunately it did. The rediscovery of two of his lost adventures, one long-craved, and the demise of the Eleventh Doctor – the one successor who owes Patrick Troughton’s cosmic hobo the most, unexpectedly pushed him to prominence.

So, with wrangles on the ‘rediscovery’ of further lost adventures ‘possibly’ ongoing and the Eleventh Doctor left on the Fields of Trenzalore, perhaps it’s only natural that 2014 is turning into the year of the Third Doctor. Series Eight brings us one of the largest shake-ups of the new era just as 1970 brought a brave new world of colour and a format sea change when Jon Pertwee’s Time Lord fell through the TARDIS doors… Continue reading “Doctor Who: The Early 1970s, The Third Doctor and Velvet Aspirations”

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Glastonbury: Memory of a Wet Festival

Glastonbury Festival Cow 2005

 Glastonbury Festival Cow 2005

Nine Years since I was last at Glastonbury… It was so darned good I’ve never really felt the need to go back…

Yes back, back to 2005…

SUNDAY 29TH JUNE, AND THE DUST OF WORTHY FARM HAS BEEN WELL AND TRULY SATURATED AND CHURNED BY THE SHUFFLE OF A MILLION WELLINGTON BOOTS.

Strangely, many people seemed to head down yesterday, the Saturday.  By that time the moat of cars would be at peak, blissfully ignoring the threat of long exit queues mashed with mud trenches that will hit them tomorrow. I wonder how many not at all remotely incongruous Bentleys will be stationed on a slope, asking of everyone who passes how long their handbrake tension actually is (consensus: less than three days).

It’s nine years since I was last at Glastonbury and I’m fairly confidently that was my last (in a never say never type way)…

Road Trip

The festival had slumped under regulation and reality

It was an inauspicious start nine years ago.  We had a Thursday arrival as usual, but people were already surrendering to the Glasto week, filling up the site by Wednesday.  By the time we arrived after some rather marvellous Bowie and Beatles harmonies on the road, most pitches had been laid.  The half-hearted attempt to camp near The Glade or somewhere close to that enchanted inner land was blocked.  Turned away several times, and rather burdened by my insistence we only make one trip, we were already behind.

Tired and mottled, it was to our piebald cousins, the cows. The gravel path leading up to farm gave refuge, although it wasn’t ideal.  A lovely, somehow lonely view of the Pyramid Stage, but otherwise just a little less magical and a little more corporate. Cash points beeped not too far away.  Same as it ever was.  The festival had slumped under regulation and reality at the turn of the century.  In 2002 the super fence was unveiled, bringing horrid connotations and two undeniable facts: One that the free festival was over or if it wasn’t , Glastonbury definitely was. The other, that it would never really be the same again.

The Wall Change

I was near an ice cream van

The year that followed the wall was noticeably empty, probably to the tune of hundreds of thousands.  Worse, the crowd, whether uncovered by new found space or simply reflecting a new paradigm, was heavily corporate. City boys taking notes for their next Hedgestock.  It was inevitable that the photo cards would follow, then the hour sell out.  In 2005, was already difficult. I managed to secure tickets with the help of a 56k dial up modem. It was painful. I was lucky…

As usual, Glastonbury isn’t sold on acts. They are almost entirely announced after the tickets have sold out and of course it’s possible, if not encouraged, that you spend the whole festival without seeing a single slice of live music. There’s more than enough going on to hide that away.

I’d been many times before. From the odd state of affairs when Skunk Anansie headlined the 20th century to someone catching Keanu Reeves bass with an apple (and hitting the perfect E). From Roger Water’s huge quadraphonic blackmail and apparently the greatest gig I’ve ever been to, Faithless (that was according to NME – I was near an ice cream van).  Of headliners, from REM to Air, Rod Stewart’s mandolin and football mash up and of course, Bowie’s peerless return in 2000 (Now, that was the greatest gig I’ve ever been to).

Calm Before…

I fell asleep to slight growls of thunder

A first evening at Glastonbury should always involve a trip to the Sacred Space.  Pre-2002, this was a classic place for all sorts of course – punctuated by daring and generally successful attempts to break over the minor wall before The Wall. Obese and neon security bumbling after wiry gatecrashers.  This time, aside from the odd panda car struggling to climb the mud perimeter, there was little of the old.  And perhaps it was the change of atmosphere or earlier camping disappointments but the evening ended in disharmony.

I sat at the Sacred Space for a while, kept company by some cigarettes.  As I left, the night had stolen the purple skies and it was impossible to see the heavy clouds it hid.  I took the long return to the Big Ground and as I walked, large rain drops hit my shoulder. I fell asleep to slight growls of thunder, fully certain that this Glastonbury wouldn’t be a classic.

That it rained overnight was undeniable.  But I woke, late to fairly clear skies.  The day before’s recriminations had gone of course, today was festival day. But the problem was it was already late and we’d missed. It was the year following John Peel’s passing and the Buzzcocks were to kick off the Pyramid Stage. We couldn’t hear them, but we were already well into that.  There was little to comment on the weather, from people or announcements. Phones were limited, Facebook still not massively adopted. It was a fair walk to get The Glastonbury Free Press, which this year has every adjective available for download.

What was strange was the path running down to near the Pyramid area which was now a stream.  Looking out from our rocky outcrop there wasn’t much to see, but in fact we were missing everything and absolutely nothing.

Muddy Ragnarok

Heimdall had sounded the advent…

That thunderstorm had wreaked merry japes overnight, with direct lightning hits knocking out several stages. Radio 1 was down, flash floods had soaked my original camping choice with four feet of water and the first three bands on the main stage had been cancelled. Our camping solution was suddenly wise, our lateness forgotten.

Suddenly, the year defined by Kylie headlining then not headlining had something a little more traditional to worry about. Heimdall had sounded the advent of a muddy ragnarok.

That’s the thing with Glastonbury. In the indent of the valley, too much sunlight creates a dust bowl which is quickly stirred into mud by just the merest dash of lightest rain. Perfect for the English summer in other words. Fetch some strawberries.

Mud skating is easy to gain proficiency in – and by far the best way to get around. For once, the reduced numbers were a bonus.  Many were conducting salvage operations in newly found lakes and there was no temptation to sunbathe and relax at the Jazz Stage arena.  But most of all, when Glastonbury, with cynically overpriced rain attire packing out its markets, heads for the mud, solidarity is the only way forward. If you get stuck, it’s likely there’s a stranger opposite you who’s also stuck. Force and equal force, equal and opposite attraction. That’s what it’s all about.

Endgame

An inebriant with the lightening flexibility of a thousand Neos

I stayed pristine for two days, with expertly attached surfing bin liners on each foot.  That is until Saturday night, when sneaking past New Order I fell into a crater. To great cheers.  From then it was all bets off, an unrecognisable long-haired golem in a Kleenex tee-shirt.  Still, after that plunge there was still an epic journey to undertake – to the freshly minted John Peel Stage – through an obstacle course of mud and hay bales.  And so fuelled by that same solidarity and six litres of hallucinogenic pear cider I set off.

It was perilous. And by my return, after heckling The Magic Numbers (inadvertently and constantly) the mud stretch back was almost unbreachable.  And to my eternal credit, I missed Coldplay headline a festival once again.  At one point, amid fits of uncontrollable laughter, I reached for support on a railing of clothes, all bundled up for the night. The result was an inevitable reconstruction of The Matrix Reloaded burly ball scene, as thousands of green screened monster merchants filed out to save their merchandise, trying to lamp an inebriant with the lightening flexibility of a thousand Neos.  At least that’s how I remember it. There are absolutely dazzling photos of that Saturday that I am officially barred from showing anyone but most involved parties.

And then, on the Sunday the sun came out to burn the zombiefied gathering.  Hair still caked with mud, the sun beating down I headed to the Pyramid Stage just as a festive Brian Wilson, decked in a typical Hawaiian shirt, introduced Little Saint Nick. All the people reminded him of Christmas he said. Strange days indeed,

Yes, 2005, that was a good year. Although I expect this year to be hailed the best, as is customary, Glastonbury now fits so well as a separate BBC blanket brand it’s difficult to see the appeal of heading back.

Nah, I think I’m done with that.

David Bowie: Can’t Get Enough of that Doomsday Song: Bowie & The Next Day

David Bowie The Next Day

bowie2

A review of sorts of the original creation, as the extended edition of Bowie’s most successful album in two decades is released into the streets and alleys.

AN ALBUM COVER WITH A MORE FAMOUS ONE REMOVED.

Or is it covered up?  It’s a blatant statement with a fair splash of Duchamp, but it represents a whole lot more.  This is Bowie playing on and with the past, and that monochromatic statement is an ideal set-up for the album itself.  An album that is, after all, called The Next Day.  Many concepts were dreamed up in pursuit of the ideal cover and now the success the album has inevitably spawned an extended edition with something a little more complicated on the cover; the square has become a cube (though it’s not called The Next, Next Day or any variant on, sadly).

The original album sits rarely in the Bowie portfolio by not, really, featuring his face – not that it isn’t even more noticeable by its absence.  Of course Bowie’s never got criticism for his photoshopped selfies, because he was doing them way before the words Photoshop or selfies landed on the planet. But he’s always been one of the more integral workers in the field, slavishly pioneering and pushing identity and image with every album as he fell through genre after genre.  And through it all, there’s always been the eyes – surely his most definitive trait amongst the chameleon; effortlessly adding the otherworldly- although only sometimes a manipulated version of the truth, and only a minor facet of his act – even now.

The Tracks

Sight and vision, and particularly eyes, come with added impetus in the video for The Next Day, the title track that blistered fingers as it tore from the traps as the album’s third release.  In the promo, Gary Oldman’s priest enters an ‘establishment’ with a woman carrying her eyes on a plate.  The link of course is St. Lucia, the martyr whose name is linked with the Latin word for light and who’s predilection for proffering her own eyes on a dish is directly lifted.  The Patron Saint of the Blind endured a particularly brutal martyrdom. After rejecting a pagan bridegroom she was condemned as a Christian and sentenced to be defiled in a brothel.   When she was saved by dint of being so filled with the Holy Spirit she was otherwise untouchable, she was tortured and either lost her eyes in the process or removed them herself to preserve her virginity…  The details have become lost…  Particularly in the eyes of Catholic critics who missed the reference.  Although, surely no one can miss the rather tongue in cheek send off in the highly figurative film.

Concepts of early Christian martyrdom tie heavily into The Next Day song, a storming opener for an album that was introduced by the wistfully deceptive trawl to the past Where Are We Now?  That is perhaps the most explicit link to Bowie’s 1970’s Berlin era on the album, as the cover would suggest, but certainly not the only one.  The mid to late 70s riddle the first half of the album, like an old friend and deceptively savage reminder at the same time.

As an album opener, The Next Day is a blistering example of old/new Bowie: a far more effective beast than has been evident since his drum ‘n’ bass days.  The title track is a deep dark trawl through the latest tomes that have fascinated Bowie, as was supposed when the album was announced.  It’s the messy travails of a medieval tyrant, with its first person not-quite-a-chorus allowing a punk screech and one of Bowie’s best vocal performances on the album. From its final call to action of ‘Listen’ – identical to the warning on Low’s Breaking Glass, it sets up a disconcerting agenda for an album that surprises and hits you in the face with its relevance. Religious and historical ties abound, and more overtly pagan than Christian, but tied up in an impressive tense-twister.

The Medieval tyrant and finger pointing at Catholicism in the video may seem simple, but the anti-war songs, ongoing examination of aging, high school shooting constructs and celebrity take downs that it sits among are certainly not.  It’s a cohesive package all the same and, of course, the album is underlined by romance that has flowed in and out of Bowie songs all his career – whether they name check Crowley or The Buddha of Suburbia.

The Next Day propels us into second track Dirty Boys, a different kettle of fish – or perhaps riot kettle of fish.  A brass beat propels a song that trades youthful civil disobedience for Caesar’s famous cry at the Rubicon.  But what challenge is the singer undertaking in crossing that river?  Running with the Dirty Boys may well be a call to get back into the mix or a statement that he still is.  Either way, the tremendous almost award stopping success of The Next Day has brought him back in.  He’s more relevant than simply repeating Caesar’s statement before crossing a forbidden river, but it’s clear that should he get back to the warm safety of Rome, he’s going to stay icy.

The Stars Come Out Tonight is a gleaming Bowie classic, that’s almost too classic, too Bowie.  It had the honour of the long-form video (combined with bonus track Plan) probably for that very reason.  The chord structure recalls some of the lighter touches found in his previous three albums.  A decade later, he’s found a way out of much of the light if haunting synth that was often found there, but he’s still retained the Bowie formula.  To describe it as Bowie tackles celebrity piece is a disservice.  For every Brad and Kate he name checks, the video shows that it’s all about Bowie.

Next, Love is Lost – released at The Mercury Prize hosts a disarming and unsettling video that cost a rather brilliant $12.99.  Here the synth beats of lost trilogy between Hours and Reality is back, but it’s more distorted. More vital.  Bowie’s back to the awkward, tragic youth name-checked on Reality’s title track, and is a far cry from the calls to action of his the songs that once opened Hunky Dory.  There is darkness behind the song – but while it’s awkward and rightfully discordant, it’s also a great lament for love.   It may seem one of the least referential tracks on the album, particularly the 70s focussed first half, but the remix video sets that straight.  Starting off with Bowie near a sink as in the Thursday’s Child video from the late 90s, it moves on to a puppet that unmistakably has a Thin Whiteness about it. Similar to the Where are We Now? video, Bowie’s singing face is projected onto an avatar, but this time a puppet version of the Pierrot clown from his Scary Monsters phase.  Along with the Ashes to Ashes refrain in the remix, included on the Extended edition, brings the 1980s rather joltingly into The Next Day, but it works.  The fixed, jarring beat of Love is Lost and its tortured attempt to rationalise aging by contrast sits well on the album, sliding seamlessly into its most retrospective song, that first single Where are We Now?

In the album, it reminds why it was an extraordinary come-back song.  It’s now a gentle reminder of the shock announcement in early January that the chameleon was emerging from isolation.  That emergence wasn’t as much of a surprise as its sure-footedness…  Like the song itself, it was brilliantly extraordinary.

When Valentine’s Day was released there was little controversy.  Perhaps the papers were asleep or reeling from The Next Day’s religion–baiting.  Or perhaps the song’s spiky riff and “sha la las” – the Elvis-era kick-on he’ll never give up – just slipped it beneath the sensationalist press.  A simple video for a challenging subject, most noticeable is Earl Slick’s guitar, finely piqued and so nearly recalling his legendary work on 1976’s Stay.  It’s a closer production, but again shows that The Next Day buzzes urgently between Station to Station and the Berlin era albums in the latter half of the 1970s.  There may be puns, but they’re pointed and the light lyrics carry biting sentiment, especially in light of his adopted country.

If You Can See Me signals a half-way change.   Musically, it’s either something that Bowie’s pushing or working out of his system.  Recalling his various dance experiments, but perhaps more the jagged discordance of Lodger, it’s overwrought and brilliantly uncomfortable. Crescendo’s crash out of little, but  its searing lyrical sneers pave the way for the album’s real relevance.

When the 21st century kicks in, the 70s retreat a decade.   “I’d rather be dead or out of my head than training these guns on those men in the sands” Bowie sings on I’d Rather Be High.  Its repetitive rhythm is slightly militaristic, clashing hypnotically with a psychedelia – one that can’t help recall the Vietnam songs that surfaced as American rivals in his formative career.  Peaking in the bridge, his pleaded first person crawl back to 17 years old sits uncomfortably with the song’s modern upheaval.  In fact it’s a little odd, effectively odd.  this album isn’t about comfort.

Things get darker and simpler with Boss of Me, another song that wears its slight modern Americana on its sleeve.  Here Bowie again reaches for imagery of the sky again – a common theme in the album – but beneath the bitter sweet romance and sense of companionable hope, cities burn.  It’s one of the dark and rhythmic hearts to the album.  As usual, there is the hint of biography built on giant battlements of imagery.  The mellotron piping and melodramatic lyrics hand it middle eight of the album for me, again recalling the sixties.  Notably, the co-writing credit for such a brass heavy song goes to Gerry Leonard, the latest great guitarist of Bowie’s acquaintance.

Dancing Out In Space recalls famous pop pilgrimages with its nautical,  allegorical beginning.  The kind of stuff that enriches The Beach Boys’ Smile or laid down a mythic base for The Klaxons’ early promise.  The quest returns as Bowie finally makes it back to space.  But while he’s broken through the sky, this is no Fantastic Voyage.   The rush to the first chorus seems a little quick, but in a stripped down album, Dancing plays a big part in its central hope. it’s also somehow a bit dad at a wedding via the Big Bopper.

The discordant peak is claimed by How Does the Grass Grow?  It’s Boys Keep Swinging revisited once again, that song once so blatantly aped by Blur and remodelled twice by Eno and Bowie.  Here however, it’s merged with the Shadows’ classic Apache.  But the occasional Pin Ups covers project that Bowie’s kept rolling through his last couple of albums is gone.  Instead, he brings a new streamlined raucous version of Apache to the heart of the song.  A rather horrid almost-a capella, it’s could be the sneer of a man happy to be alive. But things aren’t right.   Apache is more western than ever, but this time the boys are lying lost…  The graves are back amid the repeat “Blood, blood, blood”.

If The Next Day represents anything, it’s the return of Bowie the lyricist.   I’ve a soft spot for what I’ve termed his forgotten trilogy, but the decade away has clearly been kinder to his lyrical sentiment.

In the past week, Lou Reed’s passing inevitably turned me back to Transformer and then almost naturally on to Iggy Pop’s work with Bowie in the 70s.  I couldn’t helpt he transition.  Bowie was supposedly rather in awe of Iggy’s ability to improvise at the microphone, but there is a huge strength in Bowie’s clinical precision, with its insights and implications and intellectualism.  That’s where the relevance lies in this album.  Between those two masters, Lou Reed’s lyrics and delivery are the perfect mid-point.  In How Does the Grass Grow?, four and a half minutes reveal a number of startling lyrics, from gazing in defeat at the stars and the feeling that “returns with the day”.

(You Will) Set the World on Fire advances the political agenda, but again linking back 50 years to the early 1960s with a huge number of direct references.  Spiky and searing, it’s once again Slick powered.  Next, You Feel So Lonely You Could Die returns to the beginning, nearly nicking a line from a song the hero he shares his birthday with: Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel.  A march powers the ballad before sinking into an exit beat lifted straight from Ziggy Stardust’s Five Years…  It’s an extraordinary composition.  Although ostensibly one of the simplest, it’s production is pure stadium.  It’s not only a companion to Rock And Roll Suicide, but a song where Bowie can once again powerfully visit that ‘room’.  The one that’s blue, blue electric blue…  Or indeed the one where he’s been breaking glass… It’s long been a room of bloody history and needs to be in this album. It’s the room full of questions, and here he’s leaving more than ever.

Heat provides the album’s powerful closer. Harking back to Heathen’s closing Sunday, this is a more obscure prayer structure, filled with imagery, allusion, and confusion… Theatrical, and open-ended, the faux-biography whine of ‘My father ran the prison…” falls away into “I am a seer and I am a liar”.  Said it before, will say it again:  Repeat until the next album.

The Bonus

Bonus tracks on the original release Deluxe Edition show that The Next Day‘s quality wasn’t restricted to the album’s 14 songs.  In fact, the album’s leanness makes the bonuses a delight.  So She is a captivating nursery rhyme, with its heavy nautical themes and killer chorus melody.  Here the skies are sleeping at last while hope arrives courtesy of the other half of Scott Walker that Heat ignored.  Plan, the curtain raiser to the album’s second single is urban, 21st century spin on the Low’s Speed of Life. I’ll Take You There is a compulsive guitar track that provides a far more fitting album close.  From the clearly established opening, “Today, today is the 1st of May” this track – again co-written with Leonard – moves from crashing and catchy lament to a call to action and yet more questions.

The Vital

Solid openings, heavy percussion, the rock in rollicking – that’s the lifeblood of The Next Day. Megalomania sits there more often than not, from tyrants to contemporary mass murderers, brought into focus by biting guitar and changing tenses.  If it’s untroubling for Bowie to portray these characters it can’t simply because he enjoys the controversy baiting; their reflections are all too easy to make out.  The relevance and rage that sits alongside is incredible considering the average age of the album’s contributors and that this is the first album Bowie’s produced in his 60s. It’s loud and tinged with blood.  It says far more important things than many young bands’ debut releases, and maybe that’s the point. What’s happened?

Is it the equal of Berlin?  Is it the greatest rock comeback of all time?  Those are questions that some reviews posited.  The answers need to settle alongside the questions.  It may be one, either or both – but there isn’t a short answer.  It’s an album riddled with death as much as vitality.  It’s prickly and live.  It’s vital.  that’s it’s most important statement.

And of course…  Poets often wait to hear what subconscious findings others dig out of their work.  I’m sure that Bowie’s no different.  The appeal of his previous albums, his forgotten trilogy that concluded 10 years ago, wasn’t simply drawing resignation. There was always a room next door he’d written something awful in.  Our room.  Listen.

Read more about David Bowie’s Forgotten Trilogy here.

David Bowie: Persona and Personae – Which Bowie are you?

Which David Bowie are you?

“Didn’t know what time it was, the lights were low-oh-oh
I leaned back on my radio-oh-oh
To find out which Bow-ie-ie… I was…”

Originally published on Mirror Online

It’s here, the handy intergalactic flowchart to find out which Bowie persona you really are!

Click on the infographic to view the original article and find out your resounding Bowie characteristics below!

Which David Bowie are you?

Which Bowie Are You? - Mirror Online
Via: Mirror.co.uk

So, which Bowie did you end up as and what does it all mean? Here’s a handy guide…

2000s Bowie (As heard on ‘Heathen’ and’ Reality’)

“All things must pass”

Hung-over from the eclectic drum n’ bass days, you’re the older, reflective Bowie; contemplating his life work, acknowledging the past but still wonderfully “struggling for Reality!” Often ripping into classic covers of bands you inspired, no wonder you’re prone to smile on camera a bit more than you used to.

Aladdin Sane (As heard on ‘Aladdin Sane’)

“Cold fire, you’ve got everything but cold fire”

The older Ziggy? Cousin of Ziggy? Something else..? Spinning out from the Spiders of Mars’ web, A Lad Insane you may be, but also the most definitive Bowie look. Cast an eye over your people and bask in the red glow of the lightning bolts blazing across their faces.

Diamond Dog (As heard on ‘Diamond Dogs’)

“Hot tramp, I love you so!”

Finding yourself in a dystopian future with remarkable similarities to Orwell’s 1984, it may be no surprise that you’re the swansong of glam. You may look like Ziggy with all the trappings and, er, a bit more on display, but revolution is in the air. At least you’ve got a tail. Prone to belting out what is possibly the ultimate Bowie track, ‘Rebel Rebel’ you truly are the dog’s.

Earthling Bowie (As heard on ‘Earthling’)

“Sending me so far away, so far away”

After a prolonged grounding, you’re the one who went back to space. Beating Britpop at its own game with glorious McQueen stylings, you’re the most zeitgeisty Bowie, hitting the fastest crazed and basking in a new level of cool. You may not be leading the pack this time, but “Little Wonder” you’re a commercial giant.

Hunky Dory Bowie (As heard on Hunky Dory)

“Hung up on romancing”

Dreaming of sailors fighting in the dance hall while immersing yourself in the works of Aleister Crowley and Nietzsche, you’re the complicated Bowie from which the seeds of personas flourished. Dark and literate you may be, but still with the tendency to wear a good dress and fully aware that you’re “not much cop at punching other people’s dads “.

Jareth the Goblin King (As seen in Labyrinth)

“Nothing, nothing, tra-la-la”

King of Goblin…. Muppets. You’re the star of show in the cult 80s classic with lots of hair and very little trouser fabric. Any slights at your appearance should be met with a resounding play through of the film soundtrack. On a loop. “I… can’t…  live… within you…”

John Blaylock (As seen in The Hunger)

“Forever…?”

Bound to have fun for longer than the average person, you may want to be a little less trusting in your love life.  The tragic victim of Tony Scott’s directorial debut. Aging before our eyes in just hours, the doomed vampire was a part Bowie was destined to play during his rather eclectic acting career. The fact the last Twilight film emerges DVD at the same time as Bowie’s new album is surely no coincidence.

Major Tom (As first heard in Space Oddity)

“Tell My Wife I Love her Very much” “She knows”

The tale of the doomed astronaut that launched possibly the most influential career in music. A recurring character in the catalogue, you’re another tragic character and the first, but by no means the last Bowie persona to have a suspected hedonistic streak… Presumed lost in 1969 in the hype of the moon landings frenzy, your demise may have been greatly exaggerated in ‘Ashes to Ashes’ 11 years later or when popping up later to say ‘Hello Spaceboy’. You can never be sure. You’re the oldest and most lasting Bowie with a title track still ripe for influence and Conchord parody in equal measure.

New Romantic Bowie (As first heard on ‘Scary monsters (And Super Creeps)’)

“I know when to go out and when to stay in. Get things done”

You’re the most successful Bowie, reaching huge heights of success and shrugging off the increased criticism. Whether waxing on about red shoes, Blue Jean or Modern Love in general you can lead from the front while your former child fans, including Culture Club, Duran Duran and countless others, nip at your lime suit trousers. Watch out for tour managers bearing glass spiders…

Nikolas Tesla (As seen in The Prestige)

“Nothing is impossible”

One of the most prominent roles of the Bowie-lite past decade. Who better than this legendary inventor? You’re the Bowie who sports a moustache that can only be described as ‘fine’, just don’t expect anyone to leave you their cat to look after.  A quiet man of reason you may be but also acutely aware of the phenomenal power you can harness –  unlikely to stay put in one place for long.

Thin White Duke (as heard on Station to Station)

“The European Canon is here”

Terrestrial or not, you’re the surely the dark character made flesh from the film ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’. With an alien dissociation from humanity, you’re really not expected to put recyclable rubbish out on the right day.  Dark, menacing and all together rather unpleasant as you wander from Station to Station. Even with one thin white foot touching the ground, your paranoid mind is caught between everything from kabbalah to Norse mythology despite the dawning ‘Golden Years’.

Tin Machine Bowie (As heard on Tin Machine I and Tin Machine II)

“Tin Machine, Tin Machine, take me anywhere”

Every once in a while, a man just needs to be part of a band. You can’t be a solo singing sensation forever, right? You are the democratic Bowie, lead singer and co-writer with in the four-piece combo Tin Machine. The glam of The Spider from Mars is far behind you as you belt out hard rock anthems. The Bowie least likely to invite critics around for afternoon tea.

Ziggy Stardust (As heard on Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars)

“Wham, bam, thank you Ma’am”

What is there to say about the biggest and best Bowie persona – the alien who came to Earth for rock music and fun (though not necessarily in that order)?  Tune-meister, fashionista and Top of the Pops ground-breaker all the way from your ‘Starman’ to your ‘Queen Bitch’ – you are a legend.  One word of warning though: you’re very likely to take it” all too far”.

Read more Bowie on Jokerside:

David Bowie and the Lost Trilogy

The Forgotten Trilogy

David Bowie The Next Day

The Next Day

Bowie on Jokerside

The worst news

David Bowie Station to Station at 40

The Duke

David Bowie Station to Station at 40

The Golden Years

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