Monday, April 9, 2007
A bit of an off day today. Woke up sweatty with head- and stomach pains. All day drowsiness, hope it's not the flu after all. Have been flu-free for years and want to keep it that way. So strangely enough I hope it's something I ate yesterday. Have been doing some reading on Bowie and some writing on the theory part of my book, in between dozing off. Bowie is, much more and deeper so than the later Madonna, able to transform spirit of the times into song. In his biography someone put it like this:
'Bowie’s unique ability is to distil an essential ‘now-ness’; to provide us with the quintessence of what it’s like to live through one particular period. This has always given his work not so much the aura of prophecy, rather a sort of surrealist diary-maker’s take on existence. Where other pop writers (Dylan, Lou Reed, Neil Young, Elvis Costello) capture the present primarily through language, Bowie summons it up rather more abstractly with images, textures, feelings.'
That's why I've always loved his work. He's a typical hero for someone growing up in the seventies: always adding new layers to his personality and growing without letting his identity override everything he does, like the Springsteens and the 'emotional' singer songwriters like Jeff Buckley do. That's what kept him so long in the race, as another writer commented:
‘when Elvis was doing an imitation, he was doing an imitation of himself. Bowie isn’t doing an imitation of himself because it’s not clear who Bowie is, and that’s the big difference. Bowie couldn’t ... slip into self parody, because there was never an authentic original to parody in the first place.'
Well, perhaps only his 'face' in the superstar era of the 80s has cost him points. Too long he played the shrewd business Bowie, so that people came to believe that was his true identity. Shame, because some of his albums from the nineties are among his best.
Marcel and I will take a short holiday to the Gulf Islands this week, so not sure if there will be many posts. Will I have a connection? We'll see. Anyway, that will be between Thursday and Friday next week.