21 September 2009

One of My “Heroes” Keeping a “Low” Profile These Days ...

Periodically, I have the terrible fear that something is amiss in the universe. Normally I’d hop into my TARDIS and investigate, but round about this point I remember that Doctor Who is a fictional character and that I’m not him, so bang goes that plan. Instead, I often turn to the series-of-tubes and Google randomly (using The Google) till I identify the gnawing feeling and find a remedy.

Recently, what was eating away at my soul like h.pylori in the stomach was the long “radio” silence of one Mr. David Bowie. Now, you know, he’s the father of a young daughter, and had some heart trouble a while back, but apart from some very occasional cameos here and there we haven’t heard or seen all that much of him in the last half-decade. As Brock Sampson says, “It’s quiet ... too quiet.”

Now he’s perfectly entitled to a break (or even permanent retirement) if he wants, but it would be nice if he’d just say something definitive. Bowienet is a dead man walking, with seemingly no further involvement from The Man since about 2005. Eternal rumours of him turning up at Coachella or Glastonbury or some such are either shot down or proven false. I’ve not even seen any news of him doing movie roles, and you know how much he likes doing that. There were also some rather worrying photos of him in years past where he looked distinctly unhealthy -- if it is possible for a man who was unnaturally thin and beautiful his whole life to do so -- ironically looking rather the opposite of modern-day Steve Jobs. Again, Bowie can throw out his girdle and gain a few pounds if he wants to, he’s earned it, and he can finally begin aging like the rest of us and that’s fine too. But there’s a difference between old and healthy and old and unhealthy.

So, finally, I turned to the Magic Mirror that is the internet and tried to find something, anything, that proved The Frail White Duke alive and well in 2009. This would probably have ended in frustration if not for the good luck of his son, Duncan Jones, in having a art-house/sci-fi/cult hit with his first full-length feature Moon. Nothing to get your pop out of the study like winning a prize at a major film fest or three, eh wot?

So behold, a photo of Mr and Mrs Iman at the Tribeca Film Fest in New York, this past April 30th. It's one of the most recent I could find, and yes, it does look like he’s morphing into Christopher Walken, and yes that’s a bit creepy, but you know what? He looks pretty good to me. I’d still kiss him.

(Picture of Bowie with Duncan Jones further down, keep scrolling)

So, a collective “whew” from RadioChas and a renewal of the patience needed to wait till his next record. Let’s just hope he doesn’t go all Lene Lovich on us, we’re no spring chickens ourselves these days ...

(ps. Duncan clearly has his dad’s nose, teeth and chin, don’t you think?)


Anonymous said...

I just got Bowie's latest CD/DVD - VH1 Storytellers from 1999. It's great but it's a placeholder. What's Bowie's next album? In 2010? A 2xCD of the soundtrack from the Reality DVD of 2004. Face it Charles. He's retired. What's he got to prove? Nothing. He's done it all by now. Heart trouble is a wake up call and this man heeded it. He's set financially and I don't blame him in the least. I would do it too.

If "Bring Me The Disco King" is Bowie's swan song (the last cut on Reality and a tour de force jazz number) I can hardly imagine a better track for him to bow out on. My only wish, should he ever find himself in a recording studio again, is a whole album in this vein.

Ron Kane said...


Which of Bowie's post-Let's Dance albums have you liked? I know Jim D. is all over 'em!


chas_m said...

Jim: I'm OK with him retiring, just make it official already so I can stop living in hope.

Yeah, he could (and has!) done a lot worse than Reality, and you're certainly right that he doesn't have anything left to prove, though I confess I'd still like to see him do a guest turn as either a Bond or Doctor Who villain. That, I think, would make my Bowie "story" complete. :)

chas_m said...

Ron: DB went into a LONG "uneven" period after "Let's Dance," but there are bits to like on each of his albums after that until he found himself again in the mid-90s.

As of "Earthling" I felt he was pretty much back on track, foreshadowed by "Buddha of Suburbia" as referenced previously on this very blog!

I particularly enjoyed "hours ..." as a solid, complete work. "Heathen" and "Reality" were good too, but not quite as consistent as "hours".