Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Bowie

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  • Peter Darlington,

    Nothing brings back feelings of what a remote outpost NZ was in the 1970s like David Bowie. His album covers for Ziggy, Alladin Sane, Pin Ups and Diamond Dogs between 1972-74 show him to be a completely alien presence, almost unfathomable to the reality of growing up over here. That mystery is what made him so attractive.

    I don't think you can underestimate the internationalism he brought to popular music for us white bread suburban audiences as well. It's easy to forget post-hip hop, dance music, remix culture and the Internet that once upon a time we had no access to or knowledge of the sounds of Africa, the middle East, Eastern Europe etc... that he embraced and challenged us with, particularly over the 10 year period from Young Americans through to Let's Dance.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Double,

    He was actually a first rate writer of prose. It seemed to come more naturally than lyrics. Some mag I've forgotten commissioned him to write a series of science fiction short stories a while back and they were great. In a style of course, but that was his modus operandi. They'll be buried on the internet somewhere but I'm damned if I can find them.

    He was rock's first European. And has there ever been a better collaborator? Someone should have hit him up for an instruction manual because he was the gold standard.

    It's funny, I'm no superfan and I haven't cared much about his actual music since (bloody hell!) Scary Monsters, but I was quite shocked and even a little upset when I heard. He was supposed to be always there. I mean, he's from the future isn't he?

    Wellington • Since Dec 2012 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Ken Double,

    There's this of course.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2012 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Some excellent music nerdy for you Pete: how Bowie fathered the Sleng Teng rhythm and the Sex Pistols' 'God Save the Queen'.

    Love it! I've always just presumed it was based on Eddie Cochrane but you can certainly hear it in "Hang onto yourself", possibly with Bowie inspired by EC of course.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    possibly with Bowie inspired by EC of course.

    Yes, that seems to be the case.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    My husband and I are fucking sad as shit. I realised this morning this has catapulted right to the top of my personal Musician Death Sadness Rankings. I'm not sure how to create a proper post about this quite yet.

    Let me just say that I am so moved by what a friend of mine called the "ultimate mic drop" of creating a beautiful work of art of his own death. What a totally inspiring badass he was, right to the end.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Bennett, in reply to Danielle,

    I completely agree. Haven't felt this shocked and sad about the death of a musician since John Lennon died in 1980.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 169 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Simon Bennett,

    I was only six when John Lennon died so I had to be retroactively sad by myself when I became a proper fan, but I was pretty crushed when George went in 2001. And Elliott Smith in 2003. This is a lot worse. Sigh.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Attachment

    *Illustration by: Helen Green
    from: http://blog.longreads.com/2016/01/11/david-bowie-1947-2016/


    No intimations of mortality here…

    Namaste to the mime who became a temporal meme
    one of our writers of passage!
    the g-g-g-gene-genius who came back to save us…

    *<Russell if that wayward gif above looks like it is gonna get loose and eat the site, delete it if you need to - it was better behaved on the linked site might be a frame size issue or somesuch>

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to Danielle,

    My husband and I are fucking sad as shit. I realised this morning this has catapulted right to the top of my personal Musician Death Sadness Rankings. I'm not sure how to create a proper post about this quite yet.

    I hear ya. The deaths of Bowie, Lemmy and John Bradbury (The Specials) all in the space of 2 weeks are like disparate elements of my youth breaking off and disappearing. Feels too soon for this.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Attachment

    There's a great Bowie aggregation here at Dangerous Minds

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Swain,

    One thing I've admired about David Bowie in recent years was that he sought new ideas in music after his commercial peak rather than rehashing his hits, and succeeded in making interesting albums. Hours..., Outside, Earthling, The Next Day, etc... they're all good and I listen to them regularly.

    Japan • Since Apr 2013 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready,

    He got it. He also got the internet in the Paxman interview as being a two way street. Wonder how many MSM still don't get that properly? BTW in the Paxman interview he said the only thing he collected was art. I've managed to find that he had Tintoretto, Rubens, Gavin Turk and Gilbert & George. Anyone know what else? And given the Turk was he an intellectual postmodernist?

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    *<Russell if that wayward gif above looks like it is gonna get loose and eat the site, delete it if you need to – it was better behaved on the linked site might be a frame size issue or somesuch>

    Ha ha! It is pretty wayward, isn't it? I think it'll be all right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell,

    I didn't go to QE2 1978 concert but gosh I nearly forgot, my father was on a the flight returning to Chc from Sydney. My father was sat next to (this in the days before business class),one David Bowie. They got talking, dad having no idea whatsoever who he was (more a fan of Mario Lanza!) exchanged small talk which amounted to pretty well, 'I'm Patrick'...'I'm David'...'I design and sell paint brushes... and what do you do?' ...'Oh, I'm in the entertainment business'!

    In the days also before airbridges, they exited together to huge applause, my father bedazzled by the yelling and cheering - until a hostess told him who Bowie was and who the applause was for!

    BTW there was I think on this tour an interview between Andrew (Here's Andy - or Shazam?) Shaw and Bowie - Shaw was ripped to shreds if I recall. As of writing couldn't find the video.

    I did find though on NZ on Screen this excerpt from a 1982 visit to film parts of Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence - interview on Radio with Pictures with Brent Hansen - http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/radio-with-pictures-1982

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 379 posts Report Reply

  • JP Hansen,

    Attachment

    NZ iTunes album chart as of about 10 minutes ago.

    Waitakere • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    ‘I’m Patrick’…’I’m David’…’I design and sell paint brushes… and what do you do?’ …’Oh, I’m in the entertainment business’!

    This delights me so much.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    We were having a discussion at work about why David Bowie's death is quite such a big deal. I don't know that we came up with any insight.

    I think part of it is that Bowie spanned so many decades and in each he was so original, so every generation has had a unique Bowie that is their own to remember. From each unique starting point many of us have then explored the other Bowies.

    I also think part of it for me is that he brought out the best in others. Collaboration is such a tricky beast and very often is seems to be dominated by one or the other. But with Bowie it seemed like when he collaborated he lifted whomever it was to a new level, finding a way to mesh with and enhance rather than dominate.

    I think another part of it is the obvious respect he garnered from his peers.

    I'm not sure for myself why his death has struck such an emotional chord in me, but it has.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Bowie Down Under (that other downunder)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    ALL of them????

    No, just the obscure and less popular stuff. It doesn't seem entirely chronological either.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Danielle,

    I was only six when John Lennon died

    I was 18 and I had to go onstage in a comedy after we'd heard. Not the most fun time but perhaps we tried that little bit harder.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Hebe,

    Intellectuals can be fans too. ;-)

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2539 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    just to add another to the pile, a Radio Soulwax Bowie mix

    and really dug your first post there Danielle.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 438 posts Report Reply

  • Soon Lee, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    To anyone who ever grew up in a conformist community, where [INSERT NON-MAINSTREAM ACTIVITY HERE] was frowned on if you're lucky, or got you beaten up or worse if you weren't, Bowie told us it's okay to be different in the most emphatic way possible: he lived it.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2013 • 142 posts Report Reply

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