Bowie: A Life

 

 

Time to catch up with a few of the books I’ve been reading this year.

Bios have been strong for me. I’m not sure if that speaks to a little laziness on my part or just the struggle to completely immerse in a fictional world at the moment being all too real but regardless, at least I’m reading. Now if only one could derive aerobic benefits from the printed page everything would be hunky dory.

First up is Dylan Jones’s engrossing biography of David Bowie (See what I did there 🙂 )

 

Drawn from a wealth of interviews with journalists, photographers, musical collaborators, business associates, friends, lovers (and a few with whom Bowie simply went bump in the night-lucky sods) this oral history is fascinating.

Jones begins as one would expect, with D.B.’s early years growing up in the English suburbs and how those childhood years, along with family secrets, played such a deep role in shaping the remarkable trajectory of this incredible artist and unquestionable visionary on his glittering path to becoming a legend.

 

Being the complete and utter Bowie fan girl I am, I was almost afraid to read this book but it (he) did not disappoint. I sent my husband ahead first and he assured me it was safe and that Bowie would still be my musical hero. Now that’s a good husband!

Unfailingly good manners, an amazing work ethic and a great sense of humour were all attributes mentioned countless times. Repeatedly  those interviewed talked about how Bowie had a ready and raucous laugh, an open mind and consistently went out of his way to put people at ease.  Was he perfect? Absolutely not. Would you have wanted to hang with him? Hell ya. And though there were many who entered his orbit only too briefly for their liking, I’d say check the track record of other rock stars of the same caliber  (there’s only a few). It’s impossible to imagine that rarified atmosphere. Just for perspective, the day after his death, on the 10th of January, 2016, his recordings attracted a staggering 51 million views on the video-hosting platform VEVO alone, earning the record for the most views of any act on VEVO in 24 hours. A Google search for Bowie pulls up almost 100,000,000 posts.

 

Lastly, I’ll steal from the book’s dust jacket ; “It sparks with admiration and grievances, lust and envy, as the speakers bring you into studios and bedrooms they shared with Bowie, and onto stages and film sets, opening corners of his mind and experience that transform our understanding of both artist and art. Including illuminating, never-before-seen material from Bowie himself, drawn from a series of Jones’s interviews with him across two decades, David Bowie is an epic, unforgettable cocktail-party conversation about a man whose enigmatic shapeshifting and irrepressible creativity produced one of the most sprawling, fascinating lives of our time.”

 

OK, did I just get really lazy again there?

My blogging muscles are atrophied and it’s past the cocktail hour!

Let’s conclude by saying you don’t have to love David Bowie even half as much as I do to find this biography engrossing.  Give it a tumble. Turn the volume up enough to concern the neighbours.

 

 

PS.  Are you going to see “Bohemian Rhapsody”??  I’ll see you there. Can’t wait actually. I’m reading “Somebody to Love”,  the new Freddie Mercury biography right now.

Told you I was on a bio jag.

 

 

 

Any male in your house NOT watching football right now???   ugh.

 

xxSP

 

33 Comments

  1. I get an aerobic workout when I think of David Bowie (pant pant). He was talented and beautiful.

    Fun post!

  2. Not being a Rock fan but being a lover of bio’s upon your recommendation I’ll give it a go on Bowie.

  3. Wow slim! So happy to receive a blog and you know that subject makes my heart beat a little faster. I’m going to buy the book today and as if you read my mind – i went to go see Bohemian Rhapsody last night, you will love love love it. Again, Freddy isn’t necessarily the perfect guy but his talent and personality is additive and the era is just my favourite – remembering London at those times and the musical souvenirs just take me back to a super place, I enjoyed every minutes and you will too! It’s quite ironic that nearly all these mega-stars get sick once they realise their crazy path of drugs and rock and roll wasn’t the best option 🙁

  4. Great post Slim! I saw DB in concert many years back when BC Place opened in Vancouver. Such an exciting time in our city and what a performance he put on! I will never forget it!!

    Saw Bohemian Rhapsody yesterday and LOVED it!

    Hope you love it too!

    Patricia Tebbutt

  5. Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
    Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very fright’ning…
    (Galileo.) Galileo. (Galileo.) Galileo. Galileo Figaro magnifico ooo ooo ooo….Hi Slim! 🙂

  6. I WAS A MONKEY’S FAN……….DAVID NEVER ENTERED MY ORBIT!
    I think HE WAS TO WILD FOR ME!!!!!!
    I COULD NOT NAME A SONG OF HIS IF MY LIFE DEPENDED UPON ON IT!
    BET THATS A FIRST YOU HAVE HEARD OF THAT!
    I’m GLAD the BOOK didNOT LET YOU DOWN……………XX

  7. Slim, you and your delicious, hilarious, well written commentary on life have all been missed. (And let’s not forget your fab photos)….please keep writing……winter is coming…..

  8. Bowie was pretty much the only thing on the turntable my first 2 years of college, so the Bowie bio sounds great, but it will need to wait until I finish the Cazelet Chronicles (I’m currently on Confusion) followed by everything else Elizabeth Jane Howard has ever written. She was a previous recommendation from you for which I am endlessly grateful.

  9. Hi Slim, I love biographies/autobiographies, especially about my heroes, but I haven’t read this one, so thanks for the reminder. One of my favs is Keith Richard’s “Life.” It has a permanent home on my bedside table. Now that I’ve read it, it’s fun to open at random and be reminded that, like Bowie, Keith is one the electrifying avatars of music and rebellion and to catch a glimpse of their humanity. xoxo, Brenda

    • Thanks Brenda. I haven’t read Keith’s bio yet but my husband did, loved it and highly rec. it to me as well. Yikes, just need more time for all the great reads out there!

Would love to hear from you!