So what about David Bowie then, eh?

Piecing together comments from old friends and acquaintances, and public sightings in local art galleries and book shops, it would appear that Bowie spends his time painting, drawing and reading, and doting on his daughter. Business associates suggest he still takes a keen interest in the exploitation of his back catalogue, which brings in millions of pounds a year. But what he does not appear to be doing is writing new songs and preparing a dramatic and lucrative comeback.

There\’s a rumour or two that a newspaper or two polished up their obituaries last week. These sorts of stories do sweep through such places. Could be, I\’ve no inside information.

However, I\’ve always rather thought that Bowie didn\’t see himself as a musician at all, but as an artist. An artist just as much as Damian Hirst is, or even Picasso. Music just happened to be a part of his art, not the art itself.

I have absolutely no inside information on this either, it\’s just an impression from the outside.

That he was and is hugely musically talented is irrelevant. It was always about the show, not the songs, about the performance not the music.

And when there\’s no artistic comment to make then why bother? There are examples of writers simply stating that they\’ve nothing more to say so they stop writing. Of composers doing the same.

OK, OK, this is nonsense on stilts built on foundations of sand. But it does explain why he\’s not touring the old songs each year: because the songs were never what it was all about.

6 thoughts on “So what about David Bowie then, eh?”

  1. Business associates suggest he still takes a keen interest in the exploitation of his back catalogue, which brings in millions of pounds a year. But what he does not appear to be doing is writing new songs and preparing a dramatic and lucrative comeback.

    So a man who continues to make millions from past exploits quits working? Wow!

  2. “He was and is hugely musically talented”.

    Would anyone care to make an argument in support of that assertion?

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    2Churm Rincewind – “Would anyone care to make an argument in support of that assertion?”

    If you’re going to pick an argument, go big. Say that Genesis had more talent in their drummer on an off day than Bowie had in his entire career.

    I think we should all be grateful that Bowie has shut up and not become, say, a gardening correspondent for the Guardian like Kim Wilde, or Germaine Greer, or what have you. Had he come back and stayed in Britain no doubt he would be the Lord of some Small Manor, presiding over village fetes and greased pig raffles.

    Why, oh Why, Lord, did you take Jimmy Hendrix so young and so many of them too late?

  4. “Say that Genesis had more talent in their drummer on an off day than Bowie had in his entire career.” and Paul McCartney was the best Beatle!!!

    Strangely enough millions of Africans agree with you. He’s massive on the continent. Sort of like Eastern Europe and those weird Heavy Metal bands

    I saw Bowie in the 90’s a few times at festivals doing drum and bassy sort of stuff. it just seemed like he was some old dude who didn’t get was us kids were listening to.

    Found out later with The Berlin Triology he pioneered electronic music so I might might have a re-listen to see if sounds better with age and I was just being a snob.

    And on the art thing, of course, without that you just get all these crap Simon Cowwell talent show people.

  5. “Why, oh Why, Lord, did you take Jimmy Hendrix so young and so many of them too late?”

    “Old” Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and Arthur Lee performances where some of my favourite shows

  6. @3 SFMS – I wasn’t trying to pick an argument. I was (and am) genuinely interested in what contributors to this blog would consider a suitable rationale for assessing creative excellence.

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