Always knew there was something right about Bowie

Bowie was known for his sense of humor; he had memorable turns as a comic actor in the film “Zoolander” and the television series “Extras.” His book list reveals his love of comedy with novels such as Spike Milligan’s “Puckoon,” Keith Waterhouse’s “Billy Liar,” John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces” and Evelyn Waugh’s “Vile Bodies,” which Bowie credited as influencing his song “Aladdin Sane.”

Puckoon and Dunces are both fabulous and most odd. Anyone who likes them has something right with them.

16 thoughts on “Always knew there was something right about Bowie”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    His heart was in the right place in other ways too. The week before Reagan came to Berlin and called on Gorbachev to tear down the wall, Bowie not only played in Berlin, he played close enough to the Wall so that people on the other side could gather and listen:

    The concert was held near enough to the border that many East Berliners crowded along the wall to listen to the forbidden American and British music wafting across the city, allowing these two halves of the city to hear the same show, divided but together.

    “The mood was one of enjoying forbidden fruit,” Olof Pock, then a 15-year-old kid living in East Berlin, later told Deutsche Welle. “We knew that this was somehow being done for our benefit.”

    When Bowie performed on the second night, he began by telling the crowd, in German, “We send our wishes to all our friends who are on the other side of the wall.” He sang “Heroes,” the song he’d recorded in Berlin a decade earlier amid the city’s Cold War fear and violence.

    A lot of musicians would have sung in Berlin, perhaps even for people on the other side of the Wall, but only the guards. Yeah, Billy Bragg, looking at you mate.

  2. Ignatius Reilly is one of the greatest comic creations of the 20th century.

    Like a bitch in heat, I seem to attract a coterie of policemen and sanitation officials.

  3. An Afrikaans teacher in Johannesburg introduced us to Puckoon. It’s one of the many things for which I am grateful to Mr. Van der Wolf.

  4. Come, come, come? I’m not asking for hundreds of pounds, just a little to start with. Will someone say ten shillings?’
    ‘I can say it, Father’ said Milligan, ‘but I haven’t got it.’
    ‘I’ve got it,’ thought Dr Goldstein, ‘but I’m not going to say it.”


    I love it…

  5. In interviews (after he kicked the drugs) he always came across as viewing his fame as a slightly absurd thing and not making him a special person.

    In an age where people feel the need to share every aspect of his lives, there is also something admirable about the way he kept his illness private.

  6. Ignatius Reilly is one of the greatest comic creations of the 20th century.

    True. The first time I read the book I was laughing so much I would drop it.

  7. I lost my copy of Puckoon years ago and will have to get another one, but anyone who liked it is alright in my book.

    My favourite, train driver sent for emergency coal.
    “What took you so long?”

    “Yes I know, I was watching through the window. Jeez you’ve got a spotty arse”.

  8. There was meant to be a bit in there about the errand boy shagging the farm daughter, but oops, angle brackets and HTML.

  9. I was chatting with a mate earlier, musian who knew & worked with him. He was emphatic what a decent bloke he was. “Always good fer a laff.” as he put it. Unlike many in the industry, I’d imagine.

  10. Theo – it had me sniggering like a schoolboy who’s just discovered tits in the National Geographic.

    The wonderful thing about Ignatius is that such chaps do indeed exist. We call them neckbeards these days.

  11. Steve — The wonderful thing about Ignatius is that such chaps do indeed exist.

    Indeed. Ignatius reminds me of my brother-in-law, who is hygienically challenged and keeps cockroaches as pets.

    Though not in the belly-laugh league, Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Scoop’ is chuckle-rich.

  12. Bloke in Costa Rica

    The Miiligan war diaries are excellent too. I hyperventilated the first time I read Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall.

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