Bowie by Simon Critchley

By Simon Critchley

Simon Critchley first encountered David Bowie within the early seventies, whilst the singer seemed on Britain’s most-watched song express, most sensible of the Pops. His functionality of “Starman” mesmerized Critchley: it was once “so sexual, so realizing, so strange.” days later Critchley’s mum obtained a replica of the one; she beloved either the tune and the performer’s brilliant orange hair (she had formerly been a hairdresser). The seed of a lifelong love affair used to be therefore planted within the brain of her son, elderly 12.

In this concise and interesting expedition throughout the songs of 1 of the world’s maximum pop stars, Critchley, whose writings on philosophy have garnered frequent compliment, melds own narratives of the way Bowie lit up his uninteresting existence in southern England’s suburbs with philosophical forays into the best way techniques of authenticity and id are grew to become within out in Bowie’s paintings. the result's approximately as provocative and mind-expanding because the artist it portrays.

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"The strongest and provocative thinker now writing …" —Cornel West

"Critchley lovingly reveals profoundly deep cuts from each Bowie period in a brief sharp ebook important of its topic. Miraculously doubles up as an advent to philosophy." —Gruff Rhys, member of great bushy Animals

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Mix, it made perfect sense to us. Even the ambi- ten-minute and fourteen-second ent and instrumental side two. It was a cold winter 106 CR I T CHL E Y B O W IE 10 7 and this was the chilliest modernism. ” It also sounded black for it. For reasons that I still don’t understand, and was as funky as hell, driven on by Bowie’s best I spent four months at the end of 1976 in com- rhythm section of Dennis Davis, Georges Murray, plete solitude, apart from forced interactions with and Carlos Alomar. Robert Fripp’s Frippertronics my mother and odd days and Saturday mornings floated above in the ether.

Not so 1 16 CR I T CHL E Y B O W IE 117 much Let’s Dance (1983), which has several fine moments (I had been an assiduous student in producer Nile Rodgers’s school of funk for many years), but the slow and seemingly irreversible decline that was palpable on Tonight (1984), apart from “Loving the Alien,” and the truly execrable Never Let Me Down (1987). Bowie had somehow become convinced that covering and killing songs that he had co-written with Iggy, like “Neighborhood Threat,” was a good idea.

Allow me, who grew up on the effectively. We have become heathen. Danton writings of Peter Kropotkin and Gustav goes on, Landauer, to insist: this is not homage to any monarchy, to any yesterday worth preserving. The world is chaos. Nothingness is the worldgod waiting yet to be born (das Nichts ist das It is homage to the majesty of the absurd which zu gebärende Weltgott). bespeaks the presence of human beings. Danton’s Death ends with Lucile—most Ophelia- This, Ladies and Gentlemen, has no definitive like—mounting the steps of the guillotine where name, but I believe that this is .

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