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Bowie by Simon Critchley

By Simon Critchley

Simon Critchley first encountered David Bowie within the early seventies, while 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 figuring out, so strange.” days later Critchley’s mum got a replica of the only; she beloved either the music and the performer’s shiny orange hair (she had formerly been a hairdresser). The seed of a lifelong love affair was once therefore planted within the brain of her son, elderly 12.

In this concise and fascinating day trip 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 ways Bowie lit up his uninteresting existence in southern England’s suburbs with philosophical forays into the best way thoughts 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.

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

"Critchley lovingly reveals profoundly deep cuts from each Bowie period in a quick sharp e-book valuable of its topic. Miraculously doubles up as an advent to philosophy." —Gruff Rhys, member of great hairy Animals

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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 . . poetry (die the guards are sleeping. She shouts, “Long live the Dichtung). King! )” It seems like a suicidal gesture and one imagines that she is swiftly dis- Fascinatingly, Celan places Lucile’s act under the patched, although Büchner leaves the audience to aegis of Kropotkin’s anarchism of mutual aid and draw that inference.

I wore out two copies of working in a sheet-metal factory with my dad. So, “Heroes” by imitating the bass parts on my Fender when Bowie half sang the words, in “Sound and Jazz copy, and lost my third. I thought to myself Vision,” “Drifting into my solitude,” it had a pro- and told anyone whose ear I could bend that this found effect. I too had been low. was how music should sound. I still think that’s true. The effects of the recording and production Punk changed all that, and by March 1977 I was techniques in “Heroes” can still be heard loud and wearing black bondage trousers, a Lewis leather clear in contemporary music—for example the jacket, and twelve-hole Dr.

This fourfold pattern is perhaps clearest 1969 and 1980, excluding live recordings, com- in the inhabitation of American soul and R & B in pilations, plus all that he did for Lou Reed on Young Americans. A perfect imitation of a genre Transformer (Reed’s best-selling and best solo also leads to its subtle elevation and then Bowie album), for Iggy Pop on the monumental The Idiot gets bored, destroys it, and moves on. Station and Lust for Life, for Mott the Hoople, and even to Station is informed by clear traces of Young for plucky little Lulu, Bowie effectively disappears Americans, but is already shedding its skin and in 1980.

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