(These are fragmentary thoughts, first started around 4am on Sunday night/Monday morning, when I learned about David Bowie's death.)
A post I wrote about David Bowie's legendary Ziggy Stardust concert at London's Rainbow Theatre. I was seventeen at the time!
I somehow never quite imagined David Bowie's death, listening to Rock'n'Roll Suicide all those years ago. He went with grace. Peace.
|Commander Chris Hadfield performs David Bowie's Space Oddity on the International Space Station.|
See the extraordinary video at the bottom of this post.
Beautiful thought from Tumblr: the accumulation of Bowie being played all over the world right now must be enough to hear from space. I hope he can hear it.
One of the most beautiful renditions of David Bowie's music (YouTube video below): Seu Jorge - Rock n' roll Suicide, from Wes Anderson's magical film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Part of the joy of my life has been knowing, working with and loving Nicolas Roeg, who directed David Bowie in his best film, The Man Who Fell To Earth - a role Bowie was born to play.
I remember a story of Bowie, at the height of his fame (truly a megastar), going to Nic's house to meet him for the first time. Nic was out or late or both (Nic's sense of time is unique, though he's usually very punctual) and Bowie waited six hours, I think (or some extraordinary length of time) to meet Nic, such was his respect for Nic's filmmaking and his desire to play the role.
|David Bowie with director Nicolas Roeg, shooting The Man Who Fell To Earth.|
At the end of my post about Nic - whom I first met just after he had made The Man Who Fell To Earth - is a wonderful piece by my friend, film critic Ryan Gilbey, with an anecdote that perhaps explains why the film was a huge cult success but not a major commercial one:
Around the same time, Roeg was driving near LA when a vehicle came up behind him, the driver blasting the horn. "I stopped in the lay-by, and it turned out to be a producer I knew. He said, 'I saw The Man Who Fell to Earth last night. I always thought it was a piece of shit. And I suddenly got it – it's you, isn't it? That Newton fella [the homesick alien entrepreneur played by David Bowie]. He's you! Well, I just wanted to say I was wrong. And it takes a lot for me to say that.' That was seven years after the film was released." He chortles at the memory. "Of course, The Man Who Fell to Earth was bad timing, too. Came out around the same time as the George Lucas one."
Anyway, I'm very glad that I know Nic, met David Bowie once, knew several of his friends a little (including the wondrous Cherry Vanilla), and was lucky enough to see him perform - spectacularly - at several of his most seminal performances.
I am struck most of all, now that he is gone but his music and art remain, by how incredibly tender his work is, often behind a very clever facade, and by how much he represented misfits, outsiders, kooks, queers, queen bitches, jean genies and many, many so-called normal people who recognized that we all have within us a multitude of possibilities.
And who else has had a truly unforgettable song performed outside our atmosphere, in the most fitting setting imaginable, by Commander Chris Hadfield on the International Space Station? The stars look very different today ✨
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