Memories of David Bowie

Hi was asked to write a short piece on David Bowie this week for Wales Arts review. I have copied the first half of the short essay below, but to read the rest, and many other tributes, click here.

David Bowie’s birth date of January 8th has always had resonance for me. He shares this with both his hero Elvis Presley and my late father in law, so through my adult years it was a date I always remembered. January 8th 2016 however was to be different – this marked the release Bowie’s new album Blackstar – this was special – distinct – anticipated. Although work commitments resulted in me not being able to listen to the album during the first couple of days after its release, the Bowie headlines that dominated both mainstream press and social media took a while to resonate on the morning of January 11th.

After initially being convinced my Facebook feed was simply congratulating the great man on his latest artistic achievement – the reality slowly began to hit home. David Bowie was dead! Throughout the day, I listened to Blackstar several times, trying to make sense of Bowie’s death as I went about my daily duties. Being one of the pre-teen generation who witnessed first-hand Bowie’s iconic Top of the Pops performance of ‘Starman’ on July 6th 1972 , my first response was one of emotion. This was a guy who had always been around. He was a signifier of my youth and I felt like I had lost part of it. More significantly, I remembered Bowie the artist. Ziggy Stardust remains the only album I have purchased three times – on both vinyl and CD. I was also reminded of the fact that Bowie was beginning to populate academia and the establishment. The Kingston University professor attempting to understand Bowie’s creative impulses by dressing like him for a year and The Victoria and Albert Museum Bowie archive came to mind. Closer to home, Bowie’s biographer, Paul Trynka was in the process of enrolling to do a PhD under my supervision – investigating Bowie’s complex personae. Having recently read Paul’s fabulous book, Starman (2012), Bowie was close to my heart on January 11th.

Click here for the rest of the article.

About Paul Carr

Academic working at the University of Glamorgan
This entry was posted in Musicology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Memories of David Bowie

  1. paulkelly20 says:

    I haven’t got to Blackstar yet, but I’ve just been watching re-discovered footage of David Bowie and The Spiders performing The Jean Genie on Top of The Pop. It’s interesting how Bowie inadvertently re-contextualises music of an earlier era. Listen to that Guitar/Bass/Drums riff, especially with the harmonica. Take away the lyrics and the costumes and this is 1950s electric Chicago Blues. It wouldn’t sound out of place on a Muddy Waters or Howling Wolf record.


  2. Paul Carr says:

    Excellent observations!


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