A while ago I started writing a post about the “retirement” of David Bowie who, since his heart attack in 2004, seemed to have given up the rocking and rolling and was content to live the quiet domestic life in New York – painting, reading, and picking his kid up from school. I thought of him as the stranded alien Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell To Earth who has wearily “had enough” at the end and lives in anonymous seclusion.
Like 99% of the posts I start writing it never got finished, but the point I was going to make was that I was happy for Bowie that he’d retired, and personally didn’t care much if he never made another record because, you know, we’ll always have Paris. He made enough great records and left me with enough good memories that his reputation was golden for the rest of his life, no matter how many average late-career records he made that I didn’t want to buy.
But I suppose he must have had a creative itch he needed to scratch because he’s gone and made another one after a 10-year silence which raises the hype and expectation way higher than it was for Reality or Heathen and all those other albums of his I was never arsed enough about to actually buy (along with everybody else). He’s risking a lot with The Next Day because people are paying attention this time and he could have very publicly fallen flat on his geriatric rocker face with it, but — phew! — it’s actually a very good album. Not Hunky Dory or Low good of course, but almost Lodger or Scary Monsters good. Pulling off this surprise this might be Bowie’s most audacious move in a career that’s been full of them.
Now if only Paul McCartney would bugger off for 10 years.
Not had anything by Dame David here for a while and this is a corker. This clip from TOTP was thought to have been lost for years, one of the many tapes that the BBC wiped, and hadn’t been seen since it was first broadcast in 1973. Then last year the cameraman came forward with a copy he’d had made at the time, not realizing that it was the only one in existence — “I just couldn’t believe that I was the only one with it. I just thought you wouldn’t be mad enough to wipe a tape like that” he said. Makes you wonder what else has been lost.