Blackstar has been released on this David Bowie’s birthday, January 8th 2016. You can and should listen to the whole thing over and over again.
I fucking love space. It’s more than mere love of science fiction or awe at what astronomy reveals to us or even the mind-numbing implications astrophysics. I love the word, the concept, and the reality. Space. Always already around us, a sublime reminder that our being is of utter inconsequence while at the same time partaking in the vitality of existence.
Fuck. It’s everything all at once.
So, I do enjoy sci-fi and have always been enamored with astronomy (let’s have beers & talk about Tycho Brahe) and my love of philosophy bleeds seamlessly into my love of cosmology.
So it should come as no surprise that the conceptual work of cultural icon David Bowie enraptures me.
I can’t remember exactly when I fell in love with David Bowie. There’s a story I like to tell (it may well be apocryphal), of being a small child (3-4) and detesting being clothed. We owned a paneled red station wagon. I would climb into the very back, turn on my tiny plastic record player, place a flimsy 45 record of Bowie’s song ‘Fashion’ that I got from god-knows where, and dance as I flung off all the constricting garments my mother had dressed me in that day. My mother would tell me, she’d look in her rearview mirror and see a tiny pink butt shaking back and forth. The point of the anecdote is, from the first Bowie allowed me to indulge my strange little self.
In high school, my best girlfriend and I would watch the opening of The Hunger over and over ruining dubbed VHS after VHS. The combination of Peter Murphy, Catherine Deneuve, and David Bowie aroused and terrified us.
When Bowie’s character dies in The Hunger, just stop watching. The life of the story is gone. But damn. Bowie. Even his comical hair and codpiece in Labyrinth endeared him to me. In college, I came to be obsessed with Bowie’s Outside album and was finally able to watch The Man Who Fell to Earth (the cover art inspiration for my most beloved Bowie albums, Low and Station to Station). Once again, I was blown away. The queer sexuality of Bowie’s performance was heightened by a kind of asexual lamentation that was perfectly alien. As was his character’s ethos. I can count on one hand the number of films that I’ve so deeply identified with and that were actually good movies. I think is drastically underrated.
Earlier this month, I heard that Bowie will be releasing a new album. I can’t wait. Unlike some, I don’t just feel draw to his work out of nostalgia. The Next Day was a superb work. When Bowie teamed up with Tilda Swinton for the video for “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” I just about swooned myself to death with reverence for their gender-bender skills.
Today while everyone else in the music world is getting diabetes, Bowie released a thirty second trailer for his new album and short film Blackstar.
Will it be a masterwork? That is an inconsequential question. What we are seeing and hearing is the continued and enticing mutability of Bowie’s work as it reaches out to possess aspects and glimpses of what it was in the past while at the same time pushing itself to form something wholly new.
You get that sense from the snippet of the album’s title track that’s heard in the opening credits of the show The Last Panthers.
I am stupidly eager for all this.