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Davy Jones' Video Locker and 66th Birthday
January 7, 2013 11:00 PM   Subscribe

It seems David Bowie recently got a Vimeo account, and is posting lots of videos from across the years on his website. Including one yesterday for his new single, which is being released ahead of his first album in ten years. Way to celebrate your 66th, Ziggy!
posted by not_on_display (90 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
Moonage Daydream - from the Ziggy movie
posted by philip-random at 11:20 PM on January 7, 2013


Young Americans on Dick Cavett's show - 1974
posted by philip-random at 11:22 PM on January 7, 2013


I knew somebody who told David Bowie to get out their seat. Respect.
posted by mazola at 11:33 PM on January 7, 2013


I share a birthday with Mr. Bowie. And Elvis. And Graham Chapman.

Yeah... My birthday's totally better than yours.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:41 PM on January 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


Wow.

Just talking with my lady about what we think Bowie is actually doing these days, since I thought I read about a health scare and I know he's turned down lots of things old rock stars get asked to do.

I guess setting up a vimeo account is the answer. I wonder what his instagram looks like
posted by C.A.S. at 11:52 PM on January 7, 2013


I came here ready to snark but -- but -- the new single is pretty good. Very sad song, actually.
posted by bardic at 11:54 PM on January 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


so... the new song sounds good. puppets like the nomi/snl performance. kinda reminds me of ashes to ashes. a sad/pretty reference laden song. berlin. I've seen all the other vids, the new video is the most interesting part for me.
posted by kittensofthenight at 11:55 PM on January 7, 2013


like a demo for heathen- the instrumentation sounds more relaxed than 'recent' bowie. heathen was great though.
posted by kittensofthenight at 11:56 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know that there are lots of mixed feelings about Ricky Gervais (personally, I love him) but I do believe that this is one of the best things David Bowie's done in recent years.

Love the new song, too.

Happy birthday, you excellent man!
posted by h00py at 11:59 PM on January 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess he got Watch and Ward to help out with the running of THE LEAGUE OF CALAMITOUS INTENT!
posted by JHarris at 12:08 AM on January 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


I really never imaged he would put out another record and I am gobsmacked in the best possible way. I'm going to try to avoid going into fan boy hyperbole, but on first listen, its a lovely, haunting song.

Also, SQUEEEEEEEE.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:17 AM on January 8, 2013


Is that pitch correction on the long notes of the chorus, or some other deliberate processing? It's a good song, but that grates.
posted by cromagnon at 12:26 AM on January 8, 2013


I guess he got Watch and Ward to help out with the running of THE LEAGUE OF CALAMITOUS INTENT!

Anyone who doesn't think Bowie vs. Iggy Pop and Klaus Nomi isn't the greatest ever is just plain wrong.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:32 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure I'm ready for a world in which Bowie feels the need to confront his own mortality.
posted by Lazlo Nibble at 12:38 AM on January 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


My thought train went something like this, this morning:

1. Bowie has a new single out!
2. Bowie has a new album on the way!
3. Bowie is going to tour this year (surely)!
4. I have tickets to Glastonbury
.........
5. Bowie is definitely going to headline Glastonbury.

This in no way represents wishful thinking, but acknowledged fact.
posted by LondonYank at 12:47 AM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure I'm ready for a world in which Bowie feels the need to confront his own mortality.

This won't make you feel any better, but Bowie has released several "confronting mortality" songs - notably "Never Get Old."
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:52 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


DecemberBoy: Anyone who doesn't think Bowie vs. Iggy Pop and Klaus Nomi isn't the greatest ever is just plain wrong.
You can't not link to that…
posted by chinesefood at 12:53 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


"He's here! And he brought Eno!"
"How do you know?"
"Look! Here come the Warm Jets!"
posted by Artw at 1:01 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is a good opportunity to point people to bowiesongs, which is a monumental, song-by-song analysis of Bowie's entire recorded output.

With a new album coming out, maybe it's a project that will never finish.
posted by daveje at 1:11 AM on January 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


"I'm not sure I'm ready for a world in which Bowie feels the need to confront his own mortality."

Fear not. Bowie will never die. Someday he will just close his tired old eyes and simply fade away, like Yoda. Days later we will receive a transmission from his home world, saying that he's happy, and he hopes we're happy too.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:30 AM on January 8, 2013 [36 favorites]


Aww HELL yeah! That new single is magnificent. Really, really, really good. Love the video, too. One of the best new pop songs I've heard in a looong time. And I've actually been listening to the radio lately, actually checking out new pop songs. And my estimation of 99% of them so far is that they're utter shite. Complete crap. Worthless and almost always irredeemably bad.

But Where Are We Now is a welcome reversal, even if only singular and momentary, of this trend. Big fat round of applause for Mr. David Bowie!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:44 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Heather was great. Really I'm sorry it took me so long to warm up to it cause the mid 90s electronics stuff was so ....ehhhhhhhh.

AN ALL SINGING TRIBUTE TO THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH
posted by The Whelk at 2:59 AM on January 8, 2013


I share a birthday with Mr. Bowie. And Elvis. And Graham Chapman.

As does my sister.

I was born five years and one day earlier, and all I get is Shirley MacLaine. Feh.
posted by acb at 3:04 AM on January 8, 2013


Fantastic song. I was listening to Spiders from Mars yesterday and wondered if there would ever be any new material from him, but of course there had to be. Bowie not creating something is an impossibility in this universe.

Seeing Bowie age is like watching a very slow version of The Hunger. I keep expecting Catherine Deneuve to turn up, desperately searching for a cure.
posted by toadflax at 3:14 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I both can and can't believe how absolutely stunning that new song is.
posted by item at 3:59 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


At 42, and as a lifelong Bowie fan, I just recently got brave enough to listen to all of Station to Station. Wow, just...wow.

It's not the side effects of the cocaine. I'm thinking that it must be love.
posted by punkfloyd at 4:38 AM on January 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Beautiful song, glad that he's avoiding the clogged overproduced sound of his 90's stuff, such vulnerability and emotion in his voice.
posted by houlihan at 4:40 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, what a great thing to wake up to.
posted by SansPoint at 4:47 AM on January 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Man, what a great thing to wake up to.
posted by SansPoint


Yeah, no kidding. I've had a shitty couple of day, but I'm totally beaming now. I really never expected another album.

Hope my coworkers are ready for megaBowie today.
posted by COBRA! at 4:53 AM on January 8, 2013


Because Bowie has had such a long career full of great albums and singles and characters, I think some gems fall through the cracks.

One my favorite songs and videos is Blue Jean.
posted by Sailormom at 5:07 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not the side effects of the cocaine. I'm thinking that it must be love.

Why did it take a feat of bravery to listen to one of Bowie's best albums? Please tell me that you've epically battled your way through the ferocious jungles of Low.
posted by item at 5:11 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh my god the new song is gorgeous.
posted by mintcake! at 5:20 AM on January 8, 2013


LondonYank: 5. Bowie is definitely going to headline Glastonbury.

Well, I hope so, seeing as I also have tickets and his performance in 2000 was one of my favourite gigs of all time... but he hasn't announced any plans to tour, and he does have a heart problem...keep your fingers crossed.
posted by Infinite Jest at 5:26 AM on January 8, 2013


Why did it take a feat of bravery to listen to one of Bowie's best albums? Please tell me that you've epically battled your way through the ferocious jungles of Low.

I was introduced to Bowie in 83 with Let's Dance. Then got hold of a best of compilation and then Ziggy Stardust. That was plenty for a few years. Then I saw him in 1987 with Glass Spider tour. At that point I thought...hmmm, maybe I've heard the best of him.

Took some time off then went back to discover Aladdin Sane (a lad insane), The Man Who Fell to Earth, Hunky Dory and Scary Monsters, Pin Ups and Young Americans. Those kept me going for many years until I got brave enough to go with him to Berlin.

I am still not ready for Diamond Dogs (as an album).
posted by punkfloyd at 5:28 AM on January 8, 2013


Who was that woman? I spent the entire video waiting for her to sing! She even licked her lips at one point and I thought "Ok, here she goes."!
posted by orme at 5:33 AM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I share a birthday with Mr. Bowie. And Elvis. And Graham Chapman. And Ursula Hitler.

Yeah... My birthday's totally better than yours.

PS -- Happy BD, UH. :)
posted by hippybear at 5:36 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who was that woman?

Muse.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:48 AM on January 8, 2013


Wow!

Thanks not_on_display!

For years, every few months, I've wondered about Bowie, wondering whether he's quietly retired from music.

I honestly didn't think this day would come. I really thought he'd just bowed out, gracefully and without fuss.

Oh man, this song is so beautiful. His voice! So fragile, yet so sure of itself.

I love the tempo, too. A great choice for a lead-off single. Intriguing.

What an amazing artistic life this man has had.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 5:50 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


orme: Who was that woman? I spent the entire video waiting for her to sing! She even licked her lips at one point and I thought "Ok, here she goes."!

The song could be interpreted in so many ways, and she could represent so many things that I'm really not sure, unless someone can point her out to be a specific person in his life. Maybe the point was "i can't perform like I used to anymore, so where does that leave you (the fans) and me?"

It certainly had a hauntingly sad tone to it though, which I loved :)

here's hoping for a tour!
posted by zombieApoc at 5:53 AM on January 8, 2013


Shameless plug for my favorite Bowie song.
posted by punkfloyd at 5:57 AM on January 8, 2013


According to Bowie's website, the album The Next Day will be released in Australia on 8 Mar, everywhere else except the US on 11 Mar, and in the US on 12 Mar.

Anyone know what this is all about? Why the earlier release date for Australia alone? And why not just release the album worldwide on the same day?
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:03 AM on January 8, 2013


Also from davidbowie.com:

In recent years radio silence has been broken only by endless speculation, rumor and wishful thinking ....a new record...who would have ever thought it, who'd have ever dreamed it! After all David is the kind of artist who writes and performs what he wants when he wants...when he has something to say as opposed to something to sell. Today he definitely has something to say.

Produced by long term collaborator Tony Visconti, 'Where Are We Now?' was written by Bowie, and was recorded in New York. The single is accompanied by a haunting video directed by Tony Oursler which harks back to David's time in Berlin. He is seen looking in on footage of the auto repair shop beneath the apartment he lived in along with stark images of the city at the time and a lyric constantly raising the question Where Are We Now?

posted by paleyellowwithorange at 6:07 AM on January 8, 2013


It's so fantastic that he did the last impossible thing and completely surprised everyone with this. Not a single leak, not a single suspicious photo of the man leaving a studio somewhere. Amazing.
posted by mintcake! at 6:20 AM on January 8, 2013


This is great: album cover notes from the designer.
posted by mintcake! at 6:23 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone know what this is all about? Why the earlier release date for Australia alone? And why not just release the album worldwide on the same day?

Well, I know that "album release day" in the US is always on a Tuesday. Not sure why, but that's what it is. And it's frequently the case where the worldwide release date is the Monday before the US Tuesday. I've seen that happen a zillion times across the years.

No idea why Australia is getting it on the Friday before... Maybe their release day is always on a Friday?
posted by hippybear at 6:30 AM on January 8, 2013


Now all we need is a Venture Brothers flashback wherein David "The Sovereign" Bowie faces off against his former-partner-now-sworn-rival Freddie "Mister Fahrenheit" Mercury. I envision Freddy jumping between Bowie and the meteor at the last second, dying heroically to save humanity while The Sovereign is left to ponder what he's become.
posted by whuppy at 6:36 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look out, Bowie... The *other* Davy Jones died at age 66...
posted by symbioid at 6:40 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


And my two favorite riffs off Bowie:

Legion of Rock Stars: Little Drummer Boy and Flight of the Conchords: Bowie's in Space.
posted by symbioid at 6:42 AM on January 8, 2013


This is great: album cover notes from the designer.

Wow. I hadn't actually seen the cover before I read that interview, so initially I half-thought that was a mildly amusing, if pointless, spoof.

Hmm. Interesting to read the thought processes. I'm really not convinced myself at this stage, but, well. Maybe I'll come round to it. Maybe. I guess that this album is going to have a very elegiac feel to it.
posted by Hartster at 6:54 AM on January 8, 2013


I am still not ready for Diamond Dogs (as an album).

Ah, come on. It's not that scary. Lily likes it.
posted by philip-random at 7:09 AM on January 8, 2013


meanwhile, 37 years ago, things were coming a bit unhinged ...
posted by philip-random at 7:12 AM on January 8, 2013


I share a birthday with Mr. Bowie. And Elvis. And Graham Chapman. And Ursula Hitler. And Hippybear.
posted by Mick at 7:14 AM on January 8, 2013


Amateurs. I share a birthday with Bruce Lee and Jimi Hendrix.

Even better? I've outlived them.
posted by Kitteh at 7:40 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of the melancholy "oh shit, I'm aging" stuff from Hours..., which I liked.

Also, GUILD of Calamitous Intent!
posted by jason_steakums at 7:48 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Possibly my favorite set of birthday well-wishes for Bowie thus far! (SL...FB?)

Heh heh heh.
posted by vetala at 7:54 AM on January 8, 2013


My profile pic approves.
posted by davebush at 8:12 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


tour... tour... please sweet Leper Messiah, let there be a tour...
posted by scody at 8:24 AM on January 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Relevant to my interests!
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:31 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The last time I saw Bowie in concert, he stopped mid-song to chide some boisterous latecomers. "Look, look -- I know it's raining, the train was late, your bike had a flat... I don't care, nobody cares, you're just being rude. Sit the fuck down, and SHUT UP." Even his exasperation was pitch-perfect.
posted by Iris Gambol at 11:18 AM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


What a great day! I love everything about this. I was so certain that Bowie was ready to call it a day... I'm glad that that was not the case. Not that he needs to anything anymore to ensure his legacy, of course. I hope he decides to tour for the album. I got to see him on the Reality Tour (first Bowie show, first show period), and to this day I have no bones about pointing that out as the best day of my life.

I was in love with the new single from my first listen this morning. It's so great to hear that voice singing something new. Even if it wasn't announced in the press release, Visconti's touch is instantly recognizable on the song. Definitely sounds like a somber, reflective continuation of the sound that he and Bowie cultivated on Heathen and Reality, and I'm A-OK with that. Some of my favorite latter-day Bowie songs are the slower numbers on his last two albums.

I had a negative initial reaction to the album cover art. Now... well, I at least find it effective. It kind of brings to mind the iconoclastic, violent-break-from-the-past imagery of some of the Heathen promo graphics (example one, example two).

I am still not ready for Diamond Dogs (as an album).

Sure you are! In my opinion, it's a bit more hit-and-miss than most of Bowie's albums (and the title track and Rebel Rebel don't do much for me despite being fairly well-known Bowie songs), but "We Are The Dead" and the gorgeous suite of "Sweet Thing" / "Candidate" / "Sweet Thing (Repise)" are well worth the price of admission.
posted by kryptondog at 11:25 AM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, GUILD of Calamitous Intent!

GAH. I really really should have gotten that one right.
posted by JHarris at 11:55 AM on January 8, 2013


Kitteh: "Amateurs. I share a birthday with Bruce Lee and Jimi Hendrix."

Please, Kitteh. Bowie, Elvis, Chapman, Mick and Hippybear? I've definitely got you beat.

"Even better? I've outlived them."

Well... So have we!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:58 AM on January 8, 2013


Considering his gargantuan intake of coke in the 70's and 80's and decades long smoking habit etc., I am always amazed that not only is still alive and coherent, but putting out good quality work.

He probably inherited his bad ticker from his dad, but already outlived him by almost 10 years.

To me, the new single has more of an emotional vibe like something out of Hours.
posted by VikingSword at 12:09 PM on January 8, 2013


It's only been a couple of weeks since I broke up with someone who, like me, is a huge Bowie fan. So for me, the release of this haunting and melancholy new song is perfectly timed. Or brutally timed, I can't decide which.
posted by webmutant at 12:10 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bowie's been confronting his mortality for a while. I love that video, but it always seems sort of weird that the woman in the bathroom with him isn't Iman - since he's clearly supposed to be playing himself - and the effects on the younger Bowie sort of make it look like Dave is being confronted by the Ganger Doctor.

I must admit, Bowie's voice in the new single does have me a bit worried. When I've heard him perform in recent years (like the Gervais thing, or when he sang backup on that rather unfortunate Scarlett Johansson album) his voice sounded as amazing as ever, he could still really belt it out. But in this new single, he sounds like he's struggling, like every note is taking everything's he's got. I hope that was a choice. If this was the best take he could manage, I strongly doubt we'll see him tour again. That is not a voice for Young Americans.

I'm sorry, Webmutant. I've had some pretty serious problems with my own longtime sweetie, and a while ago I was someplace and they started playing As the World Falls Down and it was like my heart fell out of my chest and shattered on the ground. Here's to better days.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:22 PM on January 8, 2013


Also, webmutant, steer clear of "Life On Mars?" for the time being. That one'll rip your heart out at the best of times.
posted by whuppy at 12:27 PM on January 8, 2013


Man, okay, the fact that I will, at some point, be able to go through the V&A's David Bowie exhibition while listening to a new Bowie album is just making my heart sing in delight.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:25 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bowie's been confronting his mortality for a while

Also, My Death ... 1973.
Jacques Brel and Mort Shuman wrote it, and Eric Blau helped translate it, but Mr. Bowie owns it here.
posted by philip-random at 2:50 PM on January 8, 2013


I know that there are lots of mixed feelings about Ricky Gervais (personally, I love him) but I do believe that this is one of the best things David Bowie's done in recent years.

The last time I saw David Bowie perform was when he introduced Ricky Gervais as part of the Highline Fest in 2007. He sang "See His Pugnose Face" live!

I got the news this morning when my Facebook feed had blown up (I might belong to a David Bowie group or three on FB). It's so freaking exciting for Bowie fans. Even if he doesn't tour, it's a thrill to have new album at last. And if we are posting favorite DB performances, I have to go with this one: his cover of Simon and Garfunkel's America at the Concert for New York
posted by kimdog at 5:43 PM on January 8, 2013


Yeah, there are some Bowie songs to be avoided at certain times in one's life. "Quicksand", for the chorus, off the top of my head.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:46 PM on January 8, 2013


"The Laughing Gnome" carries its own existential horrors, for another.
posted by scody at 7:33 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


More wonderful crooning from Old Blue Eye!
posted by onesidys at 8:09 PM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is a link to http://www.davidbowie.com/vision

but there's nothing at http://www.davidbowie.com/sound

Don't you wonder sometimes, 'Bout sound + vision?
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:13 PM on January 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I really like the "Oh, You Pretty Things" video from the old The Old Grey Whistle Test because it shows Bowie playing piano. And it also shows the backing band, The Spiders from Mars (in the background.)

Whatever happened to the Spiders from Mars? Mick Woodmansey was replaced. Mick Ronson died too young. Trevor Bolder has become a collector of whippets.

I watch Bowie do "Oh, You Pretty Things" in this video, and I can see that the backing band isn't trying very hard. They're kind of like "go ahead, David, and do your weird thing and we'll do chorus because it gets us coke and booze and chicks." I mean, David is freaky talented but he starts singing about "Homo Superior" and you know he's crazy but this gig is great. There's an interview with Bowie where he says he had to convince the backing band to wear makeup, and they didn't want to, but they found out it would get them laid like crazy, so they all glammed out. They weren't really Spiders from Mars, you know, they were a backup band for a crazy person because it paid well and got them laid. You can see it in that video.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:00 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, My Death ... 1973.

And this version from 2007.
posted by speicus at 1:15 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know what? This is strong evidence toward the suspicions that Bowie actually intentionally leaked that Toy album last year. I wouldn't be surprised if that was meant to build hype in advance of this announcement. Either way I'm pretty excited to hear some 2013 Bowie!
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 3:29 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Björk
posted by panaceanot at 4:47 AM on January 9, 2013


My guess is that the woman symbolizes Bowie's the feminine aspect of his dual nature. He and She are both part of that rather strange puppet. Also, He and Iggy Pop lived together and were lovers in Berlin. That's perhaps the most important aspect of his whole Berlin experience I think.

It's funny. Before I heard the single, I hoped that it would be something like his cover of Iggy Pop's China Girl. Something to set the stage for this epoch either as parallel to or, as is the case here, in contrast to the 80s. And what we have here is a song that could be speaking to Iggy and himself circa that time they had in the 70s, around the time of Low.

I think it's a really good song though, and I really hope it acts like a healthy dose of real pop and blows the pipes clean on commercial pop radio a bit. There's so much utterly weak terrible pap on top 40 radio right now, and it would be nice if most of it just went away and was replaced with some more genuine music with real lyrics and thought maybe and interesting sounding guitars.

BTW, has anyone seen who the musicians on this record are yet? Those big beautiful processed guitar chords sound like they could be the work of Robin Guthrie (ex-Cocteau Twins) or maybe even Vini Reilly of the Durutti Column.

But maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part, but they did consciously go for that sound so who knows...

Also, Visconti said in an interview that Where Are We Know? is actually the most introspective song on the album, and that Bowie's voice is still as strong as ever it was....
posted by Skygazer at 6:04 AM on January 9, 2013


BTW, has anyone seen who the musicians on this record are yet?

Upon hearing the single, I immediately went scouring the internet for exactly that information, and came up empty handed. Reckon we might have to wait for the album release to find out.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:17 AM on January 9, 2013


Tony Levin tweeted that he played bass on it, other than that it's a mystery. I am hoping out loud for some Fripp involvement...
posted by mintcake! at 10:10 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am hoping out loud for some Fripp involvement...

From Robert Fripp's diary -- Oct.15.2011.

Rising from traveling adventures, in ‘planes and cars. Dropping off along to way to visit David Bowie, and it gradually appeared that David had some remarkable new ideas in process, not yet public. These he presented indirectly, to allow the penny to drop without prompting. Eno also got involved, and what a flowering of ideas!
posted by philip-random at 11:23 AM on January 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, He and Iggy Pop lived together and were lovers in Berlin.

???

I have never read anywhere or heard mentioned that they were lovers. Yes, they lived together, both looking to kick drugs and recharge their creative energies, but all the accounts that I have read from people who were around and witnesses, mention how they'd go looking for girls to get laid... of that, there are many accounts, including Bowie's technique of approaching girls. I suppose it's possible they were lovers, but I have never ever seen it mentioned.

In 2009 I was in Berlin, and decided to do a quick tour of Bowie haunts from the 70's, so I recognize the block of flats from the video, where he and Iggy lived (I took some photos inside the courtyard, but never tried to get into the apartment itself). There was a small cafe half a block away where he and Iggy used to hang out, and my wife and me had a couple of celebratory beers, but there were no memorabilia inside - couple of the patrons claimed to have known him back in the day, but 'yeah, right'. I wonder if DB ever went back to the old haunts physically, or is his nostalgia limited to watching videos of the places.
posted by VikingSword at 3:35 PM on January 9, 2013


Hmm...I think I got Iggy confused with Jagger there Vikingsword (although there's a lot online about a suspected affair between Bowie and Pop, as well), but ultimately, I think Bowie in his dual gendered puppet thingy is definitely speaking to his own memories of himself and what must've been a very fertile, creative, happy time, and trying to figure out where all that led him too...and perhaps is there anything left of that time and persona that he still wants to mine or explore, or understand, either for creative use, or in figuring out his identity.

There's obviously quite a bit of nostalgia in it, and something that he still longs for (home, community, free-spiritedness, youth, total freedom, friendship... all of the above?), and is yet haunted by...

It's interesting how much effort he's putting into having an anti-persona or subverting his own past image.
posted by Skygazer at 4:25 PM on January 9, 2013


Well, I think the nostalgia Bowie has for Berlin is likely to be at least somewhat complicated; in reading accounts from that period, he was clearly very relieved to be out of Los Angeles after the extraordinarily dark place he'd gotten himself into there by the time he recorded Station to Station, and relished being treated (relatively) anonymously in Berlin. But it was still a dark time in its own way, at least at first; Iggy was recovering from his nervous breakdown, they both still had drug problems, Bowie's marriage had collapsed, etc. "Always Crashing in the Same Car," for example, is evidently about a suicide attempt from those early Berlin days.

Still, I agree that it seems likely that his Berlin years must continue to be quite significant to him, and after the bleakness of Low, it seems to have been a happy time in its own way, as he emerged into a new kind of adulthood/identity after the crazy five-year ride in the wake of Ziggy making him a superstar.
posted by scody at 6:03 PM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]



And this version yt from 2007.

That performance of My Death is actually from 1997, not 2007.
posted by kimdog at 7:04 PM on January 9, 2013


More info via an interview with Earl Slick. DAVID TORN. Wow.
posted by mintcake! at 7:47 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


and relished being treated (relatively) anonymously in Berlin. But it was still a dark time in its own way, at least at first;

yeah, I recall reading about that period in Bowie's career. One particular passage comes to mind where it's mentioned he would sometimes be seen sitting alone in a cafe crying. But Cold War Berlin being Cold War Berlin, nobody approached him. They just left the man alone with his angst and grief.

To this day, when I listen to those "Berlin" albums Low + Heroes (though I'm pretty sure Low was actually recorded in Switzerland), one thing I never imagine is the sun shining. It just feels like perpetual November. And beautifully so.
posted by philip-random at 10:24 AM on January 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Skygazer I'd guess those guitar parts are Gerry Leonard. Very reminiscent of his work on Heathen and Reality. The woman in the video is director Tony Oursler's wife, Jacqueline Humphries.

Ursula Hitler I wouldn't worry too much about his voice. It's a singing style he's used before e.g. on the second link above.

I love his late period melancholy stuff and this tune is an instant win for me.

But gawd does he put his fans through it? We are the survivors of Tonight, the Glass Spider Tour and Tin Machine. And now a 10 year hiatus? We all deserve a special Bowie medal.
posted by merocet at 11:29 AM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


But gawd does he put his fans through it? We are the survivors of Tonight, the Glass Spider Tour and Tin Machine.

The only time I've seen Bowie live was Glass Spider Tour.

I so very very much want to replace that experience with something else.
posted by hippybear at 6:16 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


HEY HEY HEY Tin Machine was >>awesome<<.
posted by mintcake! at 9:11 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


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