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"What was he doing having his face put on ATM cards?"
November 11, 2013 11:58 AM   Subscribe

"It was as if, while Mark Zuckerberg was still in high school, Bowie was bracing for the 21st Century, the demand for everyone to “share” accessible versions of themselves. The self as a business card, to be distributed to anyone who asked for it. He also saw opportunity: on 1 September 1998, he launched BowieNet." Pushing Ahead Of The Dame (previously, previously) takes a look at David Bowie's late-90s, technophile projects and the future they foreshadowed - Omikron: The Nomad Soul (& BowieBanc & BowieNet)
posted by The Whelk (30 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the chat transcript referenced in the article:

RadioKAOS: Have you ever thought of doing anything with Roger Waters? Since you both have a penchant for concept albums, and you're both incredible with a studio.

db: The only thing Roger and I have done together is ski. I hate to admit it but he's better than I am. But there again, he also plays guitar better than me! No collaboration in mind.

Pedro: What about Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson?

db: Hey yeah Pedro, what about Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson??

posted by jquinby at 12:11 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Please be patient while David ponders the next question. Thanks!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:27 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ayup. I feel like at least once a week I discover some new thing Bowie did that helped build my world, or that at least references him in doing so.
posted by freebird at 12:33 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mr. Brisby [about his panda]: Oh that, that's just Lili, enjoying her lunch.
Dr. Venture: Lili?
Mr. Brisby: Yes, my long time companda. I won her from David Bowie in a trivia contest. This was 1980, 1981 perhaps. Years before the big trivia craze. But then, Bowie always was a trend-setter

posted by The Whelk at 12:34 PM on November 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


I have a strange nostalgia for that post-v23 Envelope/4AD ethereal graphic design style that became so popular in the mid-'90s.
posted by pxe2000 at 12:35 PM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


The "chunky white sysadmin" phase
posted by thelonius at 12:36 PM on November 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


No discussion of the coolness of David Bowie is complete without referencing Douglas Adams's description of John "Wonko the Sane" Watson.
If you took a couple of David Bowies and stuck one David Bowie on top of the other David Bowie, then attached another David Bowie to the end of each of the arms of the first two David Bowies and wrapped the whole business up in a dirty beach robe you would then have something which didn't exactly look like John Watson, but which those who knew him would find hauntingly familiar.

posted by Rock Steady at 12:40 PM on November 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


My favourite Bowie bit in ages was his Extras scene.

Stupid little fat man
Nobody's laughing
See his pugnose face
(pug pug, pugnose face)


The idea of being iceburned ex tempore by the Great Chameleon is just so perfectly brutal; I imagine Ricky Gervais crying a single tear when it came to him, like Grima Wormtongue atop Isengard.
posted by Sebmojo at 12:44 PM on November 11, 2013 [10 favorites]


A link.

Also thanks for reminding me about this site - I like the way he mixes gossipy chatter with deep analysis.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:14 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have a strange nostalgia for that post-v23 Envelope/4AD ethereal graphic design style that became so popular in the mid-'90s.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:35 PM on November 11


The vinyl edition of the latest nin album looks like Doolitle pt. II, or maybe a new Lush album.
posted by four panels at 1:31 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reading through the blog about David Bowie's 1995 Outside album was eerie. It seems so strange to think of that period in the early-to-mid 90's. I remember devouring articles in Mondo2000, Raygun, Wired, Details (yes, Details was actually cool before it became GQ Jr.), etc. where it seemed like everyone was talking about The Future. Music, film, art, technology, architecture, and politics were all going Global and ripe for reinvention. The Millenium was coming, and there was a sense of dread, joy, angst, and puzzlement all remixed together.

Either way, something amazing was going to happen.

Two decades later, we have the Hyperconnected Era. In his Macphisto persona, Bono predicted was has come to pass: "Now you're all hooked up to one cable as close together as stations on a dial." Looking back, it all seems so ... retro. In many ways we're living in the Information Overload Age predicted by Bowie, Bono, Gibson, and many others, but it doesn't feel all that groovy.

My point (and I do have one) is this: is anyone even thinking about The Future any more? Or are we stuck in permanent Nostalgia/Retro Mode?
posted by zooropa at 3:24 PM on November 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think we all know the future is When We Have To Pay For This Shit, so let us have our harmless nostalgia, it helps us get up in the morning and not think about how we broke the planet.
posted by The Whelk at 3:30 PM on November 11, 2013


Reading through the blog about David Bowie's 1995 Outside album was eerie. It seems so strange to think of that period in the early-to-mid 90's.

Yes - Outside is as long ago now as Low was when Outside came out. Weird.
posted by cincinnatus c at 3:54 PM on November 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yes - Outside is as long ago now as Low was when Outside came out. Weird.

LIES
posted by jason_steakums at 4:35 PM on November 11, 2013


YOU ARE OLD NOW
posted by The Whelk at 4:39 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


On the plus side, my eventual midlife crisis is gonna have a trip hop soundtrack judging by my dad interminably blasting his childhood 70's rock favorites during his, so I got that going for me.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:46 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


/join #davidbowie
posted by Teakettle at 5:13 PM on November 11, 2013


Bowie always seems like he's visited the future. It's like he has some kind of Hot Tub Tin Machine.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:39 PM on November 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Back in the late 60s some mad man with a box took him a few trips and it really opened his eyes.
posted by The Whelk at 5:46 PM on November 11, 2013


Bowie always seems like he's visited the future. It's like he has some kind of Hot Tub Tin Machine.

:golfclap:

Brett: So we went back in time and we were at a party with David Bowie
Jemaine: And he was talking about how he wanted to write songs, and
Brett: And you had that 'Learn to Play Easy Bowie' book
Jemaine: Yeah.
Brett: ...
Jemaine: It was a chicken/egg scenario
posted by Sebmojo at 6:24 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love Bowie but I'm not sure I'd go to his bank.
posted by Mister_A at 6:25 PM on November 11, 2013


I totally missed out on this back in the day, which may have been for the best, since I might have gotten one of those ATM cards and ended up looking at it, sobbing, saying, "David, what do you mean I'm overdrawn? My obsession with you is limitless!"
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:02 PM on November 11, 2013


OK, I always ask, but you're making a band. Which guitarist do you pick?

Mick Ronson
Earl Slick
Robert Fripp
Adrian Belew
Reeves Gabrels
Carlos Alomar
Nile Rogers
Stevie Ray Vaughn

Have to go with Alomar myself.
posted by Teakettle at 7:03 PM on November 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


disclosure: I did some VERY MINOR work for Omikron as a high school student. I got paid in a t-shirt.
posted by The Whelk at 7:55 PM on November 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Bowie guitarists, he's like, the only person who can get away with having straightforward classic top 40 radio rock guitar on an album in 2013 and have it be critically acclaimed and seem waaay less played out than it really should be. I don't mean this as a dig, because I really enjoyed The Next Day, but it's something that sticks out to me on some tracks - I mean, listen to "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)". Musically it's something you've heard a million times before from Bowie post-Outside, that Bowie/Dorsey/Campbell + Belew or Slick being noodly, tinge of 90's VH1 rock thing. And the lyrics are ...not good. I mean, the tired central metaphor alone, and lines like "We live closer to the earth/Never to the heavens" that just clunk.

And yet Bowie pushes it over into being a really likable song that feels fresher than it has any right to by sheer force of Bowie. It's crazy. He's a wizard or something.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:58 PM on November 11, 2013


On the plus side, my eventual midlife crisis is gonna have a trip hop soundtrack judging by my dad interminably blasting his childhood 70's rock favorites during his, so I got that going for me.

This Songza station came on in the bar last night, and had the effect of making me feel extremely old, but it's a very classy 90's trip hop set all the same.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:29 PM on November 11, 2013


Have to go with Alomar myself.
posted by Teakettle


Balls to that. I'd take Alomar as my studio hired gun, but if it's a band situation it's so Mick Ronson you can't even handle it.
posted by COBRA! at 8:38 PM on November 11, 2013


my eventual midlife crisis is gonna have a trip hop soundtrack

One advantage to having such a soundtrack is that, at least in the US, the music of your life will probably not be endlessly regurgitated on oldies stations, used as background music in movies about the middle-aged, and re purposed to sell you term life insurance or Depends.
posted by honestcoyote at 11:24 PM on November 11, 2013


Bowie is indeed a wizard.
posted by Mister_A at 6:24 AM on November 12, 2013


Ah, 1. Outside, my favourite Bowie album. At the time, a Danish newspaper (Politiken) ran a competition for two people to get backstage, if you could answer a question. I happened to be so incredibly hard that I knew that mr. Bowie had participated in a little thing called Tin Machine, and so won.
Meeting the guy was really something, as it was the first time I had ever met an actually charismatic person. He filled the room with his presence by just being there, and I have not encountered that since. He was real nice, and we chatted for a minute or so.
Admittedly, my friends attending were rather bitter that such a casual fan like me (Monsters and Outside are works of genius, I like the B-side of Heroes just fine, and you're all welcome to the rest because you like it more than I do) got to meet the man.
posted by bouvin at 8:47 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


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