But I do. I really believe in it.
October 8, 2017 6:45 PM   Subscribe

 
oh wow.
posted by BYiro at 6:57 PM on October 8


Marvelous.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:58 PM on October 8


+sniff+
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:02 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


And this is where David Bowie intersects with Frank The Custodian.

Beautiful story. I'm not even going to say it's getting dusty in here. I'm having a hard time seeing if my spelling is okay through my tears.
posted by hippybear at 7:04 PM on October 8 [13 favorites]


Oh wow, David was pretty special.

I wonder how much that mask would go for on ebay
posted by adept256 at 7:14 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Sounds like something Mr. Rogers might have said if autism had been a thing back in the day.
posted by spacewrench at 7:20 PM on October 8 [3 favorites]


Well Bowie had some cardigans
posted by thelonius at 7:34 PM on October 8 [4 favorites]


Boy it's dusty in here.
posted by wittgenstein at 7:36 PM on October 8


‘The normal reaction is: that’s just a stupid story. Fancy believing in an invisible mask.’

The so-called "normal" reaction to something this magical and beautiful is why I don't want to live on this planet anymore.
posted by Paladin1138 at 7:38 PM on October 8 [15 favorites]


I never met Bowie, but I have frequently used the equivalent of an 'invisible mask' (the not-my-real-name Wendell is part of it) and it was a disc jockey who turned into a different person when the microphone was off who first gave it to me. Maybe the best gift anyone ever gave me.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:41 PM on October 8 [3 favorites]


(Not actually recounted-by/told-to Neil Gaiman, just reblogged by him after someone else wrote it. The post credits Paul Magrs in tiiiiiiiny letters down at the bottom. Tumblr is a bizarre hellsite with terrible UI that makes it absurdly easy to make that sort of misattribution.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:07 PM on October 8 [41 favorites]


I saw a film of an exhibition of Bowie's things, and one of the anecdotes was of Bowie walking through New York, no hat, no glasses. Asked by his companion why apparently no one was recognizing him, he said "Oh, I don't have it turned on". By way of proving a point, he turned it on, and was almost immediately recognized by groups of people. He was clearly a man of many different invisible masks.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:44 PM on October 8 [94 favorites]


I wonder, how much does it weigh?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:48 PM on October 8 [2 favorites]


i've read that Garbo did the same thing.
posted by brujita at 8:50 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Bowie: the gift that keeps on giving.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:53 PM on October 8 [11 favorites]


I wonder, how much does it weigh?

exactly 21 grams
posted by Sebmojo at 8:54 PM on October 8 [19 favorites]


Imma get out my magic wand and make one RIGHT NOW!

Thanks David and anotherpanacea.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:26 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


At the centre of it all, your eyes.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:44 PM on October 8 [4 favorites]


Human kindness. We all can have it. If we want to.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 10:29 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


David Bowie, man.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:15 PM on October 8


First time I have cried for joy in a while. I wish David Bowie had been able to teach classes on how to use fame powers for good. Also f**k 2016.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 11:27 PM on October 8 [2 favorites]


Nice pat story. Nobody's even a little suspicious?
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 11:44 PM on October 8 [1 favorite]


Of course Bowie had an invisible mask. Just like the hat Granny Weatherwax gave Tiffany Aching.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:20 AM on October 9 [9 favorites]


Nice pat story. Nobody's even a little suspicious?

Nope. I see zero to be gained by disbelieving it.
posted by greermahoney at 12:50 AM on October 9 [38 favorites]


I wish David Bowie had been able to teach classes on how to use fame powers for good.

Not only did he teach classes, he recorded them all and even made some movies.
posted by chavenet at 1:38 AM on October 9 [5 favorites]


Nice pat story. Nobody's even a little suspicious?
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 1:44 AM on October 9

I dated this author once, and she had this line that *totally* annoyed me, she talked about "The truth of the story, if not the facts." I'd run and grab my sharpest knife, poise it over my wrist, praying for the courage to just go on and end it all already, that if this sort of dishonesty is what life consists of I just don't want to hang here anymore.

But, I've softened. The hands of time have worked their way on me. Pamela sure had a lot to do with it -- the fact is that she wasn't beautiful. The truth is that she *was* beautiful. I got to talk with her, walk with her, I got to have her in my arms. She got more beautiful as time went by.

My point -- I do have one -- it doesn't matter to me if this story about Bowie is fact or not. Just being who he was, you know that he absolutely *could* have done this in fact -- he was smarter than 16.38 of me, and a huge heart, to boot. A huge heart and tons of smarts to put that heart into play.

So, to go back to that line I loathed, perhaps this is something that tells a truth about Bowie, if not any facts. It's a great story, I'd like to think that I'll be able to remember the invisible mask, so I can create them and give them to ppl in my life who are scared, plus make a few spares for me, fold them up and carry them in my cell phone case.

Great story, OP. Thx for posting it.
posted by dancestoblue at 1:51 AM on October 9 [15 favorites]


[fixed the "recounted to" problem]
posted by taz at 2:14 AM on October 9


Not actually recounted-by/told-to Neil Gaiman, just reblogged by him after someone else wrote it.

Oh jeeze, thanks! Sorry for the error; mods fixed it overnight.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:14 AM on October 9


I, for one, believe it.
posted by Major Tom at 2:25 AM on October 9 [22 favorites]


How very kind of him. He didn’t have to do any of that, and no one would have thought any less of him if all it had been was a 5-minute glad-hand and pictures with the children (and I’m sure he’d’ve been charming and that would’ve been fine), but Bowie went out of his way to be kind to someone who could do nothing for him. Bless his soul.
posted by droplet at 2:44 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


I read the comments here before I read the link (weirdly, I do that sometimes to see how you lot react to original post before deciding whether to dive in) and I was prepared to be all hard nosed about all the weepy responses...

...but damn, that's a lovely story.
posted by trif at 3:23 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Paladin 1138: The so-called "normal" reaction to something this magical and beautiful is why I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

"Normal" people are desperately afraid that everyone will find out they are anything but, and the idea that someone else *knows* that they, too, are wearing masks is therefore deeply threatening and must be dismissed with extreme prejudice.
posted by kewb at 4:03 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Knowing that Bowie studied and performed mime in the 1960s before he was famous makes this story plausible.
posted by D.C. at 4:36 AM on October 9 [17 favorites]


Imagining alternate reality now. The bossa nova craze just kept going and the rock n' roll fad died out. Lennon still alive, a mean drunk holding down a Liverpool barstool. Bowie ran a company supplying entertainment at children's parties.
posted by thelonius at 4:43 AM on October 9 [5 favorites]


Nice pat story. Nobody's even a little suspicious?

See nice pat story.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 5:36 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Nice pat story. Nobody's even a little suspicious?

Bowie was obsessed with masks.

His mime piece The Mask from his 1969 promo movie.
Google search for Bowie wearing masks

Masks are kind of integral to his whole thing.
posted by merocet at 5:47 AM on October 9 [13 favorites]


David Bowie wasn't even his real name. The man was very comfortable with the idea of taking on a useful persona and discarding it as soon as it stopped being useful.
posted by Merus at 6:05 AM on October 9 [12 favorites]


Nice pat story. Nobody's even a little suspicious?

Personally I rather like the idea of David Bowie becoming a sort of folk hero surrounded by a hundred tales for earnest, anxious, shy, odd kids everywhere. True, false, what does it matter?
posted by tavegyl at 6:40 AM on October 9 [16 favorites]


The things that you're liable to read in the bible - they ain't necessarily so.

People are stories just as much as they're flesh, bone and blood. Bowie was a thousand stories. Sometimes it matters that the stories reflect a physical actuality as closely as possible - when I go to the doctor, I want the story she tells me to match my actual biology, and the things she makes happen should be on the basis of as much informed objectivity as we can muster. When I read Alice in Wonderland to my six year old son at bedtime, not so much. Stories we tell each other can be profoundly affecting and change our lives, and have not an ounce of 'objective truth' in them, and they can be extremely important nonetheless.

Realising this, when one is very invested in finding and telling the truth, can be very disconcerting. It's certainly very important to know which sort of story you're telling - or hearing - otherwise how can you tell the difference between a religion and a pack of lies?

In this case, whether Bowie was in that room with that kid, and whether the memory is 'true' or whether the story is consciously made up, who can tell? I believe it's substantially true, because it's so in keeping with much of Bowie's life and behaviour, and if you don't believe in the real effects of practical magic on real people you've no business reading books or watching movies. You certainly have no business with David Bowie, who was an intensely accomplished practical magician.

The air of the noosphere may not be made of oxygen and nitrogen, but it's still safe to breath.
posted by Devonian at 6:53 AM on October 9 [17 favorites]


Two things that make me prone to believe this:

1. Bowie was pretty shy himself. Don't take my word for it, Google "David Bowie shy" and see how broad the selection of results was. It's pretty easy to see someone who found a technique for overcoming this deciding to take a few extra moments to pass it on to a kid with the same problem.

2. My own life has been a succession of invisible masks as a way of dealing with similar issues. None of them, sadly, were given to me by any superstars.
posted by egypturnash at 8:28 AM on October 9 [3 favorites]


Then I watched as he made another magic mask. He spun it out of thin air, out of nothing at all. He finished it and smiled and then he put it on. And he looked so relieved and pleased. He smiled at me.

And that's where I started crying, with that shocked, surprised jolt that sometimes brings tears into your eyes.

I am so grateful this man existed.
posted by seyirci at 8:42 AM on October 9 [6 favorites]


Paul Magrs has written a lot of Doctor Who books but I first heard of him as the writer of the book Strange Boy and the Phoenix Court series of queer magical realist novels starting with Marked for Life.
posted by larrybob at 9:07 AM on October 9


> Nice pat story. Nobody's even a little suspicious?

I'm usually the first to shout "CITE?!?" at glurge, but as a longtime Bowie fan this seems entirely believable to me.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:34 AM on October 9


I absolutely believe this. David was the kind of class act that makes this entirely believable. When he and Iggy were my neighbors, I always noticed that in person, 'off stage' so to speak, he seemed like just another rather ordinary, quiet guy. Somehow, when he turned up the fame dial, however he did that, it could take your breath away. I don't have any better explanation than that, but the metaphor of a mask fits perfectly with the person I knew.
posted by pjern at 9:41 AM on October 9 [4 favorites]


I heard a sermon by a rabbi once, about the story of the exodus from Egypt. His point was that it's not as important whether the story is true. Rather, it's more important what the story says about you.
I love Aladdin Sane.
posted by bluejayway at 9:59 AM on October 9 [5 favorites]


Nice pat story. Nobody's even a little suspicious?

the funny thing is if you read it as a Neil Gaiman story, which is honestly what it does sound like, in the Neil Gaiman voice it is excruciating, just infuriatingly excruciating and cheap and awful. but if you imagine it actually happened and play it to yourself in a David Bowie voice it makes you cry. means nothing at all about whether it's true or not but it's a nice trick to play back and forth with yourself, like crossing and uncrossing your eyes or putting an invisible mask on and off.
posted by queenofbithynia at 11:20 AM on October 9 [10 favorites]


Bowie was just incredible. The only other person who could have done this was probably Michael Landon.
posted by thelonius at 11:30 AM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Knowing that Bowie studied and performed mime in the 1960s before he was famous makes this story plausible.

Yes, that's like a basic exercise in mime and mask work, and it's something that he could easily do and know that it might really help a human being. It's completely plausible.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:01 PM on October 9 [9 favorites]


So, I read this story several days ago on Tumblr and my immediate reaction was "oh THAT story" but I remembered it as being someone else entirely who was the subject of the story and not David Bowie. But...no one else seems to have that reaction?

FWIW I could believe this coming from Bowie, but I have that completely certain gut feeling that I've heard this before, including many of the small details. I can't for the life of me remember who it was in the original, but it was a much smaller celebrity.

(Then again maybe I'm thinking of that invisible witches hat from A Hat Full of Sky, or maybe I've heard this story specifically about Bowie somewhere before...I don't even know anymore.)
posted by threeturtles at 5:27 PM on October 9


End of Maskerade.
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 6:01 PM on October 9 [1 favorite]


Personally I rather like the idea of David Bowie becoming a sort of folk hero surrounded by a hundred tales for earnest, anxious, shy, odd kids everywhere.

Here's hoping cyber augmentation come soon enough for me to watch my great-great-great grandchildren celebrate Bowiemas.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:50 PM on October 9 [3 favorites]


Finding out in a recent thread that he was cremated kind of bums me out. His bejewelled skull as the centre of a mystery cult for the ages is a real missed opportunity.

I supposed there is nothing stopping us from just taking any old skull and hustling past the big lie in the foundation myth, tends to be fairly standard m.o. for these sort of things anyways, right?
posted by Meatbomb at 5:40 AM on October 10 [7 favorites]


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