Thursday Music

Songs and videos that stare into the heart of mortality & do not flinch are rare (the only ones that come to mind immediately are Johnny Cash ‘Hurt’ and James ‘Moving on’). This one is uneasy watching:-

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I found it uneasy when I first saw it before the news broke about Bowie’s death: someone not dying gracefully, all the time watched over by an enacted version of his earlier self/the devil/internal anguish (that’s how I read it).

When he had died there were bits where I thought ‘Oh I can see what he was doing.’ Then I stopped- his desire to use elliptical meanings and leave people guessing/making their own minds up is enough without saying ‘This means x’.

Best just to enjoy and be unsettled by something that brings questions of our own mortality to the fore. Best just to enjoy the whole album: in my limited knowledge of Bowie it is the one I like the most.

Friday Music

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This is the 2nd of 3 Bowie ‘Friday Music’s’: be warned.

I have just ‘discovered’ this on Hunky Dory. I say ‘discovered’ as I knew only a few bits of Bowie’s work.

I suppose I could have posted another one of his many well known tracks, but I like this: very English and just this side of twee. I think I like it as the artist’s love for his child pushes him away from arch opaqueness into honesty- I like the belief in his young son as well as his commitment to ensure that he lives a life that is different.

I think I would be proud to be a kook.

Friday Music

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If I had a favourite Bowie song it would be this. We added something to our Beaver Scouts 80s version of ‘Captain’s Coming’ this week- at the shout of ‘Bowie’- they had to put an arm around someone, a la Bowie & Ronson…

I could write a fulsome tribute, but others have done that so much better. I was not a ‘Bowie fan’ as such, but I some of his tracks really got to me. More so, the mood that he generated surrounded my early appreciation of music. I knew that if there was not Bowie, there would not be much of the music I like.

I got into the V&A exhibition a couple of years back & began to appreciate his greatness: I intended to walk through but it was a struggle to wrench myself away. So much of what I saw and experienced showed me how he reacted to the bleakness/colourlessness of postwar British culture and vicariously made a difference to my generation.

What I liked what how he was prepared to reinvent/reimagine what he did: sometimes eliciting the response ‘that is jawdroppingly brilliant’ and sometimes: ‘that is crap!’. The ability to try and sometimes fall is something that is inspiring.

And yes…to someone of my generation, his death means more than Elvis’s death. As a soon to be 50 year old, it also remind me of my own mortality.

I have a stack of Bowie vinyl albums that a friend gave me in the last couple of years that I have not paid much attention to: I now want to go on pilgrimage.

Friday Music

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This is for my youngest son who finishes primary school today.

He tried to get this into his Leavers’ Play but seems to have been vetoed by most of his class mates: ‘my friends don’t really ‘get’ music like this dad’.

So this song is for all brave explorers like Major Tom who are willing to face their fears, step into something new- even if those around them don’t always ‘get’ it…

Friday Music

When on holiday, the DVD player broke down. That sentence really should have #firstworldproblems after it.

It broke down and the DVD ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ could not be ejected. So we watched it again…and again (my younger son watches films above him to try and understand them).

I like the film: for mass market entertainment, it takes the road less travelled- slow, beautifully shot and almost elegaic. The soundtrack is also fantastic: I love how the director structures the film around Arcade Fire ‘Wake Up’ (surely the best song ever with a one note riff: discuss) & this song which I only have on vinyl.

I am using the film version and not the original.

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Friday Music

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This video went viral this week. I prefer the Bowie version, but in this case the video and the song ‘make sense’ and are incredibly moving. I will never hear this song quite the same way again.

…and this is also to celebrate my favourite athiest funeral director clearing out his old Bowie LPs and donating them to the church (well me).

Friday Music

So it is a long drive today to get to a retreat. I perhaps should do this in silence. Some of it will be spent listening to this guy:-

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I am starting to ‘get’ the Ziggy album and I am almost there with Hunky Dory. The rest will have to wait for a while.

This performance apparently woke people up to David Bowie and started to imprint him on the national consciousness. Even 40 years later, it still has the power to shock. I showed my oldest son and he said ‘is it a man or a woman?’ and walked away. I like this; although I don’t think I will start dressing like this on Sunday just yet….

Bowie at the V& A

(not quite the proper liturgical dress for the 3rd Sunday after Easter)

I have already bored several people rigid with seeing the Bowie exhibition at the V&A….

I confess- I have never been a true fan, but the combination of a gap in a schedule and the thought of going somewhere new just to lose myself in seeing something different was too tempting.

I loved it: I loved the way the Exhibition was curated as a totally immersive experience with sound and vision (see what I just did there…), I loved the way you moved around at your own pace and direction, I loved the chance to interpret things for your self, I loved the mix of sacred & profane, major and trivial and I loved the journey of discovery. Most of all, I thought ‘This could not happen now’; I gained an appreciation of someone who was an innovator and perhaps the first person to see music as the possibility of performance art. It was good towards the end of the exhibition to sit and watch the video wall and watch how some of the themes that I had learned about were played out.

I feel richer for just having been there. And like all good art, it takes weeks/months to assimilate what you have just seen. And I am going to dig out my handful of Bowie albums.

Ok, Bowie had another side: at times ruthless to those around him and to his own self, but here was someone who thought deeply about the impact his art could have and the role of the artist as irritant, as an outsider questioning the mores of his society.

Fill in this space for the parallels for the Jesus follower, the Church…..