David Bowie

"The two books on me? Do you know that at last count there are thirty-seven? Thirty-seven, at the moment. I stopped reading those things after about the fourth or fifth one. Because once one saw the cast of characters, it became obvious that they were making a career out of it. The inevitable names would just keep coming up: the ex-wife, Ava Cherry, Cherry Vanilla, Tony Zanetta. Basically, all the people who had such a good time in the early Seventies and now are broke." http://www.rollingstone.com/music/new...

"What is there left to know about David Bowie? What is there left to unearth? I’m really only half a Bowie fan and I already had a whole separate shelf for Bowie books, even before the posthumous publication tsunami. One thing you can’t help but notice about the new books is that the dominant tone has changed. Even at their most celebratory, they are far more wistful: this is pop culture eschatology. The authors seem haunted by the past, with little or no sense of what a post-Bowie or post-rock future might hold. There’s a feeling that nothing will ever be as surprising or shocking again; that rock as ‘alternative’ culture is done, and only remains to be archived and periodically dusted. The implication of at least two of the new titles is that we’re living in times shaped by some kind of Bowie/Glam legacy. I don’t quite see it myself, partly because of a long-ingrained distrust of words like ‘epoch’, ‘era’, ‘age’ and ‘legacy’, which make me feel as if things are being divided up too soon, too neatly, and for convenience’s sake. Maybe even for the sake of some convenient branding. Just look at these four new books: three of them have an identical Aladdin Sane flash on the cover, and two have the same bloody title, which strikes me as pretty good evidence we’ve reached peak something or other. There are more and more books like this these days: rock histories and encyclopedias, stuffed with information, compendiums of every last detail from this or that year, era, genre, artist – time pinned down, with absolutely no anxiety of influence. And while it would be churlish to deny there is often a huge amount of valuable stuff in them, I do think we need to question how seriously we want to take certain lives and kinds of art – and how we take them seriously without self-referencing the life out of them, without deadening the very things that constitute their once bright, now frazzled eros and ethos. One of the big differences between Bowie’s heyday in the 1970s and now is that today you can choose from a huge selection of books on any given cult figure (Nick Drake, Gram Parsons, Syd Barrett etc). In the days when such figures were active you had to be satisfied with an occasional music-press annual, or the lyrics printed in your girlfriend’s Jackie, or, if you were really lucky, a title like The Sociology of Riff (no photos or illustrations). Maybe one of the reasons the 1970s were such an incredibly creative time is that we weren’t all reading biographies and blogs and tweets about (or even by) our heroes, who in turn weren’t thinking about the best way to ‘grow their brand’ exponentially through a social media arc. All that unmediated space waiting to be filled!" - www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n01/ian-penman/wham...
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69 books · 20 voters · list created December 1st, 2016 by Alma (votes) .
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