Saturday, January 16, 2016


Rolling Stone January 14, 2016
This issue came to me a week ago? It's been sitting in the pile. I've been deep into Bowie this week because of his death. No, not because of his death. Right before the holidays, I read in Rolling Stone about the making of this new album. I was really excited by it. I watched the videos that had been made to support a few of the songs, and I talked about it to whomever would listen. It struck a chord.

Now, I understand why. It was the work of him dying. And being an Irishman, that resonates and makes sense for me.

The review is sort of a space-time continuum. It had no idea that Bowie would die. And it's imaginings of what the album is shows the review, or any reviews for that matter, its holes. A reviewer can only guess what is behind the curtain. One comment: "In "I Can't Give Everything Away," he states his case for dignity of distance- his refusal to tour (so far) and engage with the media circus ,,,"This is all I ever meant/That's the message that I sent," Bowie sings in a voice largely free of effects- clear, elegant and emphatic." If I can take anything away from this is that he tells me that this is my work. This is the message.

And the message that I have received is one of grace. It is spectacularly comforting to imagine that one can go to the end in the very essence of who one is. He seemed so in control of what he wanted to give last and how to take his last bow. In the "Lazarus" video, when he writes in his diary book, Bowie shows his fear. Or maybe better, worry. It is interesting to watch. And I have watched it again and again. It and "Blackstar."

I've shown the videos to my students who don't really even know who David Bowie is. They are more of the Chief Keef bent. But they dug the videos. And they wondered why his eyes were wrapped in gauze with buttons sewn on to look like eyes. And we talked about not being able to see what is beyond life. How does one know? And one kid asked, 'has anyone ever said what death looks like?' A seventeen year old asked me that question. I said that some who have crashed on the operating table have said that they see a light, etc. But in Bowie's case, and this is what is so mesmerizing for me, is that he isn't seeing a light or a tunnel or a god. He creates in life, what he plans to see in death. He paints it. Choreographs it. Sings it. And it is dark. Blind. Mysterious. Yeah, he goes back into the cupboard. There is fear; yet, he rises.

I just can't get him out of my head.

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