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David Bowie,and the tragedy of his brother, in the sun he plumneted in the shadows he bloomed

Poring over pop culture echaology one has a long ingrained distrust of the word genius, especially when the one under scrutiny was at times using cocaine on a pharmaceutically 
industrial scale.

However one does not wish to be churlish when the discussing the deceptive David Bowie

In the view of many respected commentators Bowie was a genius, and critics wax lyrically about his product, '.. from album to album there was a strange, light, almost mocking dialectic: he taught us to be critics of our own enthusiasms. He was ‘post’ and ‘meta’ and playfully ‘iconic’, before such terms had any real popular currency.'

'July 1972: blue guitar, red boots, jumpsuit made of cushion covers from a bad mescaline trip, orange hair, a Klieg-light nimbus around his ghost-train head. A big crooked grin like he’s having the best possible time, like he has just sold the waiting world a truly irresponsible dare, his arm curling around the guitarist Mick Ronson. ‘But he thinks he’d blow our minds!’ And he did.'
Did he?

 'Let’s throw in every trend of the moment: space travel! stylophones! existentialist gloom! He was part hippy, part beady-eyed nitroglycerin queen, part Penguin Modern Classic reader, part theatre door Johnny; or, as the American critic Robert Christgau once put it, ‘a middlebrow fascinated by the power of a highbrow-lowbrow form.'

God, people do indulge themselves with words

 One reason for that blown fuse was that Bowie had already worked out that the best way to put across a serious point was to stage it as an almost luridly OTT showbiz scene
A bit of sci-fi, a bit of up-in-the-air sexuality, a bit of scarves-in-the-air sing-along, a bit of an ‘Oh no he isn’t!’ panto vibe as if his tongues was firmly lodged in his cheek.

Bowie between two poles: laughter-madness-performance v. cool calculation, media plotting. On one hand, the nerveless psychological chess player, three moves ahead of everyone else

One fact that I had not know about Bowie was the tragic tale of his brother, and how much this cataclysmic event shaped his course. Was Bowie a man haunted by the whole troubled (and unresolved) matter of his older half-brother, Terry Burns. It was Terry who had introduced the young David Jones to Buddhism, Beat poetry, Mingus, and who later slipped or snapped into genuine psychosis, to lead a cruel jacitation of a life until his eventual suicide in 1985. 

Bowie himself played with and performed a version of madness far nearer a late 19th-century Euro-romantic (and very painterly) notion of things. An idea of ‘Europe’ haunts his work, and may even be what steered him back from the precipice of genuine black-out or white-out in the late 1970s. It can hardly be a coincidence that after leaving the coast of California on a jet plane he ended up behind a wall, in shadowy Berlin. In the sun, he plummets. In the shadows, he blooms
he had an almost pathological desire to be liked.'

Haven't we all?

When he was at death’s door he looked wonderful.
Bowie met the Somalian supermodel Iman in 1990 and they married in 1992. She seems to have dislodged something in him he’d hidden for too long, and he sobered up though like George Harrison he continued to smoke like a troubled priest in a 1940s noir film

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