Serious Moonlight

Modern Music
David Bowie 80s Special

It’s been a long, strange, tripfor David Bowie from ‘Scary Monsters’ to ‘Let’s Dance’, lasting two movies and three years, plugged only by three bizarre single collaborations.

There was Bowie and Brecht on the excellent ‘Baal’ EP, Bowie and Moroder on ‘Cat People’, the
overblown melodrama of which makes perfect sense when heard over the closing credits of the film and,finally, the oddest of them all, Bowieand Queen on ‘Under Pressure’!

"Yes, I found that quite odd,” smiles Bowie. “I’m not quite sure how I got involved in that really. They turned up in Montreux, which is not far from where I live in Switzerland.Needless to say when groups come to town to record, they fi nd out where I live… so this is how I tend to see
a lot of bands, under the influence of Switzerland.”

Once the shock of Bowie working with Queen passes, it stands up surprisingly well, and Bowie’s
words are consistent with both the sentiments of ‘Scary Monsters’ and the positive Bowie to come – his new LP, ‘Let’s Dance’.

Despite the persistent line about Bowie’s inconsistency, he has always been remarkably constant in those matters he cares most about.

His concern for the young dates right back to Ziggy Stardust when he was first alerted to the awesome responsibility that goes with mass popularity. His “inconsistent” taking and shredding of masks, his cultural leaps are all ways of keeping that responsibility fresh and his audience on their toes.I mean, can’t a man change his mind without being hauled over hot coals for doing so?

If rock critics have generally been loath to acknowledge his integrity, preferring instead to see only the chameleon figure intent on protecting his privacy from public scrutiny, the Japanese director Nagisa Oshima chose Bowie to play a godlike prisoner of war Major Jack ‘Strafer’ Celliers in his upcoming film Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence precisely because he saw in him such a quality.

“People ask my why I cast actors from the world of rock,” remarks Oshima in the film’s publicity
notes. “It is because they are sensitive to what people want now, they are performers; their antennas are screwed on right and they don’t mind getting in there and having a go at the truth.”

The David Bowie sitting opposite is charming and chatty, laughing frequently to relieve the tension.

Now aged 36, he has never looked healthier. His sun-bleached hair is a natural straw colour, his face tanned an ochre brown by his recent working sojourns in Australia and the South Seas. He is spritely dressed in an olive green khaki blouse that emphasises his boyishness.

Within the confines of a 50-minute interview he is extraordinarily forthcoming about his work, revising opinions of his past in light of his present attitudes. Quite naturally he only lets slip so
much of himself as is relevant to what he is doing. Dare we expect more from our public figures?
Source:nme originals 80s

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