Moment of silence

I feel like I should hold off on posting my next Lucas Minus Star Wars review, because the world is mourning David Bowie and doesn’t want to read about Michael Jackson in space. So consider today a moment of silence. Sincerest condolences to Mr. Bowie’s family, friends and fans.

This entry was posted on Monday, January 11th, 2016 at 11:36 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

59 Responses to “Moment of silence”

  1. And now, to cheer everybody up:

    David Bowie - Bowie Secrets @Conan O'brien

    This is a very funny vid of Mr.Bowie telling a few secrets :) If I'm not mistaken this was circa 2002. Let me know if I'm wrong or not. Sorry about the bad q...

  2. Aww…I’d LOVE to read your review to take my mind off of it! Tomorrow would work just as well, though.

  3. Long Live the Goblin King.

  4. Crushinator Jones

    January 11th, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    A sincere thank you, Vern, for this section and for taking a virtual moment to praise one of the greats.

    It’s been a tough day at work for the Crushinator. I had to keep myself from tearing up during a vendor meeting when it suddenly hit me that there would be no more of Bowie’s good-hearted, gentle weirdness in the world anymore. I’m pretty sure that David Bowie, who was famously kind and gracious to just about everyone, wouldn’t want me getting upset about this unfortunate situation. So I’ll try not to be.

  5. Crushinator Jones

    January 11th, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Sorry to blab back in here again but, you know, I think this is hitting me so hard because in a lot of ways, David Bowie was the avatar of genuine artistic courage. I saw his obit refer to him as a “chameleon” but that’s really not true at all, he was always David Bowie and never tried to pretend to be anything else. You weren’t going to mistake his voice or his ever-evolving/chimerical style as some other person’s. I remember the first time I heard “Young Americans”, there’s a part where Bowie just goes completely headfirst into the music and the entire song seems to shudder and jerk and he rapid-fire sings through the bridge…and of course ends it with the slow “Breeeeak down and cryyyyyyyyy” croon – the vocal equivalent of an ellipses where you expected to hear an exclamation point. That’s the kind of thing I loved about him. Yet 20 years later he was buzzing around with Nine Inch Nails and then almost 20 years after that he’s creating music with a jazz quartet and it still always seems authentically, and purely, Bowie. Nobody would dare accuse him of “selling out”. There’s some indefatigable, elemental Bowie soul that animates it all.

    Also earlier I want to say that the whole thing about “David Bowie wouldn’t want be getting upset” was meant in the abstract. I never met the guy and the only relationship I ever had with him was through his music. But that was enough.

  6. David Bowie was such a weird, totally original guy, the world became a less interesting place with him gone, he was one in a million.

    To be honest, it really bothers me that were not even a month into the year and already there’s a major celebrity death, it seems like this happens way more frequently these days, am I wrong about that? I have heard a theory that it’s because we here about them instantaneously now whereas in the past if you weren’t paying attention to the news you might not learn that someone passed away until years after the fact.

    I guess that’s possible but at the same time Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Billy Mays* all died on literally the same day in 2009, a year that had a couple of other significant celebrity deaths, that’s a little odd, right?

    *I know Billy Mays is hardly on the level of Michael Jackson as far as fame goes, but still.

  7. Crushinator Jones

    January 11th, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Griff, I’m sorry to say this is just a consequence of getting older. All those important media influences in your life drop dead and you really start to notice it.

  8. Crushinator Jones

    January 11th, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Having said that, losing Scott Weiland, N. Cole, Lemmy, and David Bowie in a 2 month period really fucking sucks.

  9. RIP to The Man Who Fell to Earth.

    Was really hoping he would be back to reprise his really odd role in the new Twin Peaks. His scene in FWWM was one of my favorite moments in all of movie history!

    LABRYNTH is fantastic too, of course!

    Can’t wait to read about Michael Jackson in space! I was wondering when you would get to that one! I love the little butterfly monkey guy in that!

  10. This one hit me hard. Celebrity deaths usually force me to think about the artist’s body of work, and, if I’m being honest, they’re a reminder of my own mortality. Crushinator Jones is right. If you start recognizing and become affected by a number of celebrity deaths, it really signals that you’re getting older.

    I first became really interested in David Bowie when I picked up Ziggy Stardust when I was about eighteen. Before then, I only really knew his radio hits. I can honestly say that the album changed the way I thought about the world. I was brought up by a well meaning but Evangelical mother, and I had taken in some harmful ideas about growing up. At that point in time, I hadn’t quite shed religion completely (although, I was close). I convinced myself that if homosexuality was a sin, then maybe it was a little sin, like lying. After all, who was it hurting. But Bowie helped me discard the idea that homosexuality was in any way wrong.

    More than that, Bowie’s music transformed the way I thought about gender and sexuality. I no longer viewed these concepts as rigid categories, and I came to see them as far more fluid. I can honestly say that Bowie’s art made me a better person.

    There’s a lot more to Bowie than the way he played with gender and sexuality. Questions of identity were central. The truism about Bowie was that he was a chameleon, but every new personae still felt like it was somehow still him. He always is and never was David Jones, David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, and Aladdin Sane. He’s like a postmodern Bodhisattva.

    I probably only own about half of all Bowie albums, but I return to them again and again, and they seem just as slippery now as when I first picked up them up. I suspect I’ll spend my entire life diving through his music and never finding the bottom.

    But, yeah, this one has been tough. I think the only other celebrity death that hit me this hard was Joe Strummer back in 2002. RIP David Bowie.

  11. Also, that harmful ideas about “growing up” is supposed to be “harmful ideas about homosexuality growing up,” obviously.

  12. I actually first got into Bowie based on his contribution to the American Psycho soundtrack which caused me to check out his late-90s album the Hours. The album has a middling reputation I think, but for whatever reason I really dug it and listened to it quite a lot from start to finish. Of course, I had been aware of Bowie as a cultural icon (Ziggy Stardust, China Girl, Dancing in the Street, Under Pressure, etc.), but that was the first time that a set of circumstances actually inspired me to give a Bowie album a spin. Plus, I mean, the dude officiated the Zoolander-Hansel walk-off. Respect.

    Finally, random: you can find this video of him on youtube in the early internet days where he says all kinds of prescient things about the coming landscape-changing piracy epidemic.

  13. I actually first got into Bowie based on his contribution to the American Psycho soundtrack which caused me to check out his late-90s album the Hours. The album has a middling reputation I think, but for whatever reason I really dug it and listened to it quite a lot from start to finish. Of course, I had been aware of Bowie as a cultural icon (Ziggy Stardust, China Girl, Dancing in the Street, Under Pressure, etc.), but that was the first time that a set of circumstances actually inspired me to give a Bowie album a spin. Plus, I mean, the dude officiated the Zoolander-Hansel walk-off. Respect.

    Finally, random: you can find this video of him on youtube in the early internet days where he says all kinds of prescient things about the coming landscape-changing piracy epidemic.

  14. There’s a fuckhuge disparity between the amount of masculine and feminine male role models in popular culture. From the former, I’m pretty sure it was only Bowie, who was allowed to be considered cool.
    Figuring out my gender-related issues without this guy would be hell. I get why people are taking this way emotional.

  15. Other feminine male role models:

    – Jeff Goldblum,
    – Kevin Spader
    – Morrissey
    – Scar from Lion King (ambitious)

    Missed someone?

  16. Talking about albums with middling reputations, the only Bowie CD that I own is his EARTHLING album from 1997, where he heavily experimented with Drum n Bass and other electronic sounds. I remember that cricits either didn’t know what to do with it or criticized him for jumping on the (back then in Europe) popular Techno (= EDM, 20 years before Americans called it that) bandwagon, but here is again the difference between Bowie and several other artists. When he “jumped on a bandwagon”, something unique and interesting came out. I mean, compare this song, (which is now almost 20 years old and still sounds more modern than most modern songs) to something from, let’s say Lady Gaga’s output and you see who the real artist is!

    David Bowie - Little Wonder

    Music video by David Bowie performing Little Wonder. (C) 1997 ISO Records /Risky Folio, Inc. made under license to Sony Music Entertainment

    But in the end, when it comes to his relationship with critics, Bowie entered the phase, that every artist who is in the game long enough, decades ago. Half of the critics praised every new albul as a return to form and the other half called it a shadow if his former glory. Good to know that Bowie didn’t give a fuck and kept on going.

  17. Kevin Swords: Tim Curry! Maybe not during his whole career, but if Franknfurter didn’t make it cool for guys to wear make up and corsets, I don’t know who did!

  18. Kevin – gotta be Prince, right?

  19. Vern, CJ: They’re there too, Prince is a big one.

  20. Jeff Goldblum = feminine? I’m not sure how you could think that given this http://dfep0xlbws1ys.cloudfront.net/thumbsf5/5e/f55ef672781d2f0333021356cdc8acd1.jpg

  21. Yeah I get Morrissey. I’d also add 80s Jon Cryer but Goldblum?

    I’m still trying to come to grips with the fact that I woke up in a world without David Bowie. It’s just surreal as fuck to me.

    I guess an upside is that it gave me a reason to contact my friend of 22 years who I haven’t spoken to in about 2 years. Since he was the only soul in the universe that really understands what Bowie’s death meant to me.

  22. I’ve actually got my own list that I guess you could call feminine male role models:

    Tom Lennon/Lt. Dangle: He’s so very clever in a fairly gentle way. Seems like just a nice guy. From what I’ve heard of him when he’s not in character, he seems to be just like his Jim Dangle character, but straight(er).

    Paul Bartel: The sophisticated boob. Mostly he’s just funny in a witty, urbane way, but I also get the feeling that his characters at least are not at all malicious.

    Stanley Tucci: Not really at all feminine. In fact, extremely masculine. But he’s very comfortable playing fey or gay characters, and he projects that same wit and intelligence as the others on the list.

    Frasier: Do you see a pattern here?

    Anyway, those are a subset of the figures in my adult life that I try to be like. I don’t know that I necessarily pull it off well, but that doesn’t matter so much anymore. Lately, I’ve spent most of my time just trying to be me, now that I know better what exactly that means (atheist Jesus?).

    Here’s a great eulogy of Bowie by the creators of The Venture Bros, by the by:

  23. 'The Venture Bros.' Creators Beautifully Eulogize David Bowie - Spinoff Online - TV, Film, and Entertainment News Daily

    Talking with SPINOFF, Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer pay tribute to David Bowie, who inspired them and left his mark on "The Venture Bros."

  24. The Original Paul

    January 12th, 2016 at 8:08 am

    I just saw this one in the newspaper, thought “Man, I gotta say something on Vern’s site”, came here, and saw this. Moment of silence indeed.

    I’d like to think of Bowie, laughing at us all now from the stars, going “See? I told you guys!” Rest in peace Mr Spaceman. You made some of my favorite songs and gave me a few special memories to treasure.

  25. Ancient Romans – cool list, cool people (Tom Lennon)!. I think I get that atheist jesus vibe, I’m trying something like this myself.

    Griff, Broddie – I wonder if Goldblum hasn’t changed with age, but in the clips like this:

    Jeff Goldblum Is Going Leg-Bald - CONAN on TBS

    CONAN Highlight: Jeff is concerned about his body hair, and has taken a weird interest in Conan's too. More CONAN @ http://teamcoco.com/video

    he seems really non-confrontational, playful and open. There is some flirting, some gender-bending. This isn’t “traditional” masculine attitude, I think.

  26. Crushinator Jones

    January 12th, 2016 at 8:57 am

    You know, there’s some neurological research that suggests that you actually “die” every time you go to sleep and when you wake up you’re a fresh new consciousness with all of the memories and most of the neurological mappings of the old one (hence why sleeping on certain issues gives you new perspectives and dulls certain emotional hurts). Yesterday’s Crushinator was really hoping that today’s Crushinator was going to be better with Bowie’s death. Unfortunately, it’s still pretty sharp.

  27. CJ – Earthling showed that Bowie was always engaged with whatever music he found interesting. Sure, some people thought he was trend chasing, but I’m pretty sure he was generally interested in what he could accomplish within certain genres.

    Just the other day, before Bowie’s death, I was reading a listing of his greatest albums, and the authors really defended his much maligned 80s work. I’m only moderately familiar with that stuff, but I always thought of it as his worst (“Modern Love” excepted). But it just goes to show that for fans, everything by Bowie was essential. Even if an album doesn’t completely work, there are at least a few phenomenal tracks. Besides, he was always reaching for something new and different right up to his final album.

  28. My Bowie song is Space Oddity. That is also almost my extent of Bowie-knowledge. Good song, though. R.I.P

  29. kevin swords – Haven’t watched Conan in many years tbh. So I wasn’t even familiar with that clip. When I think of Goldblum I think of him circa the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s when he was characteristically a more manly Woody Allen married to hot ass prime era Geena Davis.

    Shoot – For me it was always between The Jean Genie and Sugfraggette City.

  30. I´m trying to catch up on Spotify,though. It´s a bit morbid now that he is dead. But I just never got around to it until now.

  31. Shoot – The most obvious in to Bowie’s work is Ziggy Stardust. That’s the album that pulled me in. I would start there, but I’m sure others have their own suggestions. I suppose you could skip around and check out individual songs, but Bowie swings so wildly from style to style that it might be better to consume entire albums.

  32. Thanks for the suggestion. I will do that.

  33. I always thought Chris Walken had an asexual quality about him. Those high cheekbones, the soft touch, the dancing. The big alien eyes. But also a badass who does tough guy and evil really well.

    Schrader’s CAT PEOPLE is where I enter the Bowie realm. His theme song lyrics with the Giorgio Moroder music are powerful and cinematic – Putting Out Fire With Gasoline (which Tarantino lifted for BASTERDS). I actually prefer the movie version of this song to the version on the Let’s Dance album.

  34. Talking about Bowie on Spotify: It should really be noted in today’s time, where everybody tries to be as old school, retro or simply anti-progressive as possible for nostalgic reasons and/or a false sense of coolness, Bowie always embraced the future. He was even the first artist who released a song on the internet.

    Another Bowie song that I’ve been very fond of (although it’s not one of his typical hits) is the 1995 version of HALLO SPACEBOY, which admittedly is more Pet Shop Boys than Bowie, but it’s a great fit. Also the video belongs to my favourite musicvideo subgenre (Random stockfootage montage).

    David Bowie - Hallo Spaceboy

    Music video by David Bowie performing Hallo Spaceboy. (C) 1995 ISO Records/Risky Folio, Inc., under license to Sony Music Entertainment

  35. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Johnny Depp in the men with feminine quality discussion.

    With musicians, there were quite a few that came out of the “grunge” scene. Which I think is funny, because the previous music trend was hair bands and it’s so weird to me that the guys with the teased and hair-sprayed hair, eyeliner and frosted lipstick, and hot pink lycra are considered by and large as macho dicks. Goes to show, it’s not the trappings that make one feminine. Anyway, I would say Kurt Cobain definitely had it, along with guys like Jane’s Addiction.

  36. MMP – Nirvana rocking out in dresses in the clip for “In Bloom” was a forming experience for sure.

    Bowie mixing kraut rock and soul (?) because why not:

    David Bowie - Station to Station (Live 1978)

    Live at the Nihon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan - December 12, 1978

  37. The death of Michael Jackson hit me harder as I grew up on a lot of his classics. But Bowie somehow struck a nreve.

  38. One more thing about Goldblum, has anyone here seen the comedy EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY? In it he plays a fur covered alien who at one point gets shaved down and he was absolutely ripped in that movie.

  39. CJ Holden – hit upon something. Bowie and Prince are among my favorites all-time, and Prince obviously was highly influenced by Bowie’s music and visual look. But both also share that same not give a fuck attitude, they experiment and try stuff and it may be popular or fall flat but get rediscovered later or it’s always ignored but regardless they move on to the next thing. Difference between the two maybe was Bowie wasn’t insane like Prince is/can be with his impulsive decision-making sometimes like wanting to put out several albums in the same year, which undercut your sales or whatever. Bowie had more common sense. (Both incidentally have a sense of humor in their works that most people forget.)

    Regardless both had that element, and I admired them for doing that.

  40. @Poeface I saw INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS three times in the movie theater, and the biggest reason was that Bowie song. The theater I was in had the most impressive sound system I’d ever heard, and I saw the movie towards the end of its run. I was the only person in the theater, and when Bowie’s voice comes on it was like I was in my own personal cathedral.

  41. For me it really does come down to the voice, especially when he worked in a lower register. At his best Bowie commanded the pure dramatic potential of his voice to brilliant effect. Many singers effectively employ a theatricality of voice – Freddie Mercury from Queen is the obvious example – but Bowie seemed to strive to emulate masters like Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and even Edith Piaf who understood that the drama of the voice is best delivered with an aching humanity and a willingness to exploit the flaws and limitations of the instrument. Compare Bowie’s “Heroes” to the cover version by the Wallflowers as an example.

    Before INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS used “Cat People,” David Lynch pulled a similar trick with “I’m Deranged” in LOST HIGHWAY. It’s utterly chilling and a bit heartbreaking too.

  42. The Original Paul

    January 16th, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Jareth – you are totally right regarding Bowie’s voice.

    My favorite Bowie moment, as far as his music goes, is the bridge-section of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. I think the lyrics go:

    “I wanted to believe,
    I wanted to be good.
    I wanted no distractions,
    Like every good boy should.”

    The lyrics are fine, but Bowie just nails them with a perfect intonation that drips with genuine regret. It’s just such a “teasing” moment, if that makes any sense.

  43. No one needed the Wallflowers cover version to remind us what a righteous song “Heroes” is, but when you listen to the two versions side by side it’s really instructive: the modifications Bowie makes to his voice from verse to verse to escalate the heartfelt drama of the song are remarkable. As I understand, Bowie and Eno decided to record each verse with the microphone placed farther and farther from the singer, forcing him to really belt it out by the final verse. That he managed to still find nuances while basically shouting is quite commendable (and reminiscent of the pre-microphone era when singers were compelled to communicate across the vast space of the concert hall unaided).

    Bowie wrote dozens of great songs, but it’s his vocal performance that elevated many of them to art. He could have coasted on the textural coolness of what he was writing and the clothes he was wearing and had a respectable career like Marc Bolan or Iggy Pop, but he seemed unsatisfied to do so. This is why I’ve found over the last week that attempts to eulogize him by quoting his lyrics seem incredibly flimsy; he didn’t situate himself in the singer-songwriter mode, he was a performer. A phrase like “hot tramp I love you so” is utterly orphaned without that voice to deliver it.

    And “Under Pressure”: the song is like an entire opera that occurs in less than four minutes. Queen build these massive skyscrapers with their instruments and Mercury’s voice, and Bowie wanders around among them having a very convincing nervous breakdown. Any pathos found in the song is carried by Bowie’s performance.

    Bryan Ferry did something similar, but limited his efforts to refining that one elegantly wasted persona. Bowie lent his voice to a constellation of characters and perspectives and moments of extremity and often succeeded in humanizing them in very compelling ways.

    Agree with you about Bowie’s voice salvaging banal lyrics, Griff: hearing the whole “tremble like a flower” part of “Let’s Dance” being the moment most of my peers became fans for life (and more than a little smitten).

  44. For me, Bowie managed to be both theatrical and authentic. Often when a musician does bizarre contortions with their vocals, it kind of distances me. But there was something about Bowie’s voice that sounded like he wasn’t trying to show off. He was just searching for a new way to express an emotion or idea that he couldn’t do with words alone.

    Most of what I’ve been listening to this week has been Bowie, and I take solace in the fact that you can continually return to his albums and keep on finding something new. There are also a few albums that I’m only nominally familiar with or haven’t actually listened to all the way through. It’s just nice to know that I’ll be exploring his work for decades to come.

  45. The Original Paul

    January 17th, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    I love HEROES (the album). It’s such a weird one (maybe not by Bowie’s standards, but by most album’s standards…) Hearing the title track at #2, and the awesome BEAUTY AND THE BEAST which kicks it off, you think it’s gonna be an album of all barnstorming pop-rock anthems. Then you get the likes of V-2 SCHNEIDER and a bunch of almost-instrumentals later on, yet they still hold up.

  46. Heroes is just a brilliant. The move to mostly instrumentals in the back half of the album must have been either frustrating or mindblowing at the time. Whenever I’m on a long plane trip (which doesn’t happen too often) I’ll usually listen to the entire “Berlin Trilogy” (Low, Heroes, and Lodger). Those albums feel like they’re taking you on a journey.

  47. Did I miss Vern’s Alan Rickman tribute?

  48. My vagina smells like roses, thanks anyway.

  49. For five long years, I´ve had roses up my vagina.

  50. What the f…are you talking about?!

  51. haha that moment when the spambot post disappears and only the insanity remains.

  52. pegsman- I want you to have the roses. They belonged to your dad.

  53. I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
    Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime
    When you take you gotta give so live and let live and let go oh oh oh oh
    I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden

    I could promise you things like big diamond rings
    But you don’t find roses growin’ on stalks of clover
    So you better think it over
    Well, if sweet talking you could make it come true
    I would give you the world right now on a silver platter
    But what would it matter
    So smile for a while and let’s be jolly love shouldn’t be so melancholy
    Come along and share the good times while we can

    I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
    Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime
    I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden

    I could sing you a tune and promise you the moon
    But if that’s what it takes to hold you I’d just as soon let you go
    But there’s one thing I want you to know
    You’d better look before you leap still waters run deep
    And there won’t always be someone there to pull you out
    And you know what I’m talking about
    So smile for a while and let’s be jolly love shouldn’t be so melancholy
    Come along and share the good times while we can

    I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
    Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime…..

    I beg your pardon I never promised you a rose garden
    Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain sometime…..

  54. I just realized that this might not have been the most appropriate thread for making roses-in-vagina jokes. Sorry, David!

  55. I didn’t see what thread it was until now; sorry about that…

  56. So um, Shoot, does that mean you are really pegsman’s mother? The feather-tickling makes so much more sense now..

  57. Can we please stop this thread from turning anymore into a travesty?

  58. I’m Deranged.

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