“Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now.”
As David Bowie hurtled towards the stars a couple of days ago, I knew there was no way that this column couldn’t send him on his way without a passing nod. Millions of words have been used by thousands of people inimitably more famous, eloquent and intelligent than I could ever be. So, in a situation like this, is there any point in even trying to articulate anything of the great man that may have been missed?
Of course not, certainly not in the formulaic manner that most have managed, but I would like my First Touch column to have a Bowie theme. And, until I see Jagger waxing lyrical about the comparisons between Bowie and Memphis Depay maybe there is a gap in the market after all!!
Bowie was a chameleon: an artist that moved with the times, before the times and like nobody has before, or ever will. There were so many facets to his life and works and I thought a few light-hearted comparisons were in order.
(I’d happily cut ‘n’ paste Bowie’s discography and sit and listen with you all. But until we can master this interactive part of my column, you will just have to deal with the words and strange comparisons tumbling from my keyboard.)
“I had a very reserved, respectable childhood. Nothing really happened to me that one would consider freaky.”
Bowie was struggling to find his voice and not really sure of his style. This can’t be anyone but Louis Van Gaal. LVG has to be thrilled to be perfectly honest.
The turgid muck that he is making Manchester United fans watch at the moment and, yet, I’m still throwing in a Bowie comparison. Apparently, I’m LVGs’s biggest fan: most people just want him sacked.
Late Sixties/Early Seventies Bowie:
This is the glittering prize that all of football is striving for right now.
Forget the Balloon d’two horse-race and Neymar’s ability to out Bruno Mars, Bruno Mars, in the clobber stakes; a comparison with the great man and his early albums is on offer.
I was incredibly tempted to go all out French and thrust this award Paul Pogba’s way, but I feel he is just a little too old and experienced to warrant this accolade. I’m staying local and giving this one to Dele Alli.
Alli is 19 years of age, but showing that he has a little Hunky Dory and Space Oddity in his locker. His rapid rise from the lower leagues has been rewarded with a five-album, sorry, five-year deal. Dele Alli’s true pomp and Ziggy Stardust-era style of central midfield play are on the horizon.
“He was an alien rock god bringing a message of hope to young people on Earth and sporting a wardrobe of plastic red boots, tight trousers, sequins and a red cockade.”
I told you that I would shoe-horn Memphis Depay in here somewhere. Please see above quote and realize that the comparison has absolutely sweet FA to do with the music, or the football. I want you to stop reading this column (if you haven’t already) and surf the web with the words Depay – shit, and fashion-sense in the search engine.
Specifically, I would like to steer you in the direction of the last word of the above quote: “cockade.”
The bird without the fizz, shall we say?
This period of Bowie’s output was in complete antithesis itself.
Bowie went from L.A surroundings and a diet of cocaine, milk and red peppers to the escape of Berlin and a city that helped him produce his most fertile period – ‘Low,’ ‘Heroes,’ and ‘Lodger.’ The Bowie of L.A was an emaciated figure who took to the streets with a dripping nose and a thick overcoat. Bowie himself said, “I blew my nose one day in California and half my brains came out.”
This was Mourinho period Chelsea earlier this season..apart from it appeared that most of the players wanted to blow their own brains out; or Mourinho’s at the very least.
Mourinho departed Chelsea/Bowie departed L.A and Hiddink arrived at the gates of Stamford Bridge, as Bowie arrived at a studio in Berlin. Each were armed with an array of thoughts and the ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Eighties period Bowie:
The Eighties saw Bowie re-invent himself again, this time for the MTV generation. Ashes to Ashes, Under Pressure and Dancing In The Street to name but a few. Bowie grasped the modern world with both hands and thrust himself into the living rooms of millions of new fans.
I’d like to welcome the English Premier League into the new world, as well. We finally have goal-line technology. I wouldn’t say it has exactly been “thrust” upon us in our living rooms, but it has certainly been welcomed into our hearts.
The Next Day:
After years out of, not exactly the wilderness, but certainly the spotlight, Bowie returned in 2013 on his 66th birthday with the afore-mentioned album. If not a classic, this was certainly a critically acclaimed album and an album that spawned Bowie’s most successful single in 20 years, Where Are We Now. As we close in on 2015 and 2016 there really are no comparisons that can be drawn with David Bowie.
The world around us is craving their 15 minutes of fame and professional footballers are throwing themselves at sponsorship deals and reality TV shows quicker than I can say androgynous. David Bowie, on the other hand, lived out his last couple of years in nigh on anonymity and that didn’t mean he needed to be a recluse.
In 2014 his family came to London and traveled around the city without a care in the world and without a lens shoved in their faces.
“It’s absurd this idea that celebrities can’t be anonymous. We even went on the London Eye (without any fuss).”
And in NYC the David Bowie’s ability to move freely amongst the city and the indigenous people was equally as simple. When a friend marveled at Bowie’s relaxed attitude at using public transport alone, the reply was one of genius, but remarkable simplicity: totally befitting the great man himself.
“I just carry one of these (holding aloft a Greek newspaper) and people think: that’s David Bowie, surely? Then they see the Greek newspaper – no, can’t be, just some Greek guy who looks like him.”
Thank you for everything.