A Lesson Learnt: Bowie


January 10, 2013 by hattersleysmith

Last month I found myself close to having a guitar smashed over my head.

Having disgraced myself with an iTunes bursting with ‘Now’ albums, Chris de Burgh and an outrageous quantity of Andrew Lloyd Webber, I had decided to dedicate an afternoon to scrolling through my entire library on the hunt for something my music-fanatic other half would approve of in order to redeem a highly awkward incident involving a badly timed burst of ‘Phantom of the Opera’.

That was when I came across ‘Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’.

Vaguely recalling that I’d nabbed the album from my dad’s dusty CD rack back in 2007 in a bid to race my brother to 1,000 songs and recognising the household name ‘David Bowie’ from some DJ on Radio 2 I proceeded to feel rather smug and descended the stairs in order to casually break the news that I had Bowie on my iTunes and nonchalantly inquire whether Thomas had heard of him…


Within a few seconds I became all too aware that the mantra ‘BOWIE IS A KING’ applies not only to my father’s generation, but to anyone who has even the most remote taste in music.  Apparently, that’s me out then.  Within minutes I found myself bowing down in shame of my own musical ignorance.

As it happens my blonde moment resulting in discordant-near-decapitation was aptly timed. Retiring back to Yorkshire for the Christmas break I finally found an opportunity to educate myself as my copy of Intelligent Life boasted a classy black and white snap of the musician headlined ‘BOWIE: NOT JUST FOR ONE DAY’ and a glossy four-page spread of his iconography through a bizarre array of styles to coincide with the preparations for V&A’s latest exhibition on his past. What a coincidence…

And what a coincidence (would never have seen that one coming) that only a few weeks later, retrospective showcase and magazine features firmly ticked, Twitter was taken by storm with the 5am announcement that this family man, absent from the music scene for a decade after emergency heart surgery, had released his new single ‘Where Are We Now?’ and was looking forward to releasing his new album ‘The Next Day’ in March! His PR agent deserves an all-inclusive month off in the Maldives.

David BowieThe song’s surprise release was an ingenious publicity coup as Bowie re-emerged out of the blue (sort of) to be trended across Twitter, YouTube and the Blogosphere. Such is the power of social and digital media that within a few hours the video, released online, had received almost half a million views and by 3pm it had been propelled to No.1 in the UK Charts.

However, as ‘a slow, happy wave of Bowie-love’ rolls over the world (according to The Times’ Caitlin Moran) I can’t help feeling as though I’ve been missing out. I’d decided I wouldn’t make a New Year’s resolution for 2013 but now I reckon I may have to reassess; what started as a desperate attempt to validate my lack of any musical knowledge beyond the harmonies of Billy Elliot and The Lion King, the angry bass of Prodigy and the whines from my angsty 15-year-old love of MCR has evolved into a realisation that I really should dedicate a few more hours in the week to Boseing up to bridge the gaping fjords of my musical knowledge.  No doubt I’ll soon be Bowieng to The Greatness that was the Thin White Duke.

Hope you approve Thomas!


One thought on “A Lesson Learnt: Bowie

  1. Is there no hero? says:

    You leave me speechless, absolutely speechless…

    You are a disgrace to your country, not on the charge of your horrific ignorance, but for publishing that ignorance in a public forum. And with such an amused tone of voice.

    This is why the Chinese deserve to win. Will the last person leaving the room please be courteous enough to clean my remains off the barrel of the revolver.


    The betrayed Englishman.

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