Category Archives: Music

Some Reflections on David Bowie

I never considered myself a “Bowie expert” or one of his crazy fans. Of course I have danced to Modern Love countless times, and cried over Heroes (with or without the overwhelming backdrop of The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and experienced Wild is the Wind on endless car drives . But always it was more like Bowie was coming into my life rather than me investigating his. Yet every time I read about him, listened to his inspiring songs or his witty interviews, I could feel his influence on me. When I first heard about his death I was sad, but at the same time I felt that I wasn’t as ‘entitled’ to grief as the people who grew up with his music. But the sadness didn’t go away; I wasn’t able to concentrate, and couldn’t help listening to the songs that everyone was posting on social media. Because there was something else about David Bowie. Something that made NASA name a mile-wide space rock after him that “orbits serenely in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter”. Something that made him orchestrate the production and release of Lazarus, his final gift to us, around his own death. Something that now makes us all reflect upon time, our losses, our loves, ourselves. That deep respect about this extra-terrestrially inspiring friend. The respect that is affirmed both by one’s life and death.

David Bowie was a visionary, a bright star but not only that. He was an amazing mind, faithful to itself. It is mostly his inspiring love of life that I am grieving and celebrating. His indelible trace and tremendous influence not only on music and performance, but also on our worldview. David Bowie was a genius, and I am lucky to have lived contemporary to him, and to now see his influence is still current and ongoing. He was as demystified as a phenomenon can be.

A friends said, “imagine how devastating it must be for all the people that met him”. I cannot imagine how lucky they were, and how painful it must be for them. Although, I think that our sadness and grief goes beyond his fascinating artistic output, because in a sense we’ve all met parts of him. Or rather, he definitely made us meet with our oddities. He exposed and enhanced our uniqueness, and as a true artist he influenced music and the world forever, showing us how to make life’s futility into fuel.

All this occupied my mind, and the morning after news broke, led me to visit his childhood home in Brixton. When I arrived there was a couple in their fifties, hugging quietly in front of the tributes. They wiped their discreet tears and went back to their car. While I was standing I saw some neighbours staring with both confusion and compassion. On the ground were letters, dolls, pictures, flowers, candles. I wanted also to leave something, but the urgency to visit this place that was haunting me had made me forgot to bring a tribute object. I searched through my pocket and found an opened party popper from New Year’s Eve. That was it. I knew that he would appreciate this gift. That is exactly what Bowie have achieved; people from different backgrounds, ages, classes and routines, finding a common ground, a bond that would lead them to his house, to his mural, to his music. Thank you David.

Courtney Love Live 02 Shepherds Bush Empire

I was not sure what to expect, considering that the singer is approaching her fifties and the last two decades haven’t been kind to her compared to her earlier career, when she was the maverick lead singer for the Nineties girl-power band Hole. Since then her musical output has been sparse, while she has courted controversy regarding her personal life, including relationships with her former bandmates, the legacy of her deceased husband’s former band Nirvana, and her own daughter.
However it was not so much her music or private life that was on trial here but rather the legend that, judging by such a diverse audience, has given her an impressive cult following. A large young crowd in the front row testified to her relevance with a modern audience.
We were treated to a Hole fan’s dream set-list. With the exception of both sides of her new single, the set drew mainly from her Hole material.
She received a graciously huge uproar from the crowd and took to the stage in what seemed like a kimono-styled nightgown with glasses hanging from the neckline. For a minute I suspected she may lost her edge, but faith was soon restored. She opened with her new single, “Wedding  Day”, from her forthcoming LP Died Blonde. The exterior clothing was quickly removed and she ripped into the Hole classic “Miss World”.
The backing band, including Ginger of the Wildhearts on guitar, seemed to be tight and on it. Although this was technically Courtney’s show they still gave her a solid safety net. Considering that they were newbies or guns for hire they gave it their all, especially on hard hitters such as the punky “Rock Star” and the MTV rotated heavy “Violet”.
Courtney had plenty of banter to offer between songs – she even took the time to notice a hardcore fan and call him out by his name.
One would think that her time would have expired and that the whore image matched with the angry songstress would not have a place in the modern world: on the contrary. She seems to be a composite of Nancy Spungen, Patti Smith, Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks all rolled into one when compared with the manufactured divas churned out by the music industry. It seems to make her more relevant now than ever, as there doesn’t seem to be any real alternative female rock divas who come with their own set of rules and home-grown attitude. She has a perfect balance of wild innocence and reckless nihilism.
The set closed with the monolithic “Jennifer’s Body”, which inspired an eruption of body movement hysteria in the crowd.
This was really a Hole celebration night so it’s hard to predict how the next phase of her career will pan out, but judging by this she is back and alive for all the right reasons, which so many other recent female artists are not. To lay down odds as to where the road will take her next would be arbitrary to her way of doing things. Simply put, the only way we want her is spunky, raw and unpredictable.