Simon Critchley’s Bowie is not a biography. It is not a memoir (“The unity of one’s life consists in the coherence of the story one can tell about oneself…It’s the lie that stands behind the idea of the memoir” (15)). No, Bowie is a book about Simon Critchley via Bowie’s music and personae; Bowie is a book about David Bowie and his music via Simon Critchley’s child- and adulthood minds (and hearts). Yes, plural. For identity, as Critchley writes, is not some “grand narrative unity.” Rather, paraphrasing Hume, it ”is made up of disconnected bundles of perceptions that lie around like so much dirty laundry in the rooms of our memory” (16). I am thrilled Critchley decided to pick up some of his own and move it around, re-curate (recreate) the amassed piles, and allow us to walk through those pungent rooms with him.

This personal and philosophical journey through the albums and songs of Bowie begins with a 12-year-old boy in suburban England. The boy is bored. Bored. Bored. A bored virgin awaiting some news that life is not this.

The that he’d been waiting for came through the television in 1972, a message of both sound and vision in the form of Bowie’s performance of “Starman.” Bowie had fallen into young Simon’s world—just the alien Simon needed—prompting an awakening: sexual, cultural, social, and political.

Read the full review at Nomadic Sojourns Creative Collective.

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