Critchley writes as a philosopher – and a sometimes disenchanted fan. Like him, I first saw Bowie live at Milton Keynes in 1983, the year of Let’s Dance and Serious Moonlight. And like him, “I felt absolutely flat throughout”. It hasn’t always been easy being a Bowie fan, but Critchley makes a strong argument for keeping the faith. His slim book is divided into themes, with chapter titles which sometimes share his subject’s weakness for puns. In “The Art’s Filthy Lesson” Critchley ponders Bowie’s love of irony and the inauthentic.

So far, so familiar. More interesting is the chapter entitled “Yearning”, in which he tackles the popular view that Bowie is an iceman, incapable of deep feeling. On the contrary, Critchley argues, much of Bowie’s output has been about the search for emotional fulfilment, from Station to Station to “Absolute Beginners”. There’s even a desperate cry for companionship in the supposedly cold electronica of a song like “Be My Wife”, produced during Bowie’s time in Berlin.

Read the full review on The Independent

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