Latest News: Posts Tagged ‘Bowie’

“Dreaming of Bowie” — BOWIE by Simon Critchley featured in Atwood Magazine

Friday, March 5th, 2021

“David Bowie’s career spanned more than fifty years in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and his impact on music and culture is indelible and poignantly unparalleled. Bowie continually created new and liberating ideas on the self in moving away from common perceptions of how life was constructed to be lived in society, while empowering the force and vivacity of the imagination as to how one could exist in the world.”

Read the article here.

“What Would David Bowie Do?” — BOWIE author Simon Critchley writes for the New York Times

Monday, January 11th, 2021

Five years after his death, the dystopian world that his music describes seems closer than ever. But maybe he can show us a way out of it.

Read the article here.

“In Bowie I hear a voice crying in the wilderness.” SIMON CRITCHLEY interviewed by Guernica

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

In Bowie I hear a voice crying in the wilderness. Really. He is this plaintive voice which feels radically alone, commanded by a black star. That’s what’s coming for all of us, and that’s the sign that hovers over all of Bowie’s work. It’s only when that black sun of melancholy and depression is exerting its force most strongly that the counter movement could be felt. That is the apparent paradox of his work.

To read the rest of the review, visit Guernica.

A ” remarkable, slim tribute volume to Bowie” Vanity Fair praises BOWIE

Friday, January 15th, 2016

To read the full article, visit Vanity Fair.

On ARTINFO, SIMON CRITCHLEY explains how we might understand Bowie’s body of work

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

I want to say something contradictory here. On the one hand Bowie has to be understood in a tradition of musical theater, which I think is Brechtian, and has to be understood in a tradition of contemporary art. I think Bowie should be spoken of in the same breath as Marcel Duchamp. And he worked in all these different media, and his influence is incalculable across all these domains. All of this is true. But if all of that existed, if all of that artifice existed without the songs, we wouldn’t be talking about him now. He was good at all these different things, but he was really, really good at making songs. And it’s those songs that stand up, and they form a coherent body of work for a number of reasons. But maybe it’s just because they’re really good [laughs]. They’re able to register with people in this incredibly powerful way. His fate was to be a pop star because that was the medium in which he could work in that particular historical period. If he was around now who knows what he might be.

To read the rest of the article, visit ARTINFO.

SIMON CRITCHLEY explains David Bowie’s politics on Politico

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

You can’t really identify Bowie with an obvious, normal political position—he didn’t support the Conservative Party or Labour Party as far as I am aware, but I think the way he saw it was that there was something about art, and particularly pop music, that had insurrectionary quality and could question and bring down authority. For him, music was a political tool or could be used as a political tool to question forms of political and theological authority.

To read the rest of the article, visit Politico.

SIMON CRITCHLEY joins Ben Ratliff on the New York Times Popcast to remember Bowie

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

To listen to the segment, visit The New York Times.

“Concealed in Bowie’s often dystopian words is an appeal to utopia” SIMON CRITCHLEY highlights the life-affirming message at the core of Bowie’s work on the New York Times

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

Concealed in Bowie’s often dystopian words is an appeal to utopia, to the possible transformation not just of who we are, but of where we are. Bowie, for me, belongs to the best of a utopian aesthetic tradition that longs for a “yes” within the cramped, petty relentless “no” of Englishness. What his music yearned for and allowed us to imagine were new forms of being together, new intensities of desire and love in keener visions and sharper sounds.

To read the rest of the article, visit The New York Times.

SIMON CRITCHLEY discusses BOWIE on SiriusXM’s “Sit Down”

Monday, January 11th, 2016

SiriusXM subscribers can listen to the full segment through SiriusXM On Demand.

“Art’s filthy lesson is inauthenticity all the way down” Read an excerpt of SIMON CRITCHLEY‘s BOWIE on The New Republic

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Art’s filthy lesson is inauthenticity all the way down, a series of repetitions and reenactments: fakes that strip away the illusion of reality in which we live and confront us with the reality of illusion. Bowie’s world is like a dystopian version of The Truman Show, the sick place of the world that is forcefully expressed in the ruined, violent cityscapes of “Aladdin Sane” and “Diamond Dogs” and, more subtly, in the desolate soundscapes of “Warszawa” and “Neuköln.” To borrow Iggy Pop’s idiom from Lust for Life (itself borrowed from Antonioni’s 1975 movie, although Bowie might well be its implicit referent), Bowie is the passenger who rides through the city’s ripped backside, under a bright and hollow sky.

To read the rest of the excerpt, visit The New Republic.

Last Word praises BOWIE

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

This book isn’t a roadmap, its a window… one I am quite glad to have gotten to peer into.

To read the rest of the review, visit Last Word

SIMON CRITCHLEY discusses BOWIE on Beginnings

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Listen to the podcast on Beginnings

BOWIE reviewed in the Irish Times

Monday, October 20th, 2014

As you may gather, Bowie is not a bricks-and-mortar biographical study. Rather, it is a philosophical tract, and as such is sure to irritate the librarians and list-makers of music fandom.

If you’re the kind of reader who tears his hair out over the digressions and dissertations of Paul Morley or Simon Reynolds, you should avoid it like the plague. But it is, to these eyes, a valuable little book, sizzling with original perceptions conveyed in clear, accessible language, unencumbered by university jargon.

“Bowie’s music is about yearning,” Critchley concludes. “Ultimately, this is a yearning for love. His yearning touches something in ours, unlocking a bittersweet memory, for example the deliciously painful longing of exile.”

In other words, even aliens get the blues.

To read the full review, visit the Irish Times

BOWIE excerpted in The Quietus

Monday, October 6th, 2014

My aim in Bowie is very simple: to try and find concepts that do justice to Bowie’s art in ways that are neither music journalism, dime store psychology, biography or crappy social history. I still don’t think we have a language that gives the huge importance of pop culture its due, that describes and dignifies it in the right way. For me, and for many many millions of others, the world first opened as a set of possibilities through pop music, especially Bowie’s music. Bowie is the most important artist tout court of the past six decades and someone just needs to say that and try and explain how his songs justify that claim. That’s what I am trying to do in the book.

Read Simon’s full introduction and the excerpt from his book on The Quietus


Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

BOWIE reviewed by In These Times

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Embracing that “reality of illusion” allows us to find freedom and pleasure in trying on different identities and casting them off when they no longer fit. “Just as Bowie seemingly reinvented himself without limits,” Critchley writes, “he allowed us to believe that our own capacity for changes was limitless.”

Arguably, this capacity for change goes beyond just the individual, though reading Bowie’s lyrics for an explicit political message is likely to frustrate the literal-minded leftist. The artist has long favored the poetic over the polemic, and Critchley is right in observing that Bowie’s lyrics are “at their strongest when they are most oblique.” In “Life on Mars?”, a haunting track from the 1971 record Hunky Dory, Bowie sings, “It’s on America’s tortured brow/That Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow/Now the workers have struck for fame/’Cause Lennon’s on sale again.” We might read this as a commentary on fame or a critique of American consumerism or, if so inclined, evidence of Bowie’s hidden labor politics. What we can’t do is say for sure what it means, yet its collection of arresting imagery hints at something big beneath the surface.

In Bowie, Critchley, similarly, is less interested in making an explicit argument than in writing something beautiful. And yet Critchley’s reading of Bowie’s work does argue for finding radicalism there. “Just for an instant, for the duration of a song, a seemingly silly, simple, puerile pop song, we can decreate all that is creaturely (or Critchley) about us,” Critchley writes, “and imagine some other way of existing, something utopian.”

Read the full review on In These Times

SIMON CRITCHLEY discusses BOWIE on Interview

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

DIERBECK: The book talks about narrative unity. Can you explain?

CRITCHLEY: There’s this view that the unity of your life is the unity of the story you tell about your life. The President of the United States, Barack Obama, is the narrative arc he constructed in his book. And I think that’s bullshit. There are no narrative arcs. Human beings can tell those stories, but they’re not true. Identity is more of a series of blips. Bowie’s songwriting technique was like those episodic blips. A big axe grinding in the book is against the idea of narrative unity, and against the idea of authenticity. We had an idea of music, particularly in the U.S., as having an authentic quality—coming out of an experience of struggle or suffering, of historical oppression, or of musical ability. You get a cabin, you go live for four years in upstate Wisconsin, and come back with a 40-minute album. And everyone goes, “Wow, it feels really real.” Again, that’s all a horrendous lie. It’s not that some music is inauthentic. It’s the Warholian aesthetic: “Andy Warhol, silver screen. Can’t tell them apart at all.” Warhol said: “Before I was shot, I suspected life was like television. After I was shot, I was certain.” We’re living in illusions. Images. Ever inauthentic circles. That’s where culture happens. It doesn’t mean it’s not true, or that it’s irrelevant. On the contrary. To try to cut the cord between inauthenticity and truth is impossible. Bowie is the pop star who mobilizes illusions. It’s all he’s ever done. I suppose it becomes the model for all pop culture.

Read the full conversation on Interview

BOWIE excerpted in Vice

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

The episodes that give my life some structure are surprisingly often provided by David Bowie’s words and music. He ties my life together like no one else I know. Sure, there are other memories and other stories that one might tell, and in my case this is complicated by the amnesia that followed a serious industrial accident when I was 18 years old. I forgot a lot after my hand got stuck in a machine. But Bowie has been my sound track. My constant, clandestine companion. In good times and bad. Mine and his.

What’s striking is that I don’t think I am alone in this view. There is a world of people for whom Bowie was the being who permitted a powerful emotional connection and freed them to become some other kind of self, something freer, more queer, more honest, more open and more exciting. Looking back, Bowie has become a kind of touchstone for that past, its glories and its glorious failures, but also for some kind of constancy in the present and for the possibility of a future, even the demand for a better future.

I don’t mean this to sound hubristic. Look, I’ve never met the guy – Bowie, I mean – and I doubt I ever will (and, to be honest, I don’t really want to. I’d be terrified. What would I say? Thank you for the music? That’s so ABBA). But I feel an extraordinary intimacy with Bowie, although I know this is a total fantasy. I also know that this is a shared fantasy, common to huge numbers of loyal fans for whom Bowie is not some rock star or a series of flat media clichés about bisexuality and bars in Berlin. He is someone who has made life a little less ordinary for an awfully long time.

Read the full excerpt on Vice

SIMON CRITCHLEY discusses BOWIE on Soundcheck

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Visit WNYC for the full program.

SIMON CRITCHLEY interviewed by Rick Moody in Salon

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

In our ends are our beginnings. Or vice versa. Or both at once. Begending. But I think of you in your story of the London fog in 1979, traveling on the underground and seeing those twisted accident pictures from the cover of Bowie’s album. And I think of myself back then, aged 19, covered with acne, trying to find something from “Lodger” that it just wouldn’t give me at the time. Funny, it took 35 years to speak to me finally, like a radio ghost from the past demanding a blood sacrifice. But it was worth the wait.

Read the full interview on Salon

BOWIE reviewed by The Independent

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

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

BOWIE reviewed in Full Stop

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

For teenagers the world over who felt somehow unfinished, discovering Bowie was the key. For this supposed adult who feels somehow still unfinished, there’s work to be done on my own. “Just as Bowie seemingly reinvented himself without limits,” Critchley says, “he allowed us to believe that our own capacity for changes was limitless.” Each one of us smiling and scowling and smirking dodecahedrons, from Mars or Potsdamer Platz. This soft spot is still here, and I myself am not much for sewing.

Read the full review on Full Stop

BOWIE is reviewed in The Rumpus

Monday, September 15th, 2014

In Bowie, Critchley does for the artist what Bowie does for the realities of modern life: he observes closely and with sensitivity, revealing the omnipresent underlying tension in the material at hand, the light in the darkness and the darkness in the light. “There is no final reconciliation and no final peace,” Critchley writes about life, though he could also be describing Bowie’s best work.

Read the full review at The Rumpus.

SIMON CRITCHLEY discusses BOWIE on Radiolab

Friday, September 12th, 2014

Listen to the episode at Radiolab.

The Prague Post reviews BOWIE by SIMON CRITCHLEY

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Critchley’s little biography (a mere 185 pages) of the pop iconoclast is brilliant in its analysis and utterly engaging in its personal intersections with the singer’s lyrics, art and philosophy over a period roughly half a century long. Like many of Dylan’s fans, Critchley has been on the Bowie train through the many hills and valleys of Bowie’s long dazed journey into night, and into its many dawns.

For those of a certain age (and I count myself one), whose lifespans have encompassed all the traumas, turmoils and ch-ch-changes of the last 50 years, beginning with the Kennedy assassination and leading, in seemingly ever rapid succession, to a world conditioned by the Internet of Things and the quest for the Singularity, the shedding of all the emperor’s old clothes that leaves us with our chilling naked data bits exposed, David Bowie is an ideal avatar to reflect that cumulative zeitgeist.

And though Critchley certainly has the credentials and tools to have put Bowie under an academic microscope, with all manner of technical textual analysis, he wisely chooses to keep it personal, becoming in the process his own operant under scrutiny, vis-à-vis the Bowie influence.

Read the full review at the Prague Post.

BOWIE by SIMON CRITCHLEY is reviewed by Nomadic Sojourns

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

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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