Monday, 11 January 2016

stardust or tvc15

I am no good eulogist, and sometimes it seems that if I were that’s all any of us would be doing. It’s an unenviable job—I’m sure, to be an obituary writer and I understand that these editors face a sorry annual chore of updating epitaphs on a regular basis, so as to break the news gently and with due celebration. Chief among what David Bowie gave to his audience was that it was OK to be an oddity. Full-stop. There was no moralising or apologies—just curiosity, I think, that manifested itself in realising the revolutionary. That sort of cultural prescience, which a lot of the present class of moguls owe a debt, is reflected in a little (seemingly) footnote of praise picked up in this Guardian article about
Reflecting on his 1998 debut of an internet service provider, after having been the first big recording artist to release a single available on the internet already two years earlier, Bowie said that if he were nineteen again, that time around he’d bypass music and go straight for the online venues. Promising an uncensored web experience, offered all sorts of firsts that are really taken for granted presently, like internet simulcasts and one’s own email address, paralleling a few other pioneers but back then I don’t image that most businesses, let alone celebrities, had even an inkling of its potential. We would not have that collective literacy or dexterity had David Bowie not launched this venture. Secondly, and no one cares much for the hyperbolic litigiousness that characterises intellect-property these days, but I believe that Bowie’s joint suit with Queen over the riff from Under Pressure against the performer of Ice-Ice Baby (given that Bowie’s latest album is interpreted as an allegory about al-Sham, I won’t refer to them as the Cosplay Caliphate, but henceforth as Vanilla ISIS, as that was rather an insult to historical caliphate—as much as ISIS is an insult to faith—which were typified by tolerance and religious harmony) was also informed and culturally formative, not exactly codifying the rules of sampling but not letting derivative artists off without proper homage. As much as we could recite that one song word for word played at the roller-rink, I think we’re astute connoisseurs and acutely aware of later lifted compositions. The music and the personality live on and will inspire generations to come, and we can take solace in that.