Wednesday, 20 April 2022

curtail call

On this day, Easter Monday, in 1992 Wembley Stadium, broadcast live to an estimated global audience of one billion spectators, hosted a tribute concert to Freddie Mercury (previously), whom had died of AIDS-related complications the previous November with proceeds launching an AIDS charity trust. The first part of the concert featured musicians performing short-sets of songs influenced by Queen and the latter section featured performances with the remaining members of the band, including Elton John on piano for “Bohemian Rhapsody” the iconic duet of Annie Lennox and David Bowie singing “Under Pressure.” The final number, “We are the Champions,” was led by Liza Minnelli and included everyone who had participated in the concert.

Sunday, 10 April 2022

7x7

improper fraction arena: Via friend of the blog Nag on the Lake’s superb Sunday Links and the depths of Wikipedia comes a list of articles submitted and ultimately rejected by dint of insanity  

possible to express in words: a useful term with a surprisingly sparse corpora 

reprise: another look at Davie Bowie’s 1973 The 1980 Floor Show through some raw footage—see previously 

a moveable feast: a look at the mode, median and mean dates for Easter and the method of computus  

a kitty bobo show: Kevin Kaliher’s pilot that went ungreen-lit in favour of Kids Next Door  

micromachines: researchers developing tiny molecular motors that could be deployed en masse to suck carbon from the air, supplement our own organs—via Slashdot  

did you know: from the depths to the Main Page

Saturday, 22 January 2022

i had to phone someone so i picked on you

Announcing his sexuality in an interview with Melody Maker magazine reported Michael Watts, published on this day in 1972, David Bowie’s statement, “I’m gay and always have been,” was not unnoticed but failed to register with more mainstream audiences until his performance of Starman with Mick Ronson on Top of the Pops in July of the same year. The article continues: “He despises all these tribal qualifications. Flower Power he enjoyed, but it’s individuality that he’s really trying to preserve. The paradox is that he still has what he describes as ‘a good relationship’ with his wife. And his baby son, Zowie. He supposes he’s what people call bisexual.”

Friday, 14 January 2022

low

The first of three collaborations known as the Berlin Trilogy with Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti, David Bowie’s eleventh studio album was released by RCA on this day in 1977 and is an exploration of ambient and electronica, influenced by experimental and progressive German bands, like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. A departure from the artist’s usual music-the project started when Bowie and Iggy Pop moved to the French countryside to get away from the temptation of drugs in Los Angeles and sober up and recorded the first tracks at Chรขteau d'Hรฉrouville before relocating to West Berlin-reception was initially divided but the album was a commercial and critical success and is credited with giving rise to the post-punk style with groups like Joy Division, Human League and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark in that musical genre. The lyric “Don't look at the carpet-I drew something awful on it” is in refenence of Bowie’s habit of drawing the Tree of Life diagram on the studio floor during breaks into between sessions, having cultivated an interest in Qabalah and Thelema during that period.

Monday, 10 January 2022

6x6

curiosity cabinet: virtually explore the museum house of Sir John Soane (previously)—via Things Magazine  

glitchy terrain: users and clients report bugs in fly-over features (see previously)—via Super Punch  

debate club: let’s thrash out these ongoing arguments once and for all  

low, heroes, lodger: a look at the Eastern European literature that influenced David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy and beyond  

medico-mechanical gymnastics: the nineteenth century work-out regiment of Gustave Zander—see previously 

 ex libris: a look into some of the great libraries of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Austria

Friday, 17 December 2021

hunky dory

The titular fourth studio album released on this day in 1971 by a twenty-four year old David Bowie was a departure from the guitar-dominant The Man Who Sold the World from a year before with a softer piano composition, backed by Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey on drums—the group that would form the Spiders from Mars within the next year. The track listing from this monumental recording that defined the artist includes “Changes, “Oh—You Pretty Things,” “Life on Mars” and “Andy Warhol.”

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

he’s so simple-minded, can’t drive his module

Released on this day in 1972 as the lead single from Aladdin Sane and recorded with his backing band the Spiders from Mars, David Bowie’s composition was an inspired assortment of supposed American trappings with the song’s protagonist a reference to criminal vagabond and French existential playwright Jean Genet, beginning its development as an improvised jam session on a tour bus between Cleveland and Memphis. The title lyric became the namesake of the 1977 Glasgow band Simple Minds. He bites on the neon and sleeps in the capsule. Loves to be loved.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

7x7

kรกdรกr cube: a practical, mass-produced boxy house (Magyar ร‰pรญtล‘mลฑvรฉszet) from Communist-era Hungary is staging a comeback 

the new english canaan: revisiting the banned publication that mocked American’s puritanical ways—see also  

you’ve got a habit of leaving: the first single from the unreleased David Bowie album, coming in January

merfolk and melusine: tritons and mermaids entertained by enlightened minds 

facebookland: the social media giant ought to be treated like the autocratic rogue state it is—via Waxy 

roll over beethoven: a team of musicologists using artificial intelligence complete the composer’s unfinished tenth symphony—to premier in Bonn next month, via Kottke  

ะณะพัั‚ะธะฝั‹ะน ะดะฒะพั€: a rotating arch for a shopping arcade in St. Petersburg—via Pasa Bon!

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

hey mister dj

Via Waxy, we are directed to this preternatural, surreal algorithm that rather expertly, uncannily will make a mashup of any number of songs from a group-watch streaming service, RaveDJ generating a set-list in the spirit of our friends at Hood Internet are presumably doing the old-fashioned way. It really shows its surprising competency with mixes like Gangnam Style crossed with MC Hammer’s Can’t Touch This or The Eurhythmics’ Sweet Dreams and Seven Nation Army from White Stripes. Browse the submissions or create your own and share. Always of the opinion that lamentful number from My Fair Lady and David Bowie’s song about getting to the church on time flowed into each other and had complementary energy so I gave it a whirl, our disc jockey creating “Why Modern a Love Be More Like a Man” but as the lengths seemed a little incompatible and needs a bit more refinement, please instead for now check out this preview of one of the mashups cited above to see its full virtuosity.

Monday, 23 August 2021

i never did anything out of the blue

Coming in at number one of the UK charts on this day in 1980, David Bowie’s following-up on the narrative for Major Tom, a darker bookmarking of the intervening decade, is described as a nuanced retelling of a nursery rhyme with its attendant cautionary tale. Co-directed by Bowie and David Mallet (also collaborating on “Boys Keep Swinging,” “DJ,” and “Look Back in Anger” and Boomtown Rats’ “I Don’t Like Mondays”), the music video, costing a quarter million pounds to produce, was the most expensive at the time and features the performer dressed as pantomime, commedia dell’arte stock character Pierrot, the sad, introspective clown.

Friday, 20 August 2021

davy jones & the lower third

Released on this day in 1965, singer-songwriter David Bowie was billed for the final time under his birth name with the title band’s single “You’ve Got A Habit of Leaving” to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of the Monkees (previously). The performer adopted the stage name after the romanticised version of nineteenth century American mercenary and pioneer James Bowie, famous for the eponymous style of combat knife.

Friday, 6 August 2021

the nomi song

Born Klaus Sperber in Swรคbish Immenstadt in 1944, aspiring counter tenor who adopted the stage persona Klaus Nomi, worked as an usher in the opera houses of West Berlin, entertaining the crew during set breakdowns with arias and studied music yet was unable to secure a steady position and so switched to the confectionary business which later became somewhat of a trademark. Moving to New York City in 1973, Nomi received more professional training and took various gigs performing and developing his presence. His breakthrough moment came in 1979 when David Bowie engaged Nomi as a background singer during performances on Saturday Night Live as musical guest. Being discovered afforded more venues for his unique shows whose robotic demeanour and elaborate costuming both anticipating and reflected the stage presence of acts like Bowie’s and Peter Gabriel and reinterpreted songs like Marlene Dietrich’s “Falling in Love Again” and Chubby Checker’s “Twist” as well as classical, operatic numbers in an abstract, highly synthesised fashion. The black and white palette complemented by cubist clothes and hair-styles that referenced both the Bauhaus theatre movement, kabuki and the retro-future vision of the 1920s—particularly the film Metropolis. A decade after coming to New York, Nomi was diagnosed with AIDS and though growing sick and weak already embarked on a European tour and the talk show circuit, anticipating it would be his last, Nomi dying of complications of the disease on this day in 1983. One of the first figures from the arts community to publically die from the relatively then unknown illness, Nomi became posthumously the subject of many tributes and homages, acknowledging his stylistic influence.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

you tacky thing, you put them on

Though perhaps too early to be think about one’s Halloween attire or even how Halloween will be observed in the coming three months (or perhaps not), one needs the lead time to get one’s order in for these quite stunning and custom-tailored, highly-specific one-off David Bowie cosplay outfits, via Dangerous Minds, which are of course acceptable for weddings and other special occasions and everyday wear as well. Wanda Cobar’s shop selling celebrity inspired costumes and dancewear also includes various iconic glam get-ups of Elton John and Freddie Mercury.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

we go undercover, wait out the sun

Rare and unseen, we are enjoying this preview of a retrospective exhibit of the portrait photographer Masayoshi Sukita going on display at Tokyo’s Blitz Gallery that includes a collection of previously uncirculated pictures of David Bowie, whom the artist first encountered in 1972 to see what all the fuss was about and remaining friends until the singer’s death in 2016. An iconic image (see also) with significantly more exposure, Sukita took the image that became the cover art for Bowie’s 1977 Heroes album. More at Wallpaper at the link up top.

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

that weren’t no dj—that was hazy cosmic jive

Performing his new single Starman—his first charting hit since Space Oddity in 1969, David Bowie in the persona of Ziggy Stardust and band, the Spiders from Mars composed of Mick Ronson, Mick Woodmansey and Trevor Bolder, appeared on Top of the Pops on this day in 1972. Let all the children boogie.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

8x8

banning: a 1967 forgotten film about a sordid tryst at a country club 

remains of the day: six relics of once ubiquitous fast-food empires  

plain chachalaca: more badly named bird friends—see previously here and here, via Super Punch

awestruck: short, initial pieces optimised for joy and wonder from NPR 

gallery 88: an electronics line for kids from Sony—see also  

dhead xlvi: a David Bowie painting (see previously) saved from a landfill fetches over one hundred thousand CA$  

grand opening: a brief history of the ribbon-cutting ceremony  

britbox: an interactive fiction project for a cult 70s television programme that dabbled in paganism and the paranormal—see also—which never existed

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

call and response

Though most prevalent in contemporary artists as rap battles, diss tracks and as an extension of a feud between performers, via Weird Universe we are referred to the phenomena called answer songs with examples of more direct correspondence—especially in the 1950s and 1960s riding the coattails of more popular songs and sometimes replying with parody—particularly in Country & Western but with significant numbers including the 1938 revision of the Irving Berlin standard “God Bless America” countered with Woody Guthrie’s 1940 anthem “This Land is Your Land,” former bandmates Paul McCartney slight “Too Many People” answered with John Lennon’s “How Do You Sleep?,” Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom [vรถllig losgelรถst]” to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”

Thursday, 30 July 2020

tokyo pop

Outfitter to several iconic and unforgettable acts, furnishing the stagewear for the likes of Elton John and Lady Gaga, the recently departed fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto (*1944, see previously) is probably best known for the lavish outfits that informed David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona and their ongoing wardrobe collaboration which included this flared-leg jumpsuit. Yamamoto’s signature extravagant style was later classified as basara (ใƒใ‚ตใƒฉ) a way to describe something glam and larger-than-life.

Saturday, 13 June 2020

bodice-ripping

In order to keep up with the pace of publication of pulp fiction paperbacks and special interest magazines cover artists and illustrators often turned formulaic, perhaps becoming generic and predictable.
Active from the mid-1950s through the late 1970s and under contract to Man’s Life and True Men Stories, no one embraced and mastered the model and method better than Wilbur (Wil) Hulsey (*1925 – †2015), we learn thanks to Miss Cellania, whose commissions almost invariably consisted of virile man (the gallery’s curator sees a resemblance to David Bowie) defending a distressed damsel (present or implied) from exotic animals, the protagonist himself sustaining bodily damage whilst trying to rebuff the attack. The subgenre of illustrated narrative that Hulsey propagated is sometimes referred to as “Weasels Ripped My Flesh”—though Cannibal Crabs or “Chewed to Bits by Giant Turtles” would do as well, albeit that none other are Frank Zappa song titles.  See more cover art at the links above.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

the elevator’s broke so he slides down a rope

Among other events of pith and moment that shares this anniversary, our faithful chronicler, Doctor Caligari’s Cabinet, records that on this day in 1974, David Bowie released his eighth studio album, Diamond Dogs, presaged by the single Rebel, Rebel, introducing his next glam persona after retiring Ziggy Stardust and donning the character of Halloween Jack (a real cool cat) who lives in post-apocalyptic, dystopian (Big Brother seguing into the final track, Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family) Hunger City.