Eternal Bowie

Thomas Jones · Bowie

Halfway through his final performance as Ziggy Stardust, at the Hammersmith Odeon in July 1973, David Bowie sang 'My Death', his version of 'La Mort' by Jacques Brel. It's a faintly ridiculous song, rich with pompous melancholy, but he carries it off wonderfully. 'Whatever lies behind the door/there is nothing much to do/angel or devil, I don't care/for in front of that door/there is you.' The last time through the chorus – in D.A. Pennebaker's film of the concert you can see a tear, or a drop of sweat, glisten in the corner of Bowie's eye – he pauses before the last word, and voices from the audience call out, as they may have done before, and would do again: 'Me! Me!' Whether he was expecting the response or not, his gaze flickers across his fans, as if picking them out one by one, and his ghostly face breaks into an unforced smile of pleasure and surprise. 'Thank you,' he says.


  • 11 January 2016 at 1:10pm
    Simon Wood says:
    I think it was Lemmy from Motörhead who said:

    If you like to gamble,
    I tell you I'm your man.
    You win some, lose some,
    It's all the same to me.

    The pleasure is to play,
    It makes no difference what you say,
    I don't share your greed -
    The only card I need is the Ace of Spades.

  • 12 January 2016 at 12:28am
    mwest says:
    Haiku for David Bowie:

    from this room to that

    one ahead, sing to us of

    bandages that see

    • 21 January 2016 at 7:58am
      Blackorpheus7 says: @ mwest
      Closer to senryu than haiku, and not good in either instance.

  • 12 January 2016 at 12:10pm
    blue heron says:
    The truly global outpouring of appreciation for David Bowie over the past 24 hours is a reminder of how much music and musicians remain such potent forces in our lives, often cutting across our station in life, where we live, what we do for a living, our politics, etc. Your wonderful review of Bowie from 2012 and the observation above helps us to understand why he held such a special place. Thank you.

  • 16 January 2016 at 5:05pm
    mwest says:
    from this room to that

    one ahead, two buttons sing

    and bandages see

  • 20 January 2016 at 3:43pm
    DCDub says:
    This was precisely the video I went and watched when I heard the news of his passing. It had such an effect on me as a younger person. Myself and my siblings watched the VHS tape of that concert until it wore out.

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