Posts from 28th July 2000

28
Jul 00

David Bowie – five more cheap shots

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DAVID BOWIE Five More Cheap Shots

1: Do you remember, your President Nixon? Come on, its 1974 Dave, you would have to have a pretty poor memory to have forgotten about Nixon. You can understand people forgetting about Dre, hes just a producer after all. But Nixon, he was the leader of the western world.
2: The world didnt end in 1977, did it. Asserting that it would on Five Years on TFAROZSATSFM (what a handy acronym that is) was frankly scaremongering tactics which would have caused panic in the streets had you been a slightly more respectable artist and not prone to the heavy eyeshadow.
3: I despise people who pretend to be John Lennon, by working with Paul McCartney. But Bowie is the only guy who had a hankering after being Paul even down to the left handed guitar playing of Ziggy Stardust (doesnt really matter what hand he uses, Bowie admits hes a lousy guitarist). Nobody else worked with Lennon to produce excrement like Fame except maybe Yoko.
4: Bowie produced Lou Reeds Transformer. Notable for its ability to transform the toss Ludovic was doing with the Velvet Underground into an even more excruciating solo career. Also notable for the massive stiffy Lou has on the back cover.
5: Ziggy Stardust again: He was the Nazz, With God given ass. Fair enough, he had a nice arse. But whats with this Nazz nonsense? Such a word does not exist. Ive tried many a dictionary to plumb its meaning and the nearest I got was Nazi. But hey, Dave wasnt a faux fascist until at least 75.

DAVID BOWIE And The Smartest Girl He Ever Went Out With

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DAVID BOWIE And The Smartest Girl He Ever Went Out With

And when I get excited, my little China Girl says:
Oh baby, just you shut your mouth

I’m with the young lady from Shanghai here. But don’t just restrict it to when you’re excited eh?

DAVID BOWIE – Errata

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DAVID BOWIE – Errata

I’m sorry, I have to admit a mistake.

The title of David Bowie’s 1995 opus was not 1. Outside. No no no. It was 1. Outside: The Nathan Adler Diaries. A Hyper Cycle.

Let’s repeat that. Just in case you missed it.

1. Outside: The Nathan Adler Diaries. A Hyper Cycle.

My apologies to Bowie and his fans. Bowie’s apologies to overworked side-repairing surgeons the planet over.

DAVID BOWIE : Two Armed One Armed Bandit

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When Davy Jones was in his Brixton school playground and his best mate (mark that – his best mate) whupped him a good-un upside the head, his eyes span round like fruit machine wheels, finally settling on the blue and brown we know and love. If only his best mate had whacked him a few more times, maybe hoping to get a jackpot pay-out of a pair of cherries, we may have been spared the pair of lemons we actually got. The pair of Tin Machine albums.

Taking the piss out Tin Machine is thoroughly redundant, since even Bowie does it. Indeed the smugness engendered by the world and his wife when they note that they were not fooled by Tin Machine masks the publics generally folly. You see the very thing Tin Machine was trying to be (ie late eighties Genesis) your man in the street lapped up in droves. No there is something almost quaint about the underachievement of Bowie’s first band. Sure it was noisy, squally nonsense played by old blokes in bad suits, but this was the eighties and it was probably worth a try. Anyway, the name lends itself to Din Machine far too easily to have ever been a serious venture.

No, tis to Bowie post Tin Machine we look to if we want to see the proper definition of a pop chameleon. Your lizard chameleon of course is well known for being able to change colour to blend into the background. As long as those colours range from green to yellow. Similarly, Bowie in the nineties has been able to blend seamlessly into any musical trend: from the green of rock to the yellow of industrial. Let’s look at those nineties albums in full:

Black Tie White Noise
Bowie said: The closest I’ve come to summing up my whole sound whilst being informed by house and dance music.
It actually was: A selection of songs with bad production values set to cheesy dance beats which oddly managed to sound a bit like Nine Inch Nails.
The critics said: A partial return to form.
The Public: Didn’t buy it.

1: Outside
Bowie said: A multi-charactered concept album about art, murder and technology.
It actually was: A dull album featuring some funny bits where Bowie pretends to be an old fella (he is) and a 14 girl over a backing that sounds a bit like Nine Inch Nails.
The critics said: A partial return to form
The Public: Didn’t buy it.

Earthling:
Bowie said: My pre-millennial stab at understanding modern England – from pastorialism to Drum’n’Bass.
It actually was: Bog standard Bowie filler material with skittish jungle beats which sounded a bit like Nine Inch Nails.
The critics said: A partial return to form
The public: Didn’t buy it.

Hours…
Bowie said: An honest self-reflective look back on my career set to serene trip-hop beats.
It actually was: An embarressing attempt to get autobiographical over ambient yawn-hop which still manages to sound a bit like Nine Inch Nails.
The critics said: A partial return to form
The public: Didn’t buy it.

So in summation: Bowie wasn’t hit hard enough when he was a kid, and his next work will most probably be his take on UK Garage which the critics will call a partial return to form. I for one am looking forward to a UK Garage album that sounds a bit like Nine Inch Nails.

DAVID BOWIE – Five Easy Pisstakes

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DAVID BOWIE – Five Easy Pisstakes

1. ‘Kooks’, his touching tribute to his infant son. “Will you stay in our lover’s story?” “No, Papa, I will not, for you have given me the stupidest name on Earth, you bastard.”
2. Giving a fascist salute at Victoria Station. Quite apart from the fact that it’s a fucking stupid thing to do, in a fascist state Bowie would not have become a decadent uberleader, oh no, he’d have been persecuted to hell and back for all sorts of righteous reasons, e.g. having a wonky eye.
3. Was there really no better rhyme for “Major Tom’s a junkie” than “funk to funky”?
4. ‘Memory of a Free Festival’ – Jumping Christ, have you heard it? It takes a lot for a song to be improved upon by the ministrations of Dario G, but this surely manages it. Even the Monsoon Bassoon would blush. “The Sun Machine is coming down and we’re gonna have a party, who ho ho”. What’s that David, I didn’t quite catch that, you’d better repeat it a million times. No bloody wonder the festival was free if this was on the bill.
5. Pin-Ups – it was the FIRST EVER COVERS ALBUM, smarm the Bowiephiles. Yes, and what a grand tradition that sparked off, eh? Lots of over-indulged rock stars doing bad songs worse to wriggle out of a contract, oh joy. Frankly if Daz did kick the trend off he should be up in chains at The Hague a.s.a.p.

DAVID BOWIE asks ‘Is There Life On Mars?’

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DAVID BOWIE asks ‘Is There Life On Mars?’

Tanya answers: No. Most scientific studies have shown that Mars is wholly inhospitable to life having bitterly cold nights, and a wafer thin atmosphere, not to mention a paucity of water. Whilst there might be a very small chance of single celled organisms surviving at the polar caps, all evidence so far has suggested that this is not the case, and only the romantic or foolish would suggest otherwise over such massive odds.

Tanya asks: What exactly did you mean when you said Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow?

David Bowie does not answer. He merely walks away sheepishly. Look at that caveman go.

DAVID BOWIE: Low – Blank

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Possibly a 1977 version of Blankety Blank had this question set as its Supermatch Game. Low- Blank. It would be a bit unfair though because if you are referring to the Bowie album of said name, so many words could have filled the blank. Low Quality for 50 blanks. Low Point Of Bowie’s Career for 100 blanks. Low threshold of boredom made me turn it off and fling it disgusted into the street – your winner at 150 blanks. After all Low is merely a Brian Eno wankfest coupled with a few off-cuts from Diamond Dogs.

Don’t you wonder sometimes, about sound and vision? Well, yes and no Dave. I wonder why the song is a five minute long intro of course, as if to say that you could not really think of any more tunes, chord progressions or lyrics beyond telling us the colour of your room. Hmm, Electric Blue, still at least it wasn’t his own Bowie designed wallpaper. (Bowie, being a polymath likes to dabble in wallpaper design, dotcom millionairing and laying paving slabs for Lambeth Council – so I hear). If you’re always crashing in the same car, I would suggest with your millions you should perhaps get another car. Probably a chauffeur as well just to be on the safe side.

Its side two though, where Eno takes over, and we have nonsense chanting that makes Low the Bowie album even Bowie fans don’t ever listen to (yet say is his best). Its akin to Britney Spears getting Mr Oizo to record the last six tracks of Oops – I Did It Again. I understand that Dave was coked up to his eyeballs at the time with Iggy Pop, but he could have at least got Manfred Mann’s Earth Band to record these tracks. Eno is to music what Eno is to hair. Lacking substance. Sure Bowie did some chanting, but you don’t buy a Bowie record to hear him going ‘Om’ over a Fairlight. Quite what your motivations might be are not quite clear, but I’m pretty sure the ‘Omm-ing’ rates pretty low on the scale.

Low is called Low because Dave Bowie was feeling Low when he made it. Not surprising really. Still, I recommend seeing a shrink in future.

DAVID BOWIE – Mr Mime Strikes Back

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DAVID BOWIE – Mr Mime Strikes Back

This may seem a funny thing for me to say, but there’s too much hate in the world. Prejudice, for example, disgusts me. Racial prejudice, prejudice against women, against the disabled, against mimes…..hmmm.. No, on reflection, prejudice against Mimes is great. Interesting how the ‘inside a box’ mime (paid tribute to by Alice In Chains’ “Man In The Box”, a horrible dirge precisely as pleasing as watching a mime do his mumming thang) includes calm hand-on-wall action and does not include the screaming, panic, desperate hammering, scraping of fingers to the bone and final choking agonising death that would ensue if you were actually to seal a mime in a box. Not that I’m suggesting you do. Obviously.

Anyway, another entirely reasonable prejudice is that against David Bowie. He is richer than you and everyone you know put together, and he has got that way by acting the arse for thirty-five long years. Though very few of his later foolery beats his winsome 1967 performance piece, “The Mime”, a story about a young man who starts to mime with the aid of a magic mask, but he misuses its powers and GETS THE SHIT BEATEN OUT OF HIM…OK, no, I’m sorry, his face becomes the mask forever or something equally cod-symbolic. I would check but I’d rather pluck out my eyes and fry them in a big pan than see it again. In more enlightened times one dredging of this performance from the video vault and Bowie’s career would have been firmly in the stocks, but alas this was the late 60s, and in a pre-videogames age miming was seen as a regrettable but acceptable use of a young man’s time.

So, to recap. Miming = hateful. Bowie = hateful. Miming plus Bowie? You do the sums.

DAVID BOWIE – Waste Of Space Oddity

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A concept single whose concept pretty much traded on being the aural equivalent of one of the longest, most tedious films ever set to celluloid. Space Oddity – Space Odyssey – do you get it? Granted the song is shorter than the film, but runs a close second to The Ra Band’s “Clouds Across The Moon” for the most woeful science fiction song ever. Science Fiction is in itself a genre riddled with cliche much like rock so when the two come together you get a synergy of badness that nearly always engenders a one hit wonder. Pity that was not the case with ver Oddity.

Bowie, having been in the game already for five years with no success (Mannish Boys anyone?) threw all but the kitchen sink into this one. Cod countdowns, acoustic guitar and silly voices which must have been the inspiration for kids TV space programs like Button Moon (they even used a tin can for their rocket). But Bowie did get to the heart of the loneliness of being an astronaut – something that your average punter in 1969 could connect with. Notwithstanding the fact that all the Apollo missions at the time always sent up three people at a time. Oh, didn’t I mention that it coincided nicely with men landing on the moon? What a coincidence eh, imagine the chances of that happening, a song about space at the same time as the moon missions and a major science fiction film.Frankly the fact that it only made it to number five should be proof enough of its lack of quality.

Yes Planet Earth is predominantly blue, but not completely. No, there is something you could do, you could have not bothered making the song and gone and worked down the chipper where your bisexuality would have gone down nicely with some Haddock. Space Oddity – A melting pot of futurism and folksie whimsy in the troubadouric tradition or the late sixties version of Star Trekkin’? You choose (I’ll give you a hint – it’s the second one).

IHM LYRIC WATCH 2: Jeru The Damaja

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IHM LYRIC WATCH 2

“I put MCs on the ceiling like Michelangelo did the Sixteenth Chapel” – Jeru The Damaja, “Black Cowboys”

What about the other fifteen chapels, eh Jeru? Not to mention that, well, there aren’t any MCs on the Sistine Chapel. I’ve looked. God, yes. Man, check. Loads of cherubs – well, no problem with that. MCs……no. Unless Faithless were wrong and God is an MC, though given that this would put the Creator on the level of Normski I have to say I doubt it.

(Contributions for IHM Lyric Watch gratefully received.)