David Bowie always does whatever he wants to do.
Regardless of who gets hurt or insulted along the way. He's in some ways otherworldly. Like any good rock star, Bowie has had his share of women, men, drink and drugs. As well as dabbles in the occult, fascism, mime, fine art plus insane emotional and physical starvation.
He can be a kind, and thoughtful man.
Yet can also be a paranoid, manipulative, egotistical bastard. Much of the later portion of the book focuses on Bowie's transition from creative, ground-breaking superstar in the 70's. To sell out, corporate baron in the later 90's. Buckley discusses the "Bowie Bonds" scheme at length (where Bowie sold financial bonds on the open market based on the value of future royalties from his vast catalog) towards the end of the book.
As much as I enjoyed David Buckley's book.
I wasn't so sure I liked his style of writing. It did not charm and enthrall me in the way that say. Jimmy McDonough did with his 1994 Neil Young biography "Shakey. " The story in "Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story" was great, yet there was something about the telling of it that seemed.
Perhaps it was a bit too heady for me at times. Lots of facts, yet not enough heart. I was particularly bothered by Buckley's overuse of the word "sartorial" when describing things about or connected to Bowie.
Yes, I've heard of the word before.
Yet it's just not a word or a term used very often. It felt as if Buckley knew this, yet wanted to flaunt his own elegance or intelligence by constantly using the word. To the point that it had no meaning. The portrait Buckley paints of Bowie is of a brilliant, extremely complicated, and highly unpredictable man. Filled with a strong sense of alienation, and general cold detachment from the world at large.
Bowie is the ultimate ADD artist.
Constantly living his life in movements. As a young man, he was bold and confident. And could do no wrong, even when he WAS wrong. Blessed with a pitch perfect voice, and gift for wordplay. Bowie grew up as David Jones in a modest household in the United Kingdom. His hero has a young man was his older half-brother Terry.
It was Terry who opened up the young David Jones' eyes and ears to the world of music. Sharing his music, and taking young David to concerts (such as Cream in 1966, when David was 19). Unfortunately Terry descended into madness, due to acute schizophrenia, around this time.
Bowie was haunted by the memory of his half-brother for years to come.
And spent much of his life wondering if he too would descend into madness. Starting his professional career as a teenager, it took many years before Bowie broke through to a mainstream audience. Yet even then, he was always on the outside. Always one step ahead of his fans. More David Buckley covers all of David Bowie's complicated life and career. From the earliest singles in the 60's. To his peak period in the 1970's. To his dreadful albums in the mid 80s, and his creative comeback in the 1990's. Buckley does a great job chronicling Bowie's growth and development. As well as his many changes over the years. We get to read all about the making of such classic albums as "Hunky Dory', "The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars", "Aladin Sane", "D David Buckley covers all of David Bowie's complicated life and career. From the earliest singles in the 60's. To his peak period in the 1970's. To his dreadful albums in the mid 80s, and his creative comeback in the 1990's. Buckley does a great job chronicling Bowie's growth and development. As well as his many changes over the years.
We get to read all about the making of such classic albums as "Hunky Dory', "The Rise And Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars", "Aladin Sane", "Diamond Dogs", "Scary Monsters," "Let's Dance" and many more.
David Buckley had access to an incredible amount of research.
Including extensive interviews with most of the major players in David Bowie's illustrious career.
Veteran producer and friend Tony Visconti, long-time guitarist Carlos Alomar, veteran keyboardist Mike Garson, ex-manager Ken Pitt, veteran producer Ken Scott, legendary lead guitarist Earl Slick, former lead guitarist Adrien Belew, 90's musical collaborator / lead guitarist Reeves Gabrels and many more. I do admire "Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story" though, and am very glad that I read it. At least David Buckley was willing to admit that he (or shall I say. We?) will never really know the real, true David Bowie.
His public life and work is filled with thousands of grand performances.
Concerts, interviews, records, CDs, videos, theater, etc.
Yet the core of who David Bowie really is? It's unlikely we'll ever know. No matter, David Bowie is, and will always remain to be a fascinating subject to read, watch, listen, and learn from. And I am glad that a book like "Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story" at least attempts to come to terms with it all. For the most part, I really enjoyed "Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story. " David Buckley certainly knows his stuff. And his wealth of resources was definitely impressive.
His approach to Bowie comes from a strictly British point of view, which has its strengths and weaknesses. On a positive note, Buckley has a profound understanding of where David Bowie comes from. The people, the influences, places and things.
He approaches Bowie not as foreign entity, but as one of his own. Bowie's impact in Great Britain was always bigger than anything over here in the United States. Yet in the UK, it was David Bowie. So to, an American writer probably would not have the same connection to Bowie than a Brit like David Buckley has.
I did feel at times left out of the party. Some of Buckley's references to people and places in British culture went right over my head. Too often in the book, he refers to popular contemporary UK artists that I know very little about, or have never heard of. I wish he considered writing for a more.