living through bowie

Mark Dery at The Brooklyn Rail:

David Bowie, 1973. Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita. Copyright Sukita/The David Bowie Archive

Bowiephilia is the bedroom religion of the too-smart, sensitive loner alone at home while everyone else is at the prom—an alienated adolescent’s dream of an aesthetic rapture, out of the soul-killing suburbs (like Bromley, where Bowie lived and languished as a teen), into a world where weirdos are exalted, not stuffed into gym lockers while the jocks guffaw. Unsurprisingly, Bowie was that kid. “I felt often, ever since I was a teenager, so adrift and so not part of everyone else…so on the outside of everything,” he says, in Geoffrey Marsh’s essay “Astronaut of Inner Spaces” (in the exhibition catalogue). “I wanted to be a fantastic artist, see the colors, hear the music, and they just wanted me turned down. … I had to retreat into my room; so you get in the room and you carry that ruddy”—British for “damned”—“room around with you for the rest of your life.”

How many of the visitors to David Bowie is were that kid, too? How many of us still carry that room around with us, a lifetime later? As a teen, I lived in mine.

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