Monday, 11 January 2016

The Man who fell to Earth (5 Stars)

"We must have died alone, a long long time ago".

It was with great sadness that I heard about David Bowie's death today. It came so unexpectedly. I expected him to live forever. Does that make sense? What I mean is, he was one of the three stable things in my life that I take for granted, the three things that have been there as long as I remember:

Elizabeth is the Queen of England.
William Roache is on "Coronation Street".
David Bowie makes music.

Now he's gone. I just said that I was sad when I heard about his death. That's not quite true. It was something else that I felt and still feel. I'm stunned. I'm dazed. It's such a shock to me that it's killed my emotions.

I grew up with David Bowie. I first became aware of him when David Pace, my best friend at school, lent me Bowie's 1970 album, "The Man Who Sold The World". If you check out David Bowie's official discography you'll see that this was his third album, but Bowie always called it his first. The reason is that this was the first album that he conceived and put together himself. The first two albums were collections of singles, B-sides and assorted other tracks recorded in the studio. That's not to say that the albums don't contain good music. "Space Oddity" is the title track of the second album, released in 1969. Nevertheless, "The Man Who Sold The World" was the first album for which Bowie had full creative control.

When I was 17 I had a girlfriend who was crazy about David Bowie. He was practically the only musician that she listened to. I only dated her for a few months, but after spending all my time with her listening to Bowie's albums I was sick of him. After we split up I hardly listened to him for years. It wasn't until I was in my 30's that I rediscovered Bowie's music. I bought all his albums on CD. It must have been almost 20 albums. I admit that I hardly listened to the first two. They didn't have the appeal that his later albums did. At that time I was fascinated by "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars".

Unfortunately, I lost all of my Bowie CD's in 2000. They were stolen by Thomas Kuzilla of Dearborn Heights, Michigan. While I was in hospital he took everything I had. I wrote to him and asked for my property back, but he said I had to pay for it. He wanted an extortionate price, about 50% of what I had paid for the items. Due to the complications of being in hospital in England I was unable to take legal action against someone living in America. Thomas Kuzilla is one of the most evil people I have ever known. At that time, 2000-2001, I was going through very hard times, and he kicked me while I was down. He knew I was powerless to do anything, and he sent me countless smug emails with his demands.

After leaving hospital I only re-bought three of Bowie's albums: "The Man who sold the world", "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" and "Pin-Ups". Those were my favourite three. They gave me great comfort as I began to recover after my time in hospital.

Today I watched "The Man who fell to Earth", the 1976 film in which David Bowie played the main role. I think of it as a companion to "Don't look now" (1973), which I'll probably review soon. Both films were directed by Nicolas Roeg, an English director who has only made a few films in his career. None of them lived up to these two films. It seems like "The man who fell to Earth" was written for David Bowie. It added to the mystique that he already had. He was an alien from outer space who fell to Earth. He was immortal, or at the very least he would live for a long time, hardly ageing while those around him grew old and died. He was weak and timid, insecure of himself in a busy, bustling world. In the film Bowie was effectively playing himself.

R.I.P. David Bowie
8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016

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