David Bowie

David Bowie dies of cancer at age 69


Each time someone famous dies, I ponder why it affects us so much. We never got to know them, yet we still cry and morn at their passings. We’ll never miss them quite like their family and dear friends, but we miss them all the same.

I was getting ready for work this morning when I received the news alert of David Bowie’s passing after his battle with cancer. I was mid-way through applying mascara when I started to cry and woke up my husband to tell him the news.

David Bowie.

The man was always like a strange mythical power that we mere mortals could never touch. Even the last two albums his released in recent years proved that we could still be amazed by this musician. He was silent on the music front for over a decade when he released the sad, beautiful little single “Where Are We Now?”

But David Bowie, while that alien star man, was still something that so many could relate to and love so passionately. So many of us were strange in our own worlds and found solace in the music Bowie created.

When I was little, Labyrinth was on television constantly. At age 5 I couldn’t entirely understand what I was watching, but I was always mesmerised and haunted by Bowie’s face and voice. For years he haunted me, and eventually it led to a long and loving relationship with classic albums like Hunky Dory, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Star Dust and the Spiders from Mars and Diamond Dogs.

Listening to his Berlin trilogy opened my mind to even more experimental and strange art. Exploring his vast catalogue of music while at university was a learning experience almost course-worthy in and of itself.

I sang “Magic Dance” with my friend on the school bus every day. She’s gone now, but every time I think of that song, I think of her and our innocent days. Having Bowie gone is like losing another part of those memories.

Each time someone famous dies, I do ponder why it affects us so much and I really still don’t know why. I’ll never know the man, but I can morn the loss of a man who provided so much solace and gave me the gift of his music.

I’ll never meet you, David, but I will miss you all the same.

David Bowie passed away after an eighteen-month battle with cancer. He was 69.

I would follow David Bowie anywhere – especially though the Labyrinth


Labyrinth Issue #1
Adapted by Sid Jacobson
Breakdowns by John Buscema
Finished by Romeo Tanghal

Published November 1986

“Give me the child! I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back what you have stolen!”

If there were ever two films to haunt me in my childhood they were Gremlins and Labyrinth. Both dark 80s films filled my imagination (and horror). Unsurprisingly, despite terrorising my dreams for years each has become a favourite of mine. David Bowie and a very young Jennifer Connelly were the stuff made of dreams in Labyrinth. When I came across a comic adaption of the Jim Henson film on NewKadia, I scooped it up without a second thought.

The Marvel adaption came out a few months after the film’s release in June 1986. It follows the film almost exactly. A bratty young girl named Sarah spends her days running amok in parks wearing costumes and reciting strange lines from fantasy books while dreaming of being in a mystical world. One night, she is stuck babysitting her baby brother, Toby, while her father and “wicked” step-mother are out.

Sarah scolds the baby for having one of her stuffed toys. As Toby cries and carries on being upset, Sarah wishes the Goblin King would take the baby away from her – a wish she is granted. The goblins take her brother away, and the young girl is visited by Jareth, the Goblin King, who tells her that he has a gift: a crystal that will show her her dreams.

When she rejects Jareth and decides to save Toby, the king tells her she has thirteen hours to solve the labyrinth in order bring her brother back. If she fails, the baby will remain in the castle forever. She immediately sets off and stumbles into a number of colourful characters including the grumpy Hoggle and an excellent tea-loving worm.

Issue one stops as Sarah sets off on her adventure through the Labyrinth’s maze – leaving (I hope) more Bowie appearances in the next two issues. Because if it’s following the film exactly issue one stops right about… here:

I’m the youngest child, so I suppose I can’t really relate, but if David Bowie took my baby sibling and gave me the  choice to see all my dreams, I’d probably agree to stay exactly where I am. It probably doesn’t hurt that the Goblin King is a total babe. Call it a weakness of character. Sorry, imaginary kid. You won’t blame me when you’re older.

Because, come on, it’s David Bowie. Like you’d complain about living in a castle with him?

The comic does quite a good job of adapting the movie. It doesn’t really add anything to the story, of course, but the images look so good in drawn form. There was a sequel done in manga form that was released by Tokyopop from 2006-2010 called Return to Labyrinth that followed Toby as he returns to the Labyrinth.

Manga is definitely not my thing, but I think expanding the world is quite a good an idea. Sarah is definitely a handful, but she is a bit changed by the end. Her character is so worth exploring, it is a shame the manga sequel skipped over her for Toby. I’ve read that Archaia were in development to make a prequel about Jareth becoming the Goblin King, but it is still to come to fruition (minus a small free comic for Comic Book Day in 2013).

IMG_0829This was the first time I have read a comic-book adaption of a film. The art and humor made this a great little read. While it is missing the music, it makes up for it with plenty of luscious 80s fantasy atmosphere.

It’s all rock and roll to me

If it has some how escaped your attention, that blabber mouth Courtney Love has decided to make another bizarre rant again. This time she was targeting Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band (that latter of whom was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). According to Love, “saxophones don’t belong in rock’n’roll.” Of course everyone is entitled to their opinions, I just really disagree with hers.

The woodwind instrument has long been in rock music and its deep roots. Although it was originally one of instruments made for use in military bands, but it was later found in most jazz bands which, you know, was one of the predecessors to rock. And I mean, this guy is all I really need to mention.

The saxophone isn’t the most ‘classic’ of instruments in rock. You don’t look inherently cool playing it. But since when did rock have rules? We are better than that. We piss on  those rules and those expectations. Rock can do whatever the hell it likes.

But instead of moaning about it, I’ll just counter her opinion with a playlist of some of the best songs in rock. Oh and they all also happen to include the saxophone.

And yes. I played alto sax for eight years. No shame. Sax for life.


Bowie’s ‘Hunger’ almost satisfying


As mentioned in previous posts, I am by no means a film critic. nor will I ever be, but seeing as I’m really ill today it’s the perfect opportunity to watching endless television and movies. Turns out on this dreary London day, I’ve chosen to watch everything vampire related. What began as an innocent ‘one episode’ of Buffy turned into a mini-marathon followed by deciding to watch The Hunger.

The film is about a vampire couple (David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve, who I’m pretty sure is perfect in everything). Now this 1983 Tony Scott film isn’t exactly one that will blow everyone away, but I think it’s worth the watch just for the music and sound alone.

The first scene is a performance of Bauhaus’ ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead,’ and it’s just about the most atmospheric opening to a film I have seen in a long time. I’m massively convinced that Peter Murphy is a vampire himself. The performance from him in the beginning is completely stunning. Why wasn’t Murphy in it longer? Can he please have his own vampire movie?


The rest of the story can be both incredibly depressing and thoughtful. I picked this film on the whim because Bowie was supposed to be involved. And he is – sort of. He was turned by Miriam (Deneuve) over 200 years ago where he begins to rapidly age. They turn to the help of gerontologist Dr. Sarah Roberts, played by a delightfully effective Susan Sarandon.

Broken promises, addiction, and suffering are intriguing themes that run throughout the plot. These moments are usually heightened rather unusually through the use of a repetitive sound that is almost reptilian.  The effect is amazing – it creates a fantastic  sensation of your skin crawling. Beyond the gothic nature of the story and aesthetics, there are a number of hauntingly beautiful arrangements of classical music throughout. The highlight is the Bowie’s miming of the cello solo sonata in G by Bach (actually performed by Raphael Wallfisch). 

Although the film is by no means incredible (I’m more of a werewolf girl myself), it’s worth a watch just to hear and see music so beautifully paired to the story on the screen.

“There is no release, my darling.”


If you are looking for a good writer about film and television, though. Read my fellow writer and classmate’s blog here at Corleones & Lannisters.

A bit of that magic

Now safely tucked away back in London, but not yet finished with the holiday season. Some times a bit of magic actually does happen at this time of year. And this time, we were blessed with a special Christmas message from Elvis. Wait…no… he’s dead. Turns out that David Bowie does an excellent Elvis impersonation.

On Boxing Day, the Starman delivered his message on BBC Radio 6’s This is Radio Clash. His impersonation is with a unmistakable nod to the King. It’s both quite funny and a bit sweet. As a side fun-fact, are a couple other connections between the two music gods. Both share the same birthday (January 7th) and according to Bowie, his single “Golden Years’ was offered to Elvis to perform, but he turned it down.

Here’s what Bowie had to say to the audience:

“Hello everybody, this is David Bowie making a telephone call from the US of A. At this time of the year I can’t help but remember my British-ness and all the jolly British folk, so here’s to you and have yourselves a Merry little Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you very much.”

That aside, I’m amazed that I hadn’t heard of This is Radio Clash before. If you hadn’t guessed already, the show is ran by the three remaining members of the punk outfit The Clash Topper Headon, Paul Simonon and Mick Jones. Their two-hour radio show is as one would expect – a bit of rock and roll, dub, raggae, and their personal favourites. Paul Simonon has already proved himself a good DJ while working with Damon Albarn back in October.

It’s nice to see old friends together again. It can be a bit disgusting watching other bands get together again for massive sums of money, but at least the radio show is actually cool and really worth a listen.

UK readers can listen to the message on BBC’s website for a few more days.

I am alive

After a very nice, long, relaxing weekend I finally feel mentally sane for the first time in three months. Welcome, Winter Break! And indeed, now that assessment week is over – this blog is in full swing again. Pesky school. Lot’s of things happened within one week: Beyonce dropped a “surprise album” (which I guess is the thing now), the Pope has been named Time’s Person of the Year, Peter O’Toole passed away and Uruguay can now legally grow weed!

This is all going somewhere.

Since the year is pretty much over, I thought I’d take a look back at some of the best and worst (and most bizarre) moments of music that happened in 2013. Feel free to share your own! Because sharing is fun:

1. Bowie drops first album in a decade
On January 8th we were all taken by surprise when the divine David Bowie’s released “Where Are We Now?” on his 66th birthday. The album “The Next Day” followed in March, but it was this single that really blew my mind. There was something about that release that made music feel magical again: there was mystery and honesty. The video brought me to tears. It set the year up to becoming one of the most promising in ages.

2. Morrissey’s Autobiography
I’m sure 90% of people with disagree with me when I say that this was a great moment. Most Smiths fans probably have a conflicted view of Mozzer, who is simultaneously brilliant and a complete wanker, but the fact that this usually elusive musician opened up enough for 457 pages is fantastic. The insight to his childhood starts to make his music make more sense, and that can be good or bad – depending upon how much you see of yourself in him.

3. The Carrie Diaries unleashes 80’s sugar
This is probably the most embarrassing one to admit, but the American television show The Carrie Diaries has the best soundtrack of any show on right now. The first few episodes are awkward as the viewer has to sit through shit cover versions of songs they don’t have enough money for the royalties to, but eventually songs like “Jetfighter” by the Three O’Clock, TV21’s “It Feels Like It’s Starting to Rain” and The Waterboys. Maybe you don’t have to watch it (unless you’re absolutely obsessed with anything that takes place in the 80’s, like me, then watch it if only to hear).

4. All those we lost
There were many great musicians lost to the world over the course of 2013. To say which ones were felt more would be unfair. We lost the young (The Child of Lov to surgery complications), the heartbreaking (my dear Lou Reed), the shocking (the murders of the Mexican vellanto band Kombo Kolombia), the beautiful (Patty Andrews), and the sweet (Junior Murvin). These are often what we remember years by: what we have lost.

5. Baby Queen Lorde was brought to Earth
This little 16-year-old is a beast. The New Zealander is someone I wish was around for me when I was that age. She’s bizarre and wears black lipstick. It’s cliche, but she’s really a breath of fresh air for the pop charts. While many musicians really come off contrived, Lorde still feels honest. Keep your fingers and toes crossed that she never forgets who she is. May she reign Lord of 2013.