Please stop touching me
David Bowie wrote an article for Vanity Fair in 2003, presenting a list of albums that are important to him. Obviously it is an interesting list, comprising albums that every pop aficionado knows and a couple of gems that at least I had never heard of before.
But the most intriguing I find how he turns out to be a regular music fan, a typical record collector like all of us. He has about 2.500 vinyl albums which he wants to get on CD, he writes, but some albums have completely vanished into oblivion and were never brought out on CD. Therefore he burns these onto CD himself, copying the album sleeves and cutting them down to size as to fit them into the CD boxes.
I mean exactly as we do, right? A busy superstar sitting in his room doing what he can to complete his music collection, obsessing with getting the CD box right, like he bought it in a store. This I found so touching.
Tons of movies
In an interview with I think his long time producer Tony Visconti (I can’t find it back, which frustrates me to no avail) about Bowie’s final years there was another detail that struck me. Bowie would, during the time he was in retreat, watch ‘tons of movies’ at the theater nearby his apartment. Sometimes three Woody Allen movies in a row. He decribes in a letter or an e-mail how he would watch a movie and then slip into the next hall to watch another. “It’s very easy, no-one notices you”, he wrote or something along that line (UPDATE: I found the article at last, I had googled “Bowie; final years; tons of movies” but I should have googled “a ton of movies”).
Imagine that millionaire superstar discovering he could watch two or three movies for the price of one, without anyone noticing him! The little joys of life. It must have been exhilarating for him, given that he was usually not able to just try to get a taxi without someone filming him.
In an interview about his collaboration with Bowie multimedia artist Tony Oursler describes how he and Bowie entered an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art and Bowie was immediately besieged by a group of middle aged women who started touching him, grabbing his shoulders and his back. ‘That was the only time I saw him get a little bit uncomfortable’, Oursler says. ‘“Please stop touching me,” that was all he said. “Please stop touching me.”’ So vulnerable.
Bowie was one of the biggest super stars, “living like a king”, but he was also a music collector and an art lover. He couldn’t just enter a record store and browse through the collection there, as we all know one of the better things life has to offer, or visit an exhibition. He could not be a normal guy. He just couldn’t have that break.
He was a pretty normal fellow on the message board and in the chat-room of his own website. I can’t for the life of me understand why I never saved the conversations I and other fans had with him about everything.
For instance, I remember when he, somehow agitated, emphasized that he wasn’t a wuss. That he knew how to survive in the jungle when stranded there or something. I can’t remember what the cause was for him saying that but I do remember it struck me as so utterly normal. A guy who wants you to know he can stand his own. That his privileged position doesn’t make him Little Lord Fauntleroy (I do remember us taunting him in such manner, irritating him sometimes on purpose; God, how we took him for granted then, seemingly unappreciative of the fact he, our God, would spend hours with us).
I do realize I am going through the normal mourning process I have seen described so often in articles, like someone from my inner circle has died. First the disbelief, then the acceptance, then the browsing through the memories one has of the deceased, then feeling guilty: “I shouldn’t have done that, I could have made him happier.” Which is pretty self-aggrandizing of course but nevertheless, I do feel guilty for teasing him, for not realizing he wanted to be treated like a regular guy.
On the other hand, this is how I normally treat regular guys.
op 05 02 2016 at 09:38 schreef leo schmit:
Took me one second to find this 1987 Visconti-Bowie interview at:
Is this what you’re looking for? If not, check out the other search results as per below:
op 05 02 2016 at 09:59 schreef Peter:
Thanks bit it was a written article. I even remember some phrases quite literally, but Google turns up nothing.