Ricochet: lonesome Bowie in Singapore
Ricochet is a documentary about Bowie by Gerry Troyna. It follows him visiting different East-Asian countries as part of his Serious Moonlight Tour in 1983.
It’s a strange, fascinating film with a lot of outright weird scenes. For instance there’s a scene of him seemingly being lost on an escalator in Singapore which almost lasts three minutes. We see him go up and down that escalator, not saying a word, while we listen to the ambient track Sense of Doubt from his Heroes album.
He seems so lonesome. So lost.
Chinese pop song
He is obviously fascinated by the people he meets. He addresses them on the street. “Hi, I’m David.” Imagine being approached by David Bowie while you’re shopping or walking to work.
He seems shy. Funny thing is that I remember the press describing Bowie as having cleaned up his act, wearing classy suits, blonde, sun-burned, clean-toothed, drug-free, energetic, normal, but he seems as weird as in The Man Who Fell To Earth. A clueless alien, with his platinum blonde hair.
We see him putting a lot of effort trying to connect with people, but he never really succeeds. When he is talking with a couple of women in Hong Kong, about the upcoming transition from British to Chinese sovereignty, he suddenly starts humming the old Chinese pop song Méiguì méiguì wǒ ài nǐ (Rose, rose I love you, as it is known in the West) to change the subject.
Call for prayer
Walking the Singapore streets, where Chinese temple bells compete with the Islamic call for prayer, the traffic noise and the machines on a construction site, in his white suit, wearing a white fedora hat, like he is a character from a novel by Graham Greene or Paul Bowles.
He asks permission to watch the rehearsal of a Chinese opera group, which is flat refused (the women he asks have no idea who he is). Can he come back tonight? “I dunno”, he says. “It’s difficult.”
He regains his self confidence when he is being interviewed by a Singaporean reporter, surrounded by his own crew, taking the piss (somewhat) at the reporter.
Price of tickets
Troyna seems to stress the gap between Bowie and the common people with a story line about a couple of Chinese fans, musicians themselves, trying to come up with the money for a ticket to his concert. Meanwhile Bowie is negotiating with the organizers about the price of the tickets. He will not lower them.
Then there is this mysterious man with sunglasses whom he encounters a couple of times during the documentary, as if we’re watching an old spy flick instead of a documentary. What’s up with that? (PB)
op 21 01 2016 at 00:54 schreef Sasha Berkman: