Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Lazarus

I watched the 'Lazarus' video from Bowie's last album - Black Star - last night, and understood why Rick Wakeman described even his death as an artwork. Before then, I thought Wakeman was going a bit over the top. It's on Vimeo, if you want to see it.

Did I tell you I once ran into Prince Philip in Woolworth? He was at the Pick 'n' Mix section, stuffing his trousers with Bull's Eyes.

Bowie isn't the first person to use the theme of Lazarus just before their death. Dennis Potter did the same by writing a screenplay in which his brain is launched into the future, and he is awakened enough to portray scenes from his Forest of Dean childhood to a bunch of scientists a hundred years or so later. I did a post on it once, and I have the box set of his last T.V. plays.

He only allowed the broadcast of them to happen after his death, and he insisted that they should be shown on all channels (when there were only two) simultaneously. Genius.

I have never seen anything that is more like a dead person speaking to use from beyond the grave. I really believe that with this last play, he actually succeeded in doing this, and I cannot think of anyone who has done it before or since.

15 comments:

  1. There ..... I knew it was Phil .... no-one believed me at the time !!!!! He was probably buying the princesses Ladybird outfits and California Poppy perfume and the Queen a jar of Pond's Vanishing cream !!
    I find the Lazarus video hard to watch. XXXX

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    1. Yes, that video is very close to the bone.

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  2. Whenever I am put in mind of Dennis Potter I want to recite 'the oak and the beech and the ash and the elm' with an accent. The Bowie video I am undecided about..do I like it and find it moving or ... not.

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    1. I was undecided about almost everything he did.

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  3. Bowie always ambiguous
    And not just in the male/female way but in a
    Dead/ alive kind of way...
    When he smiled he had a rictus grin

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    1. True. Considering he pretty much started the shallow glam-rock thing, he was very demanding.

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  4. Pity Philip wasn't in his kilt - then it would have been really interesting.

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    1. He was. He amused everyone outside later by standing over an air-vent and doing a Marylyn Monroe impression. Don't ask.

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  5. I found the Lazarus video subtly disturbing; all the best art is.

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  6. Tom, I'll not try to be clever, but as a Dennis Potter fan, do wish to thank you for this post. And mention the coincidence of Michael Gambon being in Skylight and The Singing Detective.

    Best wishes.

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    Replies
    1. What was that coincidence? Did it have something to do with Bowie?

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    2. Just slightly. Mr and Mrs Bowie and I sat in the same row attending a performance of Skylight starring Michael Gambon. That's all.

      Best wishes.

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  7. Bowie's death hit me hard. I'm not sure why. I've always been a fan, but I normally don't get so upset over a celebrity passing. Maybe it's because I grew up with him and his music, or maybe it was the shock of it since no one knew he was ill. Or maybe it was because he died of cancer, which huts close to home since I almost lost my husband to cancer a few years ago. Whatever the reason, it's been a sad couple of days for me. And I can hardly stand to watch Lazarus or listen to it when he was so clearly singing about his impending death. It just tears me up inside.

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    1. Yes, as others have said, it is difficult to watch. Good, though. When Princess Diana was killed, I could not understand why I was so affected by it, but I was not alone! Half the nation went into a mass hysteria of grief. I still don't understand it.

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