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Mercury Prize 2013: David Bowie Favourite, I Think He's Rubbish

by Tom Law
11 September 2013 125 Comments

David Bowie's comeback album has been nominated for the Mercury Prize, but is it just me who think he's a bit naff?

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And we know this because a small cabal of Bowie-philes keep telling us it. These are the forty-somethings who control much of our media. Jonathan Ross and Ricky Gervais are the public face of this shadowy elite, but beneath the surface lies a vast network of Bowie obsessives: producers, authors, presenters, editors, journalists.

They commission each other to write articles and make TV documentaries in which they simper and fawn about their horse-toothed idol. Back in the 1970’s these people were the weird and delicate children who nobody talked to in the playground. So they sought solace in the spindly arms of a ginger-haired clown called Ziggy Stardust.

Ziggy played guitar. He played it left-handed. He looked a bit like Cilla Black. It was a winning combination.

The weird kids had found a friend; a goofy buddy from outer-space. He told them it was okay to be pretentious, po-faced and slightly aloof. It was alright to dabble with make-up, prance around with mime and pretend to be on drugs.

Bowie became an idol for these teenage geeks. Their devoted support helped catapult him from a novelty pop singer to a mainstream star. They slavishly followed his ever changing costumes and idiotic personas. They bought his tinny music and searched for profound meaning within his meaningless lyrics.

It is the obsessive and needy nature of these Bowie cultists, which makes them so dangerous and deluded – even after all of these years. They retain a blinkered devotion to the Thin White Duke which renders them incapable of logic or reason; unable to grasp the concept that Bowie might actually have been a bit shit. Or at least, that he’s been massively overrated.

Because if you strip away all the misty-eyed nostalgia, you are left with a musician who, in a 40-year recoding career, has made five-or-six decent songs. His most memorable stage performance in recent years has been to get hit in the eye by a lollipop.

Bowie has always been about style over substance. His first job was in advertising and he realised early doors that to market himself he needed a gimmick. Releasing a novelty song about a laughing gnome didn’t work, but dressing as a transvestite Ronald McDonald proved just the ticket.

In doing so, he provided the inspiration for the likes of Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Lady Gaga and a multitude of other average performers who understood the commercial benefits of dressing like a mentalist.

The whole of the 80’s was tainted by the eye-liner wearing groups who had been influenced by the Bowie brand of style over substance

It is bizarre that Bowie is cited as being a fashion icon, particularly by elderly football casuals. When you look back at his different looks over the years, it is remarkable how he always managed to maintain the appearance of an absolute pillock. Leotards, kimonos, eye-patches, bouffant haircuts, white knee-length-boots; usually all worn at the same time.

And behind Bowie’s costumes and zany characters; there was a void. There was nothing there. It was all just an act; a series of fictional characters. No underlying message or genuine emotion. Just a theatrical performance.

The interviews with Bowie, especially those during the 1970’s, are excruciatingly dull. It pulls back the curtains to reveal the mundane reality of the character behind his wacky stage persona – a boring bloke called David Jones. If you close your eyes, it’s like listening to a David Brent style office manager.

Here are a few of Bowie’s memorable zingers from over the years:

“I’m pretty good with collaborative thinking. I work well with other people.”

“It amazes me sometimes that even intelligent people will analyze a situation or make a judgement after only recognising the standard or traditional structure of a piece.”

“I believe that I often bring out the best in somebody’s talents.”

But Bowie can let his music do the talking. He has, after all, recorded more than 550 songs. The problem is that despite a purple patch in the mid-70’s, they just aren’t that good. It’s all subjective but it’s hard to justify his status as a musical legend.

As a child of the 80’s, my memories of Bowie are radically different to those who know him from the 70’s. I remember him for his cringe-worthy posturings alongside Mick Jagger in the Dancing in the Street video. That and a smattering of syrupy hits, like China Girl and Let’s Dance. His music represented all that was rubbish about 80’s music: the overproduced thin sounds of synths and Bowie’s affected vocal warblings.

And if he wasn’t releasing crap singles; he was inspiring them. The whole of the 80’s was tainted by the eye-liner wearing groups who had been influenced by the Bowie brand of style over substance; the likes of Japan, Kajagoogoo and Duran Duran.

But none of this matters. David Bowie is a legend. And whether he is or not is never going to be an issue. Bowie knows, better than most, that you create your own reality. And this particular version has been decided for us by his Taliban-like followers.

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

ed 12:15 pm, 8-Jan-2012

what a useless article!you must have a pretty lame record collection.

davis 12:19 pm, 8-Jan-2012

Yes, it is just you who thinks David Bowie is rubbish ! Admittedly his music has been a bit hit and miss since the mid '80s, but his overall musical legacy assures his importance in the history of rock. Many people's lives would be poorer without a bit of Bowie !

jaseface 12:30 pm, 8-Jan-2012

Wow. What a pile of contentious-for-the-sake-of-it horseshit. Are you guys really that desperate for content? Time to reign in the quality control, boys and girls...

Yakhunt 12:34 pm, 8-Jan-2012

Bravo, Sir for saying it out loud. Wanky shite for students

duck 12:36 pm, 8-Jan-2012

Bowie rubbish? Have you never seen 'Labrinth'?

Bill Murray 12:36 pm, 8-Jan-2012

I think I might give up on Sabotage Times. Is there any point in this article apart from trying to provoke people into a response, well you've probably succeeded in that at least.

SPorter 12:36 pm, 8-Jan-2012

"Small cabal" or "vast network", which is it? "5 or 6 decent songs"? Yes, you sound like someone who has given all the albums a few listens, Tom. Granted many of them do not give instant gratification anyway. "Massively overrated" if you don't like him - that much is true. But clearly a lot of people do. Most continuously inspiring musical performer for me (sorry about that), even if I'm not a huge fan of his work post-Scary Monsters (1980 album in case you don't really know what I'm talking about). Maybe try listening a bit more to the stuff pre-Dancing in the Street, which yes, was rubbish. You might be surprised, you might not. Either way I'm not fussed. Life (on Mars) goes on.

Owen Blackhurst 12:40 pm, 8-Jan-2012

Bill, it's an opinion, which we've followed up with a positive piece. I personally like Bowie, and from the comments it's 40/60 in favour of him so clearly Tom isn't the only person who feels like this. Some people like stuff, some people hate it, and surely life is about opinions?

dhg 12:41 pm, 8-Jan-2012

My partner too hates Bowie (apparently his Let's Dance era work is ubiquitous on Absolute radio) but she like you is WRONG! 1. He is the daddy of the "Oops wrong planet/I'm al alien" strand of art-pop, which yes includes the likes of Marilyn Manson and Lady Gaga if you so choose but must also include Radiohead, Roxy Music and many others. It could well be argued that the work of those influenced by Bowie has been a damn site more interesting than those who have aped Dylan, the Beatles or the Stones. 2. Re "no underlying message or genuine emotion". I would ask, So what? The same can be applied to the entire canon of Brian Eno, can it not? IMO the meaningfulness/message of a song/piece of music is a cul-de-sac conversation. Pray tell, what exactly is the "meaning" of any Mozart symphony? Or for that matter, the works of Oneohtrix Point Never? 3. "5 decent songs" is, I assume, attention-seeking hyperbole. However I'll take it with a po face, and use Clive James' argument that a poet only has to write one great poem to be a great poet. I'll casually cite Ashes to Ashes. I think it was Steve Strange who remarked taht everybody he knew was trying to write the great "New-Romantic" song, and when they heard Ashes to Ashes they realised that was it, job done. Of course, ask someone lie, say, Ian McCulloch and he'll tell you there are 5 great songs on Ziggy Stardust alone.

jaseface 12:43 pm, 8-Jan-2012

Owen - genuine opinions are one thing. Adopting an 'alternative' view just for the sake of it to stir things up is better left to the Daily Mail. Everybody else - just let this one die and don't waste any further time or energy on it.

dhg 12:44 pm, 8-Jan-2012

By the way, this comment section is a bit basic, isn't it? Aside from my typos, I was using paragraphs above whereas it looks like one long rant!

amancalledbuck 1:21 pm, 8-Jan-2012

He's pish.

robin lee 1:21 pm, 8-Jan-2012

Bowie has a massive body of work. some of it isn't that good but the majority is superb. He's never been afraid to experiment and potentially fail. he is also incredibly astute. he floated himself on the stock exchange! way before any of the current non-product sale money making practices. also, and he doesn't show it very often, he is funny as fuck. plus he turned down an OBE. I wholly disagree with everything in this article. respect to David Bowie.

logicalthought 2:18 pm, 8-Jan-2012

How can you say there are only five or six decent songs? Without even discussing the "weird stuff," the following songs are all accessible rock classics: "Space Oddity" "Changes" "Oh! You Pretty Things" "Life on Mars?" "Starman" "Ziggy Stardust" "Suffragette City" "Panic in Detroit" "The Jean Jenie" "Rebel Rebel" "Young Americans" "Fame" "Golden Years" "Boys Keep Swinging" "Ashes to Ashes" "Fashion" "Modern Love" "China Girl" "Let's Dance" "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" "Blue Jean" "Jump They Say" Yes, he never shined quite as brightly as Townshend or Dylan or Lennon & McCartney or even Jagger & Richards, but I'd put him right up there with Elton John and several others on the "second tier" of rock's great songwriters/performers.

JonnyAtomic 2:56 pm, 8-Jan-2012

Quicksand.

drury 3:21 pm, 8-Jan-2012

Did you have to meet a deadline? This is lame.

Ziggy Gobshite 3:39 pm, 8-Jan-2012

I used to think the same. But Station To Station changed all that. An anyway, China Girl is boss.

Johnny L 3:43 pm, 8-Jan-2012

Leotards, kimonos, eye-patches, bouffant haircuts, white knee-length-boots. They were wearing them down The Old Kent Road in '72, all the ticket touts and cab drivers. Didn't catch on on Scotland Road until 77 at the earliest. Bowie's like a lot of 'em, some great stuff some shite but the good stuff's very very good. As for opinion, I think it's just Tom's opinion and given that he obviously wasn't in his late teens in 1974 I can see where he's coming from.

logicalthought 3:48 pm, 8-Jan-2012

Oh, I forgot about "Under Pressure" (which he co-wrote)... Sheer brilliance!

Sonia Holleyman 3:48 pm, 8-Jan-2012

Owen, of course you are entitled to your opinion but you are completely missing the point. David Bowies personas and reinvention have been a reflection on what it is to be an artist, rock icon or maybe just an entertainer. If you really want to critique this body of work, you really need to avoid the banal.

robin lee 3:57 pm, 8-Jan-2012

@ziggy gobshite- he co wrote china girl with iggy. it was on 'the idiot' recorded in berlin around the time of 'heroes'

David L 4:05 pm, 8-Jan-2012

You found three quotes from a man who's spent over forty years in the public eye to support your hypothesis that he can be a bit bland sometimes? Really?

Steve 6:41 pm, 8-Jan-2012

The canon from '69 to '79 is unlikely to be surpassed by a solo artist. To be fair your article would have more traction with '80 to '03 output.

Boll Weevil 8:20 pm, 8-Jan-2012

I could never get past his image to give him a good listen, but once I did I found a whole well of unbelievable songs. Sure he wrote some shite, but so did Zepp and The Stones. They are still brilliant and so is Bowie.

Siôn Trevor 8:30 pm, 8-Jan-2012

I just don't see the point in this article. No substance, just someone who doesn't like Bowie's music.

Louise 9:22 pm, 8-Jan-2012

You, sir, are a blinkered buffoon. What have you contributed to society except a load of hate-filled bollocks? He's a genius. Who can do hard rock, "plastic soul", ballads, even pure pop..he even tried drum and bass (mind you it inspired a lot of "Dad down the disco" comments). He's not afraid to fail, or experiment. He is/was beautiful, stylish, brave, a visionary and a brilliant lyricist. Go take a fuck to yourself.

anon 9:27 pm, 8-Jan-2012

oh look at me, im being a cynic on the internet!

Lee 9:54 pm, 8-Jan-2012

I understand he isn't everyone's cup of tea. but still suck my balls, bowie is sound

Lee 10:02 pm, 8-Jan-2012

in essence you've answered the question the title of this article asks which I suppose is success in a way. you are more or less alone in this opinion

Tom Law 10:31 pm, 8-Jan-2012

@jaseface Bit of a shit article maybe, but it's a genuine opinion. In the past, I've tried to get into Bowie because of constantly reading/hearing/watching things about how amazing he's supposed to be. But I seriously don't get it. There are people whose music I don't like, but I can understand why they are so highly regarded eg Michael Jackson. But I don't see it for Bowie. Can't compare him to likes of McCartney, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan etc.

Tom Law 10:36 pm, 8-Jan-2012

@Lee Aye, does looks that way. But Sabotage Times must have a high quotient of 40-something readers who are liable to be carrying Bowie baggage.

Louise 11:06 pm, 8-Jan-2012

If you don't "get" Bowie, it's your perogative. You could have written "I don't get Bowie" and the article would have told the reader just as much. You mention Michael Jackson as someone you do "get" but it's interesting how most people forget his dodgy personal life (allegedly. Instead, he was transformed into a deity the moment he died. It appears you're another one jumping on that lame bandwagon. Jackson was basically a lost soul, on the run, a maligned figure in his final years. Yet hardly a soul says a word about MJ now. I don't "get" Michael Jackson but I can see he has talent, an innovative dancer, singer, and can captivate an audience, made groundbreaking videos and capture the mood of the times (particularly in the 1980s, like Bowie). Bowie's legacy, for me, is much more colourful and, yes, sexy. In comparison, MJ is pretty much asexual; and dull, in my eyes. The only one carrying baggage, it appears, is you. PS: You're still a buffoon. And I'm PROUD to carry Bowie baggage. Take your typing fingers and stick them up your arse. Yours respectfully, etc ;-)

Jake Hanrahan 11:37 pm, 8-Jan-2012

I'm 21, listen mainly to grime, old skool hiphop and Johnny Cash, and even I appreciate Bowie. And anyone who turns down an OBE is a legend in my book. Comments are fucking harsh though, everyone has their own opinion. There's as much "oh you're being cynical for the sake of it!" as there's "let's go fucking nuts because we're on the internet!!111 one one"

K K 11:40 pm, 8-Jan-2012

To make such a statements is more than bold, just entirely stupid. I reckon you get down to Michael Buble of an evening and have a poster of him on your wall that you self abuse yourself over whilst trying to sticking a butt plug up your hole!

Louise 11:46 pm, 8-Jan-2012

I talk in "reality" (resists Bowie pun) pretty much how I do on the internet. And act the same way..ie, a danger to myself and others. If anything, I'm more watered-down online. I know a twat when I see one, that's all.

Lawcom 1:23 am, 9-Jan-2012

Poor wee man he doesn't get it, but the reality is Bowie and those that do get it don't have prove what is self evident, the writer has simply tried to grab attention by being nasty and ultimately talking such puerile crap.. it's kinda succeeded, now loads more people know he's a twat.. Remember the name "Tom Law" how can he taken seriously again.. idiot..

Stevo 1:38 am, 9-Jan-2012

Let me guess, your a twenty something xpert on everything in your vast life experience? Run along now little one.

Lawcom 2:58 am, 9-Jan-2012

Talking to me Stevo ? no I'm 50 been involved in the music industry since 15, so my response I would say is far more well informed than the writer.. The article is ill-informed, ignorant and from a professional point of view the guy is a twat.. :-)

Louise 3:01 am, 9-Jan-2012

A music writer (of any age) should have eclectic tastes, and if Mr Writer decides he doesn't like an artist, he should have the good grace not to write provocative nonsense. It's just immature venting otherwise. There's plenty I could say about Daniel O'Donnell but I don't say it, I get no pleasure out of winding up strangers. OK, he doesn't understand Bowie's appeal but using provocative words (and I only replied in kind as it's speaking his language) smacks of lame attention-seeking; sitting back and waiting for the vitriol. Maybe he's secretly masturbating over it all. However, calling a pop icon (like him or not) a "transvestite Ronald McDonald" is pretty damned offensive. Why label Bowie fans "obsessive, needy, dangerous, deluded cultists"? Reading a few Youtube comments and cherry-picking the most banal Bowie quotes does not make one an expert. I still think you're a "cult".

rossco 3:07 am, 9-Jan-2012

to whoever wrote this article you are clueless go and listen to oasis or some shite like that you beaut bowie is spot on

Louise 3:10 am, 9-Jan-2012

It's not the Some Bizarre Stevo, is it? *doffs cap and cutseys sweetly*..Lawcom, I think the twenty something expert quote was directed at Tom Law, not your good self.

Mongbean 8:31 am, 9-Jan-2012

@louise "Iget no pleasure out of winding up strangers"? "Take your typing fingers and stick them up your arse." "Go take a fuck to yourself." pmsl

Yakhunt 10:47 am, 9-Jan-2012

"They retain a blinkered devotion to the Thin White Duke which renders them incapable of logic or reason" - The prosecution rests, M'lud

amancalledbuck 11:08 am, 9-Jan-2012

'Why label Bowie fans “obsessive, needy, dangerous, deluded cultists”?' Why, indeed.

Jim 3:30 pm, 9-Jan-2012

This is a very lazy, smug, "clever clever" piece of student journalism. I doubt the writer really knows much about Bowie's music; ST appear to have emailed all their writers asking if anyone fancies bashing Bowie, just for the sake of a counter-argument to the piece praising him, pretty desperate if you ask me!

Jonesy 4:38 pm, 9-Jan-2012

It's possible to not like Bowie, but claiming he hasn't done anything of merit and is for wanky students is just plain daft. I think some of his work is sheer genius. Although his rape and murder of Dancing in the Streets with Mick Jagger is, for my money, the single worst record ever released (and I include Cliff's Lord's Prayer in that).

Bob 5:09 pm, 9-Jan-2012

Bowie was and still is a creative genius in all manners and aspects. His music his image completely unique. He even designed the production on his tours, musical arrangements, management etc. No doubt he did write some crap thru the 80's and on into the 90's

Meric Pine 5:59 pm, 9-Jan-2012

I whole-heartedly agree. I've always felt exactly the same way about Bowie. There are three MASSIVELY overrated acts which are SO beloved by the wool-pulled public that you can't seem to knock them as their followers will kick the shit out of you. These are Neil Young (a moaney old cunt who drowns on for hours), David Bowie (your article verbatim)... and Nirvana (fucked up gravelly voiced twat.) I'm GLAD you wrote this article. It sticks it to the dickheads who still think Bowie RULES.

Louise 6:20 pm, 9-Jan-2012

@Mongbean: Well, the writer as a "stranger" struck the first blow by winding me up, so I returned the compliment. But, of course, that was his intention. I'm sure he's on his fifth box of Kleenex. @Yakhunt Please show me where the writer has displayed glimpses of logic and reason, rather than ranting about someone he doesn't like? People tend to reply in the manner they're spoken to. The writer has an angry, sweary tone, guess what, the comments left are of the same ilk. Who cares if you don't like Bowie. Just don't come across like a clueless bigot. If you said "transvestite" as a derogatory term out loud on a site that was actually popular, some sections of society would take great umbrage to that language.

Louise 6:25 pm, 9-Jan-2012

"Bowie is cited as being a fashion icon, particularly by elderly football casuals." Don't make me laugh! Have you actually MET any football casuals? I know many hard-bitten footie fans (young and old) and lots of Bowie fans. Can't say there's any correlation going on.

Louise 6:49 pm, 9-Jan-2012

Obsessive and needy?: Hm. I don't mind my idols being criticised if they actually articulate their feelings a little better. I wouldn't defend him in his moments of shitness: See: Pepsi advert, the "Tonight" era (though he does whisper filth in Tina's ear at one point in a vid). The early 1990s output leaves me cold, but perversely was the time when I was listening to the Berlin triptych/Scary Monsters. Bowie Bank and Bowie Bonds struck me as greedy sell-out capitalism: but he did have a manager who ripped him off for every penny in the mid-1970s (though DB says he can't remember making certain albums back then). Anyway, I'll leave Tom's student bum-licky friends to defend him and call me more names. I'm done.

Trist 7:08 pm, 9-Jan-2012

I think it is just you mate. You look far to young to have got him anyway.

scallywag 8:05 pm, 9-Jan-2012

Perhaps what best underscores the sheer brilliance of David Bowie and his innate essence of being a performer is the story he once relayed whereby he’d get on the NYC Subway, with glasses, a flop hat and a Greek newspaper, which he would read upside down (after all it’s all Greek isn’t it?) and relish in his anonymity all the while in effect once again in character. Even in his downtime he is the quintessential performer... http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2012/01/at-65-david-bowie-is-still-a-preferred-hawt-bixch/

dame vera quim 8:10 pm, 9-Jan-2012

Sabotage times is loaded magazine for a Facebook generation. Throwaway articles , not important. Something to read to make you hate thick fuckers even more.

Tom Law 1:09 am, 10-Jan-2012

@Trist Nah, about to hit 40. Add some grey to photo. I have lived through Bowie. But the 80;s bit is what I remember. Dancing in the Street, Live Aid etc. Just a boring celeb. And then going back to the 70's stuff; liking some of the music but it all tainted by he fact that looks like a fucking idiot. Five Years is good though

Diamond Bogs 10:20 pm, 10-Jan-2012

My thoughts entirely. You've pretty much signed your death wish though, slating Bowie is sure to lead to the level of hatred usually saved for serial rapists. It's a shame that he has spent so much time, effort and money on his look when all he needs is an arse chin.

La La L'Amour 11:07 pm, 10-Jan-2012

..."looks like a fucking idiot". If that's not a good reason to weakly deride a famous person, I don't know what is. It's as pointless as Heat-type rags circling slabs of WAG's celullite and writing Too Fat/Too Thin/Woops! Stars Without Makeup articles. Funny how you didn't mention you "like some of the (70s) stuff" but then, it wouldn't make the article sound so venomous and annoy the fans, would it? I smell inconsistency. Backtracking just a tad?

La La L'Amour 11:37 pm, 10-Jan-2012

Has Mr Law considered that he may not be entirely aesthetically pleasing himself (glass houses, etc)? Mr B changed his look (no pun intended) nearly every year of his life, particularly in his 20s and 30s. And yes, the passing of time may make him look faintly ridiculous in some incarnations, but back in the beige 1970s he *genuinely* looked like an alien being. The Thin White Duke has ALWAYS been cool as fuck. And I bet you shop at SportsDirect.

www.thegreenwichbarber.com 7:10 pm, 12-Jan-2012

I'm 41 not in the media in any way. And could give a monkey's uncle how he dressed or how he was interviews. I think his music is superb and I have a wide range of musical genres in my collection. The article above never once made me think I may be wrong. Just seems like you were concerned about everything but the music. How old were you when the Eighties began to say with such conviction that "The whole of the 80’s was tainted by the eye-liner wearing groups who had been influenced by the Bowie brand of style over substance; the likes of Japan, Kajagoogoo and Duran Duran."? I remember the Eighties groups/music I listened to differently to you. A few to many sweeping statements in this article I feel.

Tom Law 4:12 pm, 13-Jan-2012

@greenwich My teenage years were lived during the 80's. Jeff Banks on Clothes Show. Models dressed in spangly boilersuits parading up and down a white catwalk. David Bowie supplies the soundtrack - synth and sax. Turn to the left. Turn to the right. Beep. Beep. Absolute fucking shite.

www.thegreenwichbarber.com 6:35 pm, 13-Jan-2012

My apologies! Jeff Banks and The Clothes Show didn't really cross my radar during my teenage years in the 80's. I will accept your word that they played a lot of David Bowie. I must say though if you're 40+ like me, they way I look proves I had a particularly hard paper round.

Allan Ashton 7:19 pm, 22-Jan-2012

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about not that your opinion is of any consequence.

bowieisbent 11:27 pm, 22-Jan-2012

yes he is totally shit, cant sing for toffee, and i repeat he was, and is indeed shit

mickey b 12:49 am, 4-Feb-2012

Well thought out and thoroughly researched piece, just the sort of dogged journalism the world needs. Also, I really liked the bit were you repeat yourself about the makeup in the 80s, no harm in making such an astute observation twice. Anyway, nice one for sticking it to the man, keep fighting the good fight. Corrupt bankers, politicians, third world dictators, David Bowie, what a shower of bastards

mickey b 1:11 am, 4-Feb-2012

And another thing, thankyou for exposing this sinister cabal of covert Bowie operatives running the country, where do these people get off telling us what music to like. Cant believe I thought he was just a popular musician when in reality he's the lizard eyed controller! David icke was right! It's like 1984 or something! Thanks again

Tom Law 6:40 pm, 4-Feb-2012

@Mickey. Glad you liked it. Some very good points you make there.

Andrew 7:22 pm, 7-Feb-2012

yes there is some media bias toward over-hyping and exagerating Bowie's. n.b. I speak as one who adores some of his early stuff.

Charles 1:14 pm, 27-Mar-2012

Highly successful Troll-Blog, sir.

doyourememberspangles,spacehoppers&whynot 3:45 pm, 27-Mar-2012

Great premise – the Bowie Taliban! Unfortunately, what could've been an intelligent article is full of ill-informed supposition, which gets carried away by self-regarding pleasure at your own conceit. • "a small cabal of Bowie-philes" – There's fucking millions of them. But that IS quite funny. • "horse-toothed" – Err, his teeth were CONCAVE not CONVEX till he got them fixed. • "Delicate children who nobody talked to in the playground" – You weren't there so you wouldn't know. The hardest kids in my school, and most London schools for that matter – liked Bowie, The Who, Slade, Soul and Ska. Until punk came along. Then they liked Bowie, Punk, The Ram Jam Band (Black Betty) & Hank Mizell (Jungle Rock). In that order. • Previous points render the next 2 paragraphs obsolete. • "In a 40-year recoding career, has made five-or-six decent songs. His most memorable stage performance in recent years has been to get hit in the eye by a lollipop" – Also quite funny. Or at least the 2nd sentence is, but c'mon please! Starting with the 60s … here we go: "The London Boys", "Silly Boy Blue", "Man Who Sold the World", HUNKY DORY (all 11 tracks), yes all of Ziggy Stardust. Aladdin Sane, Diamond Dogs & Pin-Ups aren't to everyone's taste, though his covers of "Sorrow" & "Across the Universe" are, in my opinion, great. Move on to Young Americans - all of it. Station to Station (no passion there then; "Wild is The Wind"?). Low (humourless … "you're such a wonderful person, but you got problems .."). Heroes (my least favourite but many would disagree. Still great anyway). Lodger: "Boys Keep Swinging", "African Night Flight", "Move On"… Something for everyone there, and more than 5-6. But I agree about the 80s and the rest of his career. • "Bowie has always been about style over substance. His first job was in advertising and he realised early doors that to market himself he needed a gimmick. Releasing a novelty song about a laughing gnome didn’t work, but dressing as a transvestite Ronald McDonald proved just the ticket." Err, quite funny. What is substance mate? Or authenticity? Elvis? Oasis doing the Beatles (dressed as football casuals. Have you sen footage of Liam trying to fight?) The Beatles doing the Isley Brothers? The Pistols doing the Monkees? The Horrors doing Krautrock? • "In doing so, he provided the inspiration for the likes of Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Lady Gaga and a multitude of other average performers who understood the commercial benefits of dressing like a mentalist." – So you're a Status Quo fan then? Just the denim and a functional coat is fine … and Slipknot? Not sure about that. Pulp maybe. • "it is bizarre that Bowie is cited as being a fashion icon, particularly by elderly football casuals." – Ignore them, but they do have a point. High waisted flares, platforms, 'Beetle Crushers', pegs, open neck 50s bowling shirts etc etc were all very prominent on the terraces of Highbury, Stamford Bridge and the Boleyn Ground in the olden days. Ask any London senior citizen about the "Smoothies". • "The problem is that despite a purple patch in the mid-70’s, they just aren’t that good." – You would do as well to have such a purple patch, young man, cos your journalism is shoddy. Do some research, you might get there. Could take you up on other accusations but can't be arsed anymore. … 'pretension'! … oh hang on … so what? Pretended to take drugs. Err, think he did. So go back to 'Uni' my friend. Maybe he just isn't your cup of tea. Why didn't you just write that? Problem is, people like you don't experience anything. You just graze around culture, automatically form an knee-jerk reaction, then move on. You're a square.

Harold Evans 8:41 pm, 28-Mar-2012

Fuck me, what a terrible writer. Wouldn't have happened on my watch.

Kyra 2:13 am, 29-Mar-2012

Everyone is a bit shit sometimes. David Bowie is no exception. But he wasn't just a wonderful performer. He was a wonderful musician, and that's all that matters. He was never just "David Jones". He saw an opportunity and grabbed it, and he captivated countless people across generations. He made great music and had fun doing it, and inspired people along the way. He wasn't afraid to be demanding in his public image; he wasn't afraid to grab people by the balls and scream, "Look at what I've got". So what? At least he had the balls to flaunt it.

rickwood 5:06 pm, 29-Mar-2012

Clearly a joke article without genuine thought or intent. But this guy has got to be loving the emotional feedback. BTW, why are there about 30 books/bios on Bowie? There are less than 5 each on Jagger or Lennon.

K 6:51 pm, 29-Mar-2012

Interesting read, and that's your opinion.

Dean Cavanagh 11:13 pm, 29-Mar-2012

I have never really understood "toast". It's got too much style over substance. One day I will write an article about it.

johnnyyen 12:13 pm, 30-Mar-2012

"The interviews with Bowie, especially those during the 1970’s, are excruciatingly dull. It pulls back the curtains to reveal the mundane reality of the character behind his wacky stage persona – a boring bloke called David Jones." Which is why he chose to hide behind alter egos; he was never confident going on stage as David Jones. If you did a bit of research you would have easily found this out. And if your starting point is "Dancing In The Streets" then that's a bit like starting with "Press To Play" by Paul McCartney and ignoring The Beatles. As for this "wacky" persona you keep going on about, well not everybody is dazzled by the parka and jeans look of Oasis. However if you get past this "wacky" image (what an awful description; I actually think pinstripe suits look weirder than anything Bowie ever wore, but I guess Tom Law gets confused if anybody looks or behaves outside his comfortable norm)you might actually hear a few decent tunes (perhaps "Low" and "Heroes" would be beyond your comfort zone?).

Bug 10:50 am, 2-Apr-2012

what you looking at in your picture? facebook cunt lol

eric 3:35 pm, 6-Apr-2012

have you heard Station to station? Go pay 99 cents for it on itunes and then come back here and write your apology column.

Aaron 5:15 am, 7-Apr-2012

hi. go fuck yourself.

Léocadia 1:25 pm, 9-Apr-2012

" hi. go fuck yourself. " "Take your typing fingers and stick them up your arse. Yours respectfully, etc ;-) " Yeeessssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!

Alexander Tate 4:01 am, 27-Apr-2012

I'm a massive Bowie fan and I find this article very funny in a humourous way. "Ziggy played guitar. He played it left-handed. He looked a bit like Cilla Black" particularly good. Fair play for writing something that may be controversial to some Bowie fans. But perhaps it is they who need to take their collective heads out of Bowie's arse. The last para admits that Bowie is a legend but I find the taliban association too much. Shame, that quote casts a mean shadow over a light hearted hatchet job.

Damien LeGallienne 10:40 am, 28-Apr-2012

This is an absolutely brilliant commentary on all things Bowie. Without any doubt the best thing I have ever read about him made even better by the fact that I agree with everything you wrote. You totally nailed it to the cross -- fabulous writing -- sheer perfection. I especially liked the knock on Gervais and the reference to Cilla Black.

Marty McBrown 8:48 am, 9-May-2012

Well, not perfection is it? "Recoding"?! Fan or not, spellcheck would let that pass, but you should proof-read your own article! Research is another issue, Ziggy (as Bowie played him) was right-handed, so this guy isn't particularly up on instruments. Amusing at some points though- perhaps he influenced Cilla's look of 10 years later. I like the Let's Dance album, but, over all I think the best album wasn't Ziggy.., it was Hunky Dory previously with the best songs- Life On Mars, Changes, Oh You Pretty Things, and Queen Bitch (about the writer of this article)...

Lee Hayes 9:50 am, 24-May-2012

I think you must have been abused as a child, to say Bowie's seminal 70's works 'is without substance' is unbelievably naive. I think you're more than likely some Public school daddies boy who's a Take That/One Direction fan. You're a tasteless retarded fool and whoever let you publish such an article should be sent to an alternative reality whereBowie never happed - you would then be in the kind of sterile, unartistic void that you crave. 'Scary Monsters' is without doubt the most forward lookingand influential albums of all time and still sounds cutting edge 32 years on today, seriously, why are you even breathing?

Esol Esek 10:02 pm, 31-Aug-2012

Bowie was undeniably great through Tonight, which I actually prefer to Lets Dance, because it had a more underground feel, and Loving the Alien is not a normal song. Very Ashes to Ashes and an equally incredible video. Look it up. I agree that Dancing in the Street was a horror show, and then Bowie was kind of over. A guitarist I respected played me Tin Machine, and I thought it was ok. Bowie never recovered since. Maybe it was the previous selling out, or getting older, and liking life, or quitting cocaine, but he was so reliably great until that point, great not by being avant garde but by making it interesting yet poppy yet original. He lost that natural ability somewhere in that period, or maybe I just need to try harder. My favorites are Scary Monsters, Aladdin Sane and Man Who Sold the World - ALL incredible records. You can't deny the man those. He's got 6-7 great songs just on one of those records. Moonage Daydream? Life on Mars? The man in a genius. Also, your age group has really dropped the ball, pal. I'm in my mid 40s so I was a child in the 70s, and prime for the 90s, and your generation has run from hard rock, metal and The Clash into what? Muse? Coldplay? They're good sometimes, but you're gonna tell me that isn't pop dross? Anyway, the industry is a wreck, no support to any band that isn't Bad New Direction, let alone original ones. You missed a better world, junior.

Mark Doherty 11:50 pm, 12-Oct-2012

Who are you, exactly? The problem with the internet is that it has given birth to the idea that everyone's opinion is equally valid, and therefore equally deserving of broadband space. This Tom, is your opinion and you are quite welcome to it, but it really only deserves attention if you can at least support it with some kind of an argument. All you are saying here is that you don't like David Bowie. Who cares what you like or don't like? Is this really the kind of writing you aspire to?

Tom Law 2:18 pm, 13-Oct-2012

Thats a very fair point Mark. Ive taken on board your comments and I can see that I've got some serious thinking to do.

Anna 10:20 pm, 13-Oct-2012

Actually it was my daughter that got me into Bowie again... she is second generation... so your whole article is a bit of rubbish, don't you think?

Mark Doherty 9:33 pm, 14-Oct-2012

Good Lord no, Tom---there must be more things in the universe that you don't like or understand! Don't stop writing now!

Esol Esek 12:21 pm, 15-Oct-2012

Hey if the guy admits he's willing to reassess, then that's constructive. No haterade here. It's not that young inexperienced writers/artists/musicians weren't thrown into mass culture in the past, it's just that there were mentors, guides, djs, who still had knowledge and semi-lucrative jobs in the past. Now, these media empires get rid of anyone over a certain age. Fact is, the music industry is in desperate need of some extremely picky producers, writers and radio execs. Simon Cowell is an example, except that he uses his criticism to service his own horrific vision of money-making garbage pop, instead of someone like a John Peel and Erdegun, who wanted their rock stars to produce something that would fascinate a sophisticated adult. When Bowie is slagged while Mumford and Sons are celebrated, we're spinning off axis.

Tom Law 8:59 pm, 15-Oct-2012

Having taken feedback on board there are aspects I regret about the original. The article shows a certain shallowness and lack of genuine empathy or respect for the Bowie community. I accept it also lacks any balance or substance and is little more than somebody screaming that they hate brussel sprouts for no other reason than they hate brussel sprouts. In that instance, it would be a victimless crime but here we're talking about a living musician and his followers. Some of the personal comments against me have been strong-minded but I see them as justifiable reactions to lazy negativity parading as 'controversial'. I believe that I take positives from this experience and now aspire to a more emotionally intelligent approach to my craft. My current project is a guide book to Welsh aqueducts which, I believe, has already benefited greatly from the lessons learnt here.

ATOMICVAMP 7:26 pm, 16-Oct-2012

IT'S TWUNTS LIKE YOU THAT GIVE US TROLLS A BAD NAME.

cubby777 2:53 pm, 9-Nov-2012

Bloody David Bowie, He only became big cos everybody pretended to like him 30 odd years later. Nobody at my school liked Ziggy,though we all bought it of course. But just to show the barber how we wanted our haircut.And we went to the gigs, but only cos Roxy music were supporting....though we hated them as well. I bought Transformer by Lou Reed cos I was told he hated Bowie too. When I got it home and read the sleevenotes it turned out Bowie had produced it....Bowie was Lou Reeds boss! (See also Mott the Hoople and Iggy Pop) The last straw for me was his (frankly inferior)cover of Blockbuster,originally recorded by The Sweet

cubby777 2:58 pm, 9-Nov-2012

Could I add that this article is one of the most uninformed under researched pointless pieces I have ever read. Tom Law is not without Talent ,he is just lazy. Laziness is to be applauded in these competitive times.

vadi 9:22 pm, 11-Jan-2013

It was people like David Bowie who destroyed (and were used by the advertising fashion complex to destroy) the progressive and more thoughtful rock of the 60's. This writer is correct - Bowie was and is a superficial non-entity. But such is the aura that has been projected around this figure, that it takes a brave person to say so.("The Emporer has no clothes") As with most pop "sensations" Bowie was built on hype, and relentless publicity. End of story. Thank you, Tom Law.

geraint 1:12 pm, 15-Feb-2013

Brilliant article on the Welsh language elsewhere on this site Tom, but this is really poor. I got the Ziggy album first time round. It was ace then; it still is. You don't 'get' Bowie, ok, but you obviously haven't been listening properly - Station to Station, Low, Heroes, Lodger, Heathen - those are all great albums. Not to mention Man Who Sold the World, Hunky Dory, Ziggy, Aladdin Sane... wow. But thanks for the Welsh language article anyway!

arnold payne 7:17 pm, 15-Feb-2013

Brilliant and insightful analysis. I can see a whole series of these articles coming - Lou Reed - boring old curmudgeon; Bob Marley - too stoned to learn more than 3 chords; Led Zeppelin - overcompensating for their tiny penises; The Stone Roses - pub rock at it's worst; The Clash - whining grammar school boys...

DC 8:00 pm, 17-Feb-2013

I'm with you Tom. I realise vastly in the minority, but I just haven't ever been able to listen to Bowie, he leaves me cold, him, his voice and his songs. Ashes to Ashes is perhaps the only song that I can think of that moves me in anyway, other than flipping the remote control. And yes, I've been through alot of his back catalogue and "Best of" to try and get what everyone seems to think is brilliant. Thanks,

TheProgster 11:43 pm, 19-Mar-2013

Totally Agree Bowie Is CRAP Yes he is Crap he depends on all this theatrical crap then his plain look for the new album is let down by the total rubbish music he releases to go with it...do your self a huge favour and listen to artists like Mark Knopfler, Justin Hayward, Chris De Burgh who don't rely on stupid theatrical image crap but just deliver quality music no thrills but oh so much better music.

Daniel 1:05 am, 30-Mar-2013

The article is spot on. Bowie'a "art" was essentially the "science" of marketing which he cynically perfected. When evaluated critically, as opposed to blind adoration amongst the faithful, and stripped of the superficial style, Bowie is nothing more than a highly derivative middle of the road crooner who used fashionable gimmicks as means to push his product on to an ill-informed and naive record buying public. As a marketing phenomenon, he is no different in essence from other overrated "arists" like Elvis, The Beatles and Michael Jackson.

Jimberg 3:54 pm, 23-Apr-2013

Great article. I'd never liked the handful of Bowie singles I'd heard, but I finally relented and bought the three-disc platinum collection. 57 songs, the equivalent of five whole studio albums' worth of Bowie's very best. Apparently. Really, I don't get it. The hooks and songs just aren't there. Like Kiss - who don't get the critical support Bowie does - the image seems to be the draw, not the actual music. We all have our opinions, sure, but mine is that Bowie built a brand due to outlandish characterisations, and really can't write songs. The fact that writers I do enjoy - Freddie Mercury, Morrissey, Damon Albarn, Kate Bush, Phil Oakey - seem to worship Bowie baffles me even more.

John Stevo 6:30 pm, 9-Aug-2013

What a sensational piece. I understand you like getting a rise out of people, but this is just ill informed nonsense. Idiot.

Dub breath 6:17 pm, 11-Sep-2013

Anyone with an opinion has to back it up with their own preferences of their musical tastes before anyone can grasp where one is coming from. A collection of Rick Ashley records does not a music critic make. Show us your balls.

josh 9:43 pm, 11-Sep-2013

Hi Tom, an interesting piece, any chance you could illuminate a particular point? You open the article claiming Bowie lovers control the media. What give you this impression? Also, what in particular caused you to hate the man so much?

RB 9:51 pm, 11-Sep-2013

I love the way Bowie fans get defensive when someone has the audacity to point out his myriad flaws. He is, and always has been, a complete tit.

Kym Crowley 8:52 am, 12-Sep-2013

And you all fell for it. Heh heh heh...

Stubbsy 10:09 am, 12-Sep-2013

shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up!!!!

gus 5:25 pm, 12-Sep-2013

daniel - david bowie is a 'middle of the road crooner'?? hah. c***t.

Nonentity 6:37 pm, 12-Sep-2013

I was a schoolboy in London during the 70's. If you had called Bowie, Bolan, Who fans, etc, weird and delicate, they would have given you a serious beating. And his hair wasn't ginger.

Mark Jerome 8:31 pm, 12-Sep-2013

My issue with this most lazy piece of writing is the author seems to have an issue with David Bowie's latest album being nominated for the Mercury Prize, but the author gives no indication that they'd actually listened to this album and no critical analysis of said album is given. Instead, we get a meandering rant about what Bowie supposedly means to other people and ad hominem attacks as to why they're wrong. It's juvenile, poorly written, and seemingly created for the purpose of eliciting comments and page clicks. By this example music journalism is most certainly dead.

CMoon 10:18 pm, 12-Sep-2013

I enjoyed the article, which made some pertinent points about these geeks who place "cool" way above "good" when they warble on about their music. I like Bowie, but he's nowhere near the genius the trendies would have us believe, same for Roxy Music too, I believe. What the article also shows is how many Bowie fans seem to lack a sense of humour!

Belieber 4:13 pm, 17-Sep-2013

Couldn't agree more with this article. Justin Bieber has more talent in his left a-cheek then Bowie. Can Bowie bodypop across a stage while miming to his greatest hit? I've never seen it. If he can then maybe I'll reconsider but until that day the reviewer is right - Bieber rules. p.s. Agree with the conspiracy stuff as well and I heard from a mate's mate that Bowie also did the chemical weapons as part of a promotion for the new album that went terribly wrong, don't know the full details but will find out.

Marcus 11:59 am, 18-Sep-2013

Great article. Bowie blows donkey dick. His latest single especially... "where are we now... the moment... you know, you know.. you know" sang over two chords. Yeah, that's some great ass poetry right there brah.

John Griffiths 6:15 pm, 18-Sep-2013

David Bowie has left such an indelible impression on popular music-culture that has yet to be surpassed. His influence can be seen and heard everywhere over the past thirty or more years. The man who singlehandedly shaped fashion, style and trends. Can you say that of anyone else then and now. Bowie's music and style have stood the test of time. We will never see his like again. David Bowie the only true rock god except no other substitute.

Trent 5:46 am, 20-Sep-2013

Bowie is a deluded, Hitler-loving, talentless piece of shit! Smug, self satisfied, arrogant wanker. He has NEVER pioneered a genre, as his acolytes would have you believe. But instead has stumbled across a new style developing, and, because of his already developed 'status' has quickly jumped in, before the genuine pioneers had a chance to climb the 'greasy pole'..... Scary Monsters for instance. God only knows what so many people find in that HORRIBLE whining voice, and meaningless lyrics. And on top of everything else, he's a prick of an human being. This 'Tin Machine' leading twat a 'rock god'?????? Don't make me laugh! Unless karaoke whilst dressed as Coco counts.

col bail 12:29 am, 6-Oct-2013

Pre 80's good, great singing, good songs, but after that something went wrong and sadly he never recovered - he still seems to be stuck in the 80's. ;-( I think he got sucked up by the pretentious art movement that we now simply call the 80's, where skill, talent and style were almost completely eradicated from modern western culture. Luckily things started to pick up in the 90's and we now seem to be back on track.

John Griffiths 3:08 pm, 9-Oct-2013

Back on track. What track might that be then? The unmitigated dross and offal that passes for popular music today. Don't make me laugh.

The Thin White Duke 12:19 pm, 10-Oct-2013

Get a sense of humour everyone!

The Thin White Duke 1:28 pm, 10-Oct-2013

P.S. Anyone who doesn't like Hunky Dory should be shot.

John Griffiths 10:34 am, 11-Oct-2013

Anyone who doesn't like the European Cannon should be shot. Berlin style.

carl 7:36 am, 15-Oct-2013

Tom, you have hit the nail right on the head. Bowie has never been more than a superficial self-promoting publicist, a vapid chameleon whose music never reached the overwrought claims made for it. A well researched and long overdue pricking of this bag of rancid flatulence. It is time that that someone pointed out that the emporer (and his followers) have no clothes and never did. Well said, Sir!

dpat 9:24 pm, 4-Nov-2013

You are my hero! Very well done !Greetings from Greece...

Alex r 4:10 am, 28-Feb-2014

A hateful article by someone who obviously doesn't know a thing about real artistry or real music for that matter , I feel bad for the ones that actually took the time to defend bowies legacy in respond to this piece of crap article when in reality there's no need for it at all. To the fans of bowie and good music in general , don't waste your time replying to this uneducated article and just laugh it off like I did , we should know better that this !

John Griffiths 9:11 pm, 5-Mar-2014

You know Alex r you are so bloody well right. What else have these dull nonentities got to offer apart from dull inane cynicism on the net. I would bet most of these soulless Morlocks weren't even born when Bowie was making his mark. Sadly most of them grew up just listening to the mind numbing deejay in the house vs diva rap bass mix with beats type bollocks that passes for black music or the lilly white bloodless knock-kneed cobblers that is alternative music. Now I will laugh it off!

Archie Fartie 8:50 pm, 24-Apr-2014

I was a big Bowie fan when I was a teenager and I can still listen to those 'golden age' albums again and again. But the lyrics never really stood up to much scrutiny. And he does seem to have been prepared to do anything for success. How else do you explain the leap from the Laughing Gnome to The Thin White Duke. And one of the most embarrassing give-aways is the film of him trying to ingratiate himself with Warhol by doing a terrible mime act at the Factory. Warhol is just yawning and talking to his minions and apparently when Bowie finished all he said was "I like your shoes". Bowie couldn't even make it as a Warhol Superstar.

Veritas 3:11 am, 25-Jun-2014

Generally, I like to give musicians the benefit of the doubt- sure, there are some shite ones, but many are fairly decent and quite pleasurable to listen to. That being said, however, I cannot say I entirely understand the appeal of an artist such as David Bowie, and I don't think I ever will. There isn't anything wrong with being a bit strange as a performer, and I am not suggesting that he isn't talented, but his status now as musical demigod is not entirely deserved. Hs songs are shallow, his style in both writing and dressing/fashion is erratic and non-consistent at best, and his music, while catchy on the surface, is definitely not the be-all and end-all. This is all subjective, though, and people will say what they will. It goes for both sides, though: superfan or not, we are all fully entitled to our opinions, and should leave each other well enough alone. Thank you.

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