On a broadcast of unreleased footage of David Bowie at Glastonbury 2000
The iconography stuns as Bowie resounds back into vision;
An unreleased concert from 2000’s Glastonbury.
The prophet of song form’s return, re-delivering his bright message,
Uniting previously singed souls and kids singing at a perfectly formed
Fifty three. Disbelief in his death is evidenced by this footage,
As his smile and mischief and enviable chic charms the stage.
All mystique cast aside. No troubling salutes. No estrangement.
Just that first boy from Bromley, defining at once, any age.
This surburban son claimed the world, then sold it on, to pretenders.
Apprenticing himself for a decade, before forging that first starred chanson.
Borrowed styles surrendered, he stole from an uncertain future,
Gifting straight to us some of the things we had glimpsed and dreamt
All along. And now he struts, jokes. He smokes, giggling with musicians,
Whose approach shows the music in its spectrum and search fuses well.
After today would be death, preparing its way and rehearsing;
A final album, heart shudders and the slow picking apart of the spell.
No other man lived like this. No other man primed such stages,
Populating them with such figures, with each one of them played by him.
An innovation each year, as the song swirl starred and spurred
Hands and voices. Across a decade the journey that saw acoustic balladry
Harden into the Diamond Dog kept within. Then cocaine and funk pumping fast,
Withdrawing flesh to thin paper. Milk and red peppers feeding an Alien urge
And Film’s call. The shift to electronics, through war. The Ka Do We, coming later,
But featuring there in the darkness as Tony Visconti betrayed his pop star wife
By the wall. Each experience sent from somewhere else to transform him,
Rewriting in a play his own body, by aping John Merrick’s warped frame.
This revolution in skin soon saw him apply glamour’s cover,
To bathe at last in the mainstream and let bright waters and light
Swell his fame. From Space to Spiders, Heroes and an astronaut’s drug
Addiction, his return to earth saw him dancing then glossing the dance
With pure sheen. Primal colours now reigned as his interests wavered,
As if the evolutions he’d charted had woken and walked from the dream.
As he dances now on TV, he seems to be free of abandon. His re-engagement
Through marriage had returned him, in spades, through time’s door.
Which he had framed perfectly, while immediately measuring others,
From Five Years, to ..hours ‘wanking themselves to the floor.’
That slick refinement, that ease after breaking plates, tearing pages,
Echoing Burroughs’ lyrics or approaches to words, conjured much.
He practised all his form could while leaving his mark on perfection,
Influencing a connection in those he touched, close to love.
The way that this film was shot reveals something of the man he was,
Singing. No grand pose was depicted. No remove, or reveal; David Jones.
Who would go on to make his long death great art through the dignity
Granted to it. A Lazarus as we listen. In the silence he’s left we still reel.
Just as his first record spun once,
On an old Dansette in a London
That will be forever lost, along with him.
When such people die, we’re all killed.
David Erdos, October 27th 2018