What made Bowie special? What made him the cultural icon he is today? And what made millions of people around the world tune into his peculiar wavelength and find exactly what they'd been looking for all along? These are the questions asked by Simon Critchley in this keen-eyed, moving and textured tribute to Bowie. Each of the two dozen deceptively short chapters looks at Bowie from a new angle, slowly unfolding the enigma that was his artistic life into a celebration of what made him unique. From the author's earliest childhood exposure to the bizarre musical and sexual contours of Ziggy Stardust right through to the supernova glow of Blackstar, and covering everything in between, Critchley traces the development of Bowie's music and lyrics to tell the story of how he tapped into zeitgeist - and into our hearts. Growing up in working-class suburban England, the young Critchley was instantly drawn to this creature from another planet, 'so sexual, so knowing, so strange'. Now a celebrated philosopher who Jonathan Lethem has called 'a figure of quite startling brilliance', Critchley draws on a plethora of cultural and philosophical touchpoints, as well as his own intensely personal response to the music, to paint an essential portrait of Bowie as songwriter, poet, performer and icon.
An appreciation of David Bowie - artist, lyricist, performer, icon
A magnificent and deceptively slim book, in which no essay takes longer to read than it would take to listen to a Bowie song, but in which there is a cumulative sense of revelation as regards what made Bowie special, and why it is that his work seems to yield more, the more time you spend there. The book is delightful, highly readable ... funny, moving and passionate -- Rick Moody Salon Simon Critchley beguiles as he illuminates. -- David Mitchell Simon Critchley is a figure of quite startling brilliance, and I can never guess what he'll do next, only that it is sure to sustain and nourish my appetite for his voice. -- Jonathan Lethem
Simon Critchley has published books on a wide expanse of ethical and philosophical subjects, including the bestselling The Book of Dead Philosophers, and cult novel Memory Theatre. He is Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York, and series moderator of 'The Stone', a philosophy column in The New York Times.