Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dear David Bowie

And so you're back from outer space.
I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face.
I should have changed that stupid lock,
I should have made you leave your key,
If I'd known for just one second you'd be back to bother me.

"I Will Survive" written by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris, performed by Gloria Gaynor (1979)
by Dick Mac

Dear David:

Welcome back!

I thought you'd never return.

I loved Tuesday's headlines:  "David Bowie Returns After Ten Years In Outer Space"!

How was outer space?

The last couple years of being a David Bowie fan have been lonely without you, but somewhat amusing.  Pictures of you walking with a shopping bag appeared.  I was particularly fond of the shot where you were discreetly flipping the bird to the photographer.

God knows you've given all of us enough memories to last a lifetime.

I had resigned myself to your retirement.

In the ten years since you've been gone, a lot has changed:

This internet thing (that you leveraged so successfully in the last century) is huge and is now even in grade school classrooms.  I know people who get all their television, movies and phone calls over the internet.  Well, I guess I do - but I still like the old way of doing those things, too.   Do you still have that Betamax?

And mobile phones!   Have you seen them?  Amazing what they do now.  I'll bet at least ten thousand views of your new video have been on a mobile phone.  Really!  Grown people hunched over a tiny 4" screen with the sound delivered through ear buds.  The sound and picture quality are amazing.  If they didn't have these in the part of outer space you were visiting, I suggest you check them out.

My wife and I had a daughter, shortly after the Reality show at Madison Square Garden.  Did you select Macy Gray as the opening act?  I adore her work (and I love her mental state, too).

After that show, I wrote:  "His conversations with the audience were animated and humorous. He was frisky, and sexy, and flirtatious. He was butch and femme, cowboy and drag queen, a little bit street and a little bit regal. He's a man's man and a big queen!"  I stand by that.  And I've missed you.

And now you've returned with that sad look upon your face.

In 2007, I arrived at my daughter's pre-school to pick her up.  They had had a music and dance session.  The teacher selected "The Jean Genie" and, according to the teacher, my daughter danced like a banshee and knew almost all the words to the song.  The teacher and I bonded that day: thanks to you.  Again!

The following year, I entered my daughter's room and she was listening to "Rebel, Rebel."  I cannot tell you how it feels (because I do not any words to describe it) to hear your toddler sing:  " . . . you've got your queue line and a handful of 'ludes . . . "!

I panicked, I interrupted and said:  "No, Boo, the line is "queue line and a handful of food . . . '"!  Totally lame, I know, but I was in a panic and "food" seemed like a good substitute.

"No daddy," she explained in a serious and officious tone, "it's handful of 'LUDES."

I shrugged my shoulders, smiled inside and out, and decided it wasn't a big deal.

She's a huge Bowie fan, and if you do a show in NYC, I will do my utmost to get her there.

What else?  I changed jobs.  We bought a huge apartment in Brooklyn and no longer live in Manhattan.  It was hard to accept at first, but I quite like it now.  I received a medal from the Bishop of Brooklyn for my service to the community.  My brother, who said your Staten Island show was the best rock concert he had ever seen, became a grandfather.  Some people died.

Rex Ray (rexer) has become really famous (he even has a fan club on Facebook), and then Elizabeth (leeza) got married.  Myriam (mask) has done some big shows and her work continues.  Jim (floidoip) well  . . . he adored you and you let him title his book "Up The Hill Backwards" which was very generous of you.  I've only talked to Mark (blammo) a few times while you were gone.  What a great guy!  After decades of saying no, Helen (helen2) became an American, but you don't have to be afraid of her.  Kelly-Marie (kelmar) moved to Vegas.  Of course she did.

And now your back!

(c) Jimmy King
I am so happy to see you used that picture of you and Burroughs in a current photo.  In 1974, I got that issue of Rolling Stone and was flabbergasted by it.  I had no idea who William Burroughs was, but at 16, it was time to read him.  Thank you for that.  For awhile I had a similar picture of the two of you pinned to my wall.  Maybe it was a copy of that one.

The original Plastic Ono Band reformed (with Sean Lennon substituting for John) and did a couple shows.  Yoko has formed a new Plastic Ono Band.  The only weird part is that sometimes Sean  looks just like his father and it really shakes me up.  You should see Plastic Ono Band.  Really.  Lori (cavebat) and I sat in front of Danny DeVito when they performed for the Japan tsunami fundraiser.

Yeah, that happened, too, while you were away:  an earthquake in Japan caused a devastating tsunami.  Look for the footage, it's incredible!

New York got struck by a superstorm (sort of like a hurricane, but not named a hurricane to allow insurance companies to say there was no hurricane and blame all the damage on flooding - everyone is covered for a hurricane, but many do not have flood insurance).  Your neighborhood was blacked-out for quite a while.  But, we're New Yorkers! Storm?  It's only weather!

Where did you go?  Did you get BBC, CNN or Fox News out there?

What happened recently, in 2012, that might interest you?

Barack Obama was re-elected as President.  Does this mean he is also the second black President?

In Burma, Aung San Suu Kyi was elected in a landslide.

We Occupied Wall Street.  After a worldwide financial meltdown, protesters took to the streets all over the world to demand changes to the financial system.  They ignored us and the media pays little attention now that the police are finished beating the shit out of a bunch of young Americans.  It's embarrassing.  The laws of finance have been so rigged against the bottom of the food chain that hunger and homelessness are pervasive throughout the States.  The Occupied movement is trying to mobilize again.  Perhaps you could lend them some support (or give them some money).

The Arab Spring has lasted quite a few seasons now, and last year Syria really fell apart.  It's a mess.

London hosted the Olympics.  Queen Elizabeth II (yes, she is still alive) made a James Bond short movie with Daniel Craig.  It was charming.  It ended with her parachuting into the stadium.

Gay couples can now get married in many states.  You know, I think almost all couples are gay when they get married.  That's the perfect adjective for how couples feel and act at their wedding.  Gaiety is a nice thing.  Anyway, same-sex couples can get married in a lot of states now.

Members of Pussy Riot, a girl rock band in Russia, have been imprisoned for their political actions and ant-establishment stance.  Things are not good in Russia.

A new dance craze from Korea took over and the song is played everywhere.  Now that you've been back a few days, you've probably heard it.  It persists.

While you were floating in a tin can, as you do, wherever you went, we managed to land a vehicle on Mars.  The Mars Rover.  Pretty cool.

The President made a valiant effort to create a health care system so that there wouldn't be as many Americans with untreated illnesses.  The Democrats basically implemented the system the Republicans presented in 1994.  It was a bad plan in 1994, and it's just as bad as a Democratic plan in 2013.  But it's something, and perhaps the dialog can shift to finding a way to ensure health care for all Americans.

While you were travelling through space, a guy named Felix Baumgartner flew to the edge of space and jumped to Earth.  He jumped a long way.  It was amazing.

Yeah!  A lot's happened while you were gone.

Tony Visconti says that you worked on your new album for two years.  He's a good guy, Tony: kind, intelligent, and talented.  Did you like his book?  Yeah, he wrote a book while you were away.  It's really good.  He mentions you in a few places and you are in some of the pictures.

Two years!  That's a long time to keep something confidential.  There was a brief time a year-or-so ago, when a rumor surfaced that you were recording.  It faded away.

Tony said something about you being Adam Ant about not touring for the new record.  I didn't know you were Adam Ant.  Perhaps he meant that Adam Ant performs on the new record?  I don't know:  but everyone says your Adam Ant about not touring.  It's all so confusing.

I downloaded the single first thing Tuesday morning.  The "download" concept has been embraced and grown incredibly while you were away.  If you could figure out how to download physical objects, you'd be as acclaimed as Einstein.  Just get into your Thomas Newton mode and whip something up.  Did you know that I had a boyfriend named Thomas Newton?  Newton was actually his middle name, but when I started dating him, he wore a small pin on his jacket with your picture from the cover of Low: a picture of Thomas Newton.

Alicia Keys released a great song about New York, and then Jay-Z used it as the chorus for his next song.  Both are very good.  My team plays it after the match.  It's more fun to hear "Empire State of Mind" than yet another go-through of Frank Sinatra singing New York, New York."

I suggest you download the Alicia Keys record.  It's very good.  You can get it on iTunes.  Is your iTunes account under the name "sailor"?

Everybody misses sailor.

I've done my best to influence my daughter's musical taste.  She was listening mostly to kiddie songs, and Dusty Springfield became her first adult favorite.  I was relieved it wasn't Sting. One weekend I was watching my new "Live Aid" DVD.  She walked in and out, and always noted the guys she thought were cute.  I think the first to get the nod was Paul Weller, who performed early in the show.   Anyway, she wandered in one time just as your performance began.  You looked striking in those days:  that hair, those suits.  I forget which song you were singing when she asked, breathlessly - yes, really, breathlessly, with her hand on her heart - "Who's that?"

Phew!  What a relief.  You went right to the top of the list of her faves, and I told her some fun stories about going to your concerts.

She's growing-up, of course, and now her musical taste includes boy bands with adorable lead singers.  Make sure you check out the lead singer of the band One Direction.  I think he looks like a young David Johannsen and every time I see him I think:  "Put some make-up and a dress on that kid and you could re-launch the New York Dolls."

I told my daughter about Bowienet, too.  She knows many of my Bowienet friends her entire life, and they come to her birthday party each year.

Ahhhh, Bowienet.

Remember the beginning of Bowienet?  Before the discussion boards, when all we had was chat and news and email.  I made friends through Bowienet.  Good friends, lifelong friends.  Many thanks to you for Bowienet.  It kind of fizzled, but you should be proud of that site, the community it spawned, and the impact it had on the development of artists and the web.  You were the guy who started it.  Nobody did it as well.  Get it back up and running so we can all join again.

Now you're back from outer space.

The new song is hauntingly beautiful.  I like the video a lot.  I reserve judgment on the cover until the official release date; because, you've made-up things before and surprised everyone later.  Will you release another song before March?  If we still had Bowienet, you could release one just to us!  Feel free to send me a cut to the email address at this blog.  Or, my Yahoo account.

Facebook is sort of like your old discussion boards with more interactive media options.  It's very public, so people are always getting in trouble by saying something or posting a picture that nobody should see.  Maybe you were able to connect from outer space.  Can you connect to the web from outer space?  Are you a sailor on Facebook?

Soccer (football) is actually becoming popular in the States.  It's on mainstream television and there are like twenty teams in the league (MLS).  Thierry Henry (Yes!  THAT Thierry Henry!) plays for New York, and David Beckham played for Los Angeles.   Some big names are coming from Europe.  It's been exciting.

My daughter is a huge Red Bull New York supporter, and has been a season ticket holder for five years.  The upcoming season being her sixth.  Last season she went on her first away trips.  We traveled to see our team play in New England and Philadelphia. It was exciting.

If you want to go to a match, we can get tickets for you.  Just say the word and we'll go.  Bring your daughter.  I would say we should bring wives, but mine will only attend if Beckham is playing.  So, we'll do it with our kids.  I usually drive to the stadium, and it's nothing to swing by and collect you.  In fact, the gas station across the street from your downtown place is where I get gas in Manhattan on our way, if I've forgotten to get it in Brooklyn.  So, really, it's no bother to swing by and pick-up you guys.

How is outer space?

Did you go far?  I know there's a lot of trash circling Earth, the detritus of our space exploration.  Now and then a piece falls to Earth.  Remember the Devo song "Space Junk"?  Are there other planets that have made a mess of their world?  I've always envied your astronaut persona, with the space travel, and cool songs, and accolades.  You really are a cowboy out there!

Did you find any of your music in other places?

Someone in Europe published a list of your 23 studio studio albums, ranking them from best to worst.  That caused quite a stir on Facebook.  I decided to create the same list but in order of best cover art.  You can find it on my Facebook page.

Bowinetters have a group on Facebook,  Roger (RogInLA) started it and maintains it.  He has made an alphabetical list of Facebook users and their Bowienet names.   Lots of people are there, including some old friendly faces.  You should join us.

Ten years in outer space.  Nobody should be surprised.

Americans have gone bat-shit over guns.  You're a cowboy, so you know about these things.  Cowboys are always so respectful of their guns.  Most Americans with guns don't treat guns with the respect they deserve.  It's surprising how easy it is to get one.  As you may have suspected, most of the killings are in suburban and rural areas.  The crime rate in New York City keeps going down.  Thank God for cities, especially cities with strict gun laws!

Anyway, it's good to have you back.  I hope you'll do some interviews, maybe even a television appearance.  If you do a TV appearance, be certain to have blammo give you the list of attendees.  He knows whom to invite.

I know you are not going tour to promote the album, and I understand.  It's exhausting enough spending ten years traveling through space.

But, you're back!

If you do decide to do one show for us, please give us plenty of warning so folks can fly over from Europe (and other places).  It would be swell to see you at Roseland again.  Carnegie Hall is nice, too.  Just not the Garden, please.

Well . . . I guess that's it for now.

Welcome back.

Let me know if you need anything.

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