David Bowie: When I live my dream Ghosts in The Machine

Text: Michael Dwyer

He was working on his next thing. Post Blackstar.

I was on a press junket, managed to get absorbed into a small, chummy entourage. One scene was a brightly lit studio/laboratory with technicians tinkering about. (Think the Lodger cover shoot). The other folks were sitting at a noodle bar in the corner. “Lettuce soup or pea-and-lettuce soup?” I chose the latter, then wandered over to where David was playing with a Polaroid camera. He greeted me playfully, framed me up; moved in really close to my face. It was jovial. David Bowie is taking my picture. I’ll treasure this photo. But he laughed and lowered the camera before he took the shot. Another scene, the two of us alone now. Walking through empty streets at night, a film set after the rain. Eerie buildings looming in exaggerated perspective. (Think the Ziggy Stardust cover). A bit embarrassed, but I knew I’d kick myself if I didn’t ask. David, you know my band, the Thin White Ukes? He was looking grey and frail, but purposeful. (Think the inside profile shot on Blackstar). “Yes, I do.” So what do you think about it? “I don’t think about it,” he shrugged. “I’m more interested in finding my…” and the word he used was something like “crieur”. With my limited French, I wondered if it had something to do with a cry, a shout. “Like a kookaburra,” he elaborated, sensing my confusion. “Hopefully something that other people can use.” I woke up and asked my wife if there was such a word in French. “Yes. It means town crier.” I told her the whole dream. She said, “Did you hear those kookaburras outside?” Uh, I guess I must have. See you next time David.


‘Ghosts in the Machine’ is a regular column dealing with the unique and intimate ways that artists become iconic figures in our life. We are open to submissions of 200-300 words.


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