Book Review: The Age of Bowie, by Paul Morley

Paul Morley is an aficionado of British Contemporary music, putting together this detailed history of legendary David Bowie, who passed away earlier this year.

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Paul Morley is an aficionado of British Contemporary music, a founding member of The Art of Noise and promoter of Frankie Goes to Hollywood – and, like so many, a passionate devotee of David Bowie. For most of his career he has written for music papers, including NME, and now writes for The Guardian.

In 2013, Morley was artistic adviser on the Victoria & Albert Museum’s ‘David Bowie is…’ – a photographic and iconic display of the many moments and identities of this musical chameleon.

the-age-of-bowie200On the morning of 10 January 2016, Morley awoke to a flood of texts and voicemails from TV and radio shows, requesting his commentary on the passing of David Bowie, aged 69 – and, like the rest of Britain, he was stunned, shocked and dismayed. Now, just 7 months after the passing of the rock ‘n’ roll legend, Morley has released his critique: The Age of Bowie: How David Bowie Made a World of Difference.

It begins with a preface and introduction that are so very personal, one could be forgiven for feeling you’ve intruded on a personal reflection, mired in grief and loss, wondering if leaving would be rude or appropriate. Once you’ve moved through the personal reflection, we enter an almost clinical review of the life of the man who went from being Davie Jones (a name that could not be used, due to the The Monkees lead singer having cornered it) to David Bowie.

The book then begins with an exploration of the early years – the bands, influences and influencers – are a Who’s Who? of the scene; moving through the decade that defined David Bowie (if such a thing can be said of the man) – the 70s; and concluding with the later years, the exhibition, the final album Blackstar, and the foreshadowing video for the single, Lazaru’.

The Age of Bowie is an intensely detailed read, which varies in writing style and structure, particularly the ‘Bowie is…’ narrative of the defining decade. Informative and, at times, emotional and personal, this is a fitting text, for the detail-oriented Bowie fan.

Reviewed by Glen Christie

Rating out of 10:  7

Released by: Simon & Schuster Australia
Release Date: August 2016
RRP: $45 hardcover, $22.99 paperback, $16.99 eBook

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