"Once there were mountains on mountains and once there were sunbirds to soar with and once I could never be down" - David Bowie, Station to Station
With the welcome arrival in cinemas of the excellent documentary Moonage Daydream it’s a good time to talk Bowie. To be honest for me anytime is a good time. I am a Bowie fanatic. My story I'm sure is not too dissimilar to many others. DB reached out to me across oceans and nations to impact my adolescent life in an obscure Hobart suburb at the bottom of Australia. In fact Hobart's poorest and toughest suburb called Warrane. But when Bowie's latest 70s vinyl masterpiece spun on the turntable in my bedroom I was always transported to a world of astonishing potentials. Anything seemed possible.
Each Bowie album released in the 70s - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Diamond Dogs, Low, Heroes and his other unique and powerful artistic statements - was an event we fans anticipated breathlessly. We also must include 1980's gem Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) in any list of Best Bowie Albums. Yes, these were the golden years of Bowie's groundbreaking innovation. And the years when my own Bowie-inspired rock star dreams came tantalisingly close to fruition. But I’ll keep that story for another time.
Suffice to say I was at the beginning of my soon to be fruit-bearing stand up comedy career when in 1983 a new record deal and the release of the Let's Dance album was starting to bring Bowie mainstream mega-stardom and money, lots of it. I'm sure I wasn't the only early adopter who felt the new fans of the 80s onward didn't really understand David. No, not the way I did.
And although ensuing decades produced the occasional Bowie song that was equal in stature to the works of the artist at the height of his powers these songs were few in number. He had set the bar bloody high after all. I remember, when I attended the tour promoting the Reality album in 2004 in Sydney, Bowie finished a song off his new album and received a response just a notch above polite applause. "I know," he said to the audience in a tone of resignation and just a smidge of annoyance, "let's hear the old ones."
My theory is that Bowie had become by then a very happy man who lived a comfortable life sweetened by rewarding relationships with his wife and children. A great place to be but maybe not the most fertile soil for the type of culture-challenging creativity that had fuelled his earlier productivity.
But with the release of his 2013 album The Next Day it was clear that Bowie’s creative call had not only endured but had found new depths of expression. He was focused on subject matter that again extracted the best from his creative juices, namely mortality, sickness and death. This 70s Bowie fan felt like he was experiencing the full force of David's singular gifts once more. Bowie further explored the expiration of life and the prospects of an afterlife in the superb Blackstar, his 26th and final album released two days before liver cancer brought the curtain down on his extraordinary creative journey.
Without doubt in his mid to late 60s Bowie starkly and dramatically illustrated the power of a creative human being to go even deeper into the modes of self-expression that we recognise as authentic and unique to that individual. The gifts he gave us in those later years bookended an incredible legacy and serve as irrefutable proof that anyone can make their creativity endure and come alive at any age in new and wonderful ways.
Like Bowie, we too have unique creative gifts that have the potential to powerfully enliven and enrich our lives and the lives of those around us.
The key question is - are we currently connecting with the power of our creative call? Whatever that call is it is time to answer it today!
Creatively Yours, Anthony
Anthony Ackroyd, CEO Creative Call
P.S. Leave me a comment - who is your creative hero?
©Anthony Ackroyd 2022