Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Writing/Imagining/Using Bowie

Wiseman-Trowse, N. J. B. (2017) Writing/Imagining/Using Bowie. Invited Keynote presented to: Bowie's Books: David Bowie and Literature, The University of Northampton, 13-14 January 2017.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Invited Keynote)
Abstract: If David Bowie has been recognised throughout his career as a pop chameleon, shifting identities and absorbing a myriad of cultural influences and styles, one might see ‘him’ as a difficult subject to pin down. Given his career spanning half a decade’s worth of rampant pop cultural change and hybridity, his status has consistently been assessed and reassessed through many different types of media, but most specifically for this paper, through the written word, from the weekly music press to the many biographies and appraisals of his life and work that have appeared in print. This paper assesses the variety of ways of understanding Bowie as experienced through those who wrote about him, considering Bowie not just as someone who makes music, but rather as an intersection between a material musician / artist and a literary rendition of that musician / artist through an intensely complex series of perspectives and uses. Bowie in print may be as chimerical as Bowie’s public persona, both engaging with and confounding ‘genre worlds’ in a way that perhaps may give the reader some illumination, or the writer some means of articulating their own experiences. Whether it does anything for David Robert Jones may be another matter. In this sense I want to understand David Bowie, through the writing about him, as a literary fiction, one facilitated by certain forms of written music discourse at certain historical moments. How might writers such as diverse as Wilfred Mellers, Lester Bangs, Jon Savage, Simon Frith, Philip Norman and countless others, create this ‘fictional’ Bowie, and to what ends?
Uncontrolled Keywords: David, Bowie, David Bowie, popular music, music, literature
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature on music > ML3469 Popular music > ML3534 Rock music
Creators: Wiseman-Trowse, Nathan J B
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: Faculties > Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology > Journalism, Media & Performance
Date: 13 January 2017
Date Type: Publication
Event Title: Bowie's Books: David Bowie and Literature
Event Dates: 13-14 January 2017
Event Location: The University of Northampton
Event Type: Conference
Language: English
Status: Published / Disseminated
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