THE important thing to remember is that what’s weird and eccentric to everybody else is perfectly normal for the person who’s doing it. If you’d been brought up on a diet on boiled pencil erasers and stewed shirt-sleeves, living at the bottom of a disused lift-shaft, you would have thought it was quite normal – even though one or two people might think it rather odd. So, for Zowie Bowie, the two-year-old son of one of the most talked-about and controversial figures in the rock business, life is like it’s always been.
But to the rest of us, of course, it sometimes seems unusual. For example, did your father get your first name from a Batman comic? That’s where David got Zowie’s. “I’m going to tell him later he can call himself anything he wants to if he doesn’t like the name.” Well, you can’t say that’s not sensible. And again, if as you stumbled down to breakfast one morning your mother remarked: “Morning, dear. We’re flying to Japan today to see your father in concert. He’s shaved off his eyebrows and drawn thin green lines instead, his hair’s bright red, and he’ll be wearing an iridescent kimono,” you might have the slightest feeling that things weren’t quite normal. But, for Zowie, it’s the way it’s always been. And for him, the way you live is weird!
It’s just that David makes up his own rules. Most people can’t because of the jobs they do. (Try turning up for school in a scant, lurex 1980’s catsuit). Or they simply can’t afford it. But, to David, there are no rules about which are men’s clothes and which are women’s. It’s all down to what you feel like wearing, or what is most suitable. So it might be a suit like the one you couldn’t turn up to school in, or a long, flowing dress, or hardly anything at all! There are no rules for David, so he can wear what he likes. Can’t be bad.
David makes up his own rules about travel as well. He never flies. “I stopped flying a year and a half ago,” he said early this year, “I had too many bad flights. Once the plane’s engines stalled in a storm. I’m waiting for flying saucers.” And when he was on the way back from his recent trip to Japan, his wife Angie even had trouble persuading him to travel by hovercraft!
But all the same, David Bowie enjoys living dangerously. He says “I enjoy living on a tight-rope. It gives me an excitement that I need in life.” And nobody who knows anything about the music business can say that stars have an easy life. The strain is always fantastic. And sometimes it shows: “I have a very strange pain in my right-hand side. I’ve had it for a year. It’s a pain that now has to be taken to a specialist.” David coughs a lot, too. Perhaps that’s the chain-smoking.
David Bowie doesn’t just write some of the most interesting songs of our time, and he doesn’t just sing them with extraordinary passion and sincerity – he also brings the theatre on to the stage. And he knows what some people say about his act. David replies: “It is effeminate and I think it’s shocking. It’s a lot to do with vanity and a lot to do with making people think twice. But I don’t think it’s outrageous. It’s just a more exciting way of looking.”
The world of David Bowie is brightly-coloured, noisy, fast, luxurious, and bizarre. And that’s little Zowie Bowie’s world too. It’s as normal to him as your world is to you. So whatever opinions you might form about Mr. Bowie senior, or anything else for that matter, investigate, meditate, discuss… and then keep an open mind!