David Bowie’s RICOCHET: Serious Moonlight Tour Documentary (directed by Gerry Troyna, 1983)

It’s a terrific piece of film making. It’s like the documentary Chris Marker never made about Bowie (without Marker’s somewhat distracting voice-overs) - here seen sporting his platinum blonde look from Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.

Amidst some cool modernist neon-lit shots taken in South-East Asia, Bowie seem to be feeling post-colonialist guilt/white man’s anxiety for becoming rich overnight in the wake of Let’s Dance.

As he arrives in his home country (hmm, Hong Kong) and engages with his fellow British citizens from the Far East, Bowie comes across as a faux James Bond, or a strange parody of it (there’s talk and more anxiety about the future HK handover in 1997).

The juxtaposition of Bowie, an always sleek and seductive figure - and self-aware of it - with the still underdeveloped, shabby Third World backgrounds shown in the pictures works wonders. There it is, Western sleekness plonked right in the middle of the action - just like the Superman III billboard in the middle of Bangkok, advertising a visually sleek Hollywood vehicle made for American mass audiences which was sold around the world to people who don’t have the shared cultural experiences (and income) to know what is going on.

So I guess the point here is that wealth is in part created by sleek imagery (i.e., marketing), which allows to sell crap to people who don’t have the means to buy it (whether they’re from economically developed places or not). It’s also a recurring theme in the film, as with the HK boys who have to sell their record collection to buy a ticket for the Bowie gig - and with Bowie himself acknowledging his tickets cost too much for the local audiences.

At least Bowie is somehow dealing with his post-colonial guilty. Most pop musicians wouldn’t (specially the British)(and also those Scottish ones who used to be on Creation Records).

However, Bowie commits a faux pas when asked by an HK (Chinese) reporter about his fascination with the East (which here can be interpreted as “China) to which Bowie responds: “Yes, I like Kabuki”. Adding to the confusion, China Girl is a song Iggy Pop wrote about a Vietnamese girl…

Anyhow, I have been to those places and I love them all in their own different way. By now, HK and Singapore have made it - they graduated to developed nation-state (city) status. But Thailand is still lagging behind. It’s funny because the world now seems to be filled with “developing” nations - which used to be called Third World, when the hierarchy was more rigid. Now any nation can have the status of “wanna-be rich”. Which means that chasing the carrot is in-built into the system. Can you imagine if all places in the world were “developed” and all people didn’t struggle, would that be the end of history?

Maybe Thailand is too Buddhist to be fully economically developed - not a bad thing. And even though we see Bowie keeping his cool and detached façade throughout the show, he eventually decides to get in touch with his spirituality somewhere in, appropriately enough, Thailand (I don’t know much about that Thai Buddhist ceremony he took part in but I’m curious about it).

That’s another funny contradiction, since the 80s were the time when he, and everyone else, were focusing on becoming tycoons. As a matter of fact, he once stated that “Japan would make him to zen to write” - meaning that he’d rather have a successful artistic career than following a path of enlightenment.

But maybe all those mixed feelings of anxiety were getting to him. But film ends with a lively performance of Fame, which is the path he decided to follow. 

I have a new gallery up at http://dzima.net/photo made up of images which are are a part of my video/internet artwork which is on exhibition at the Sydney College of the Arts as of today.

Here’s a link to the work’s website and the video

dzima:

Seeing all this commotion on the internet about LULU made me wonder whether the average Metallica or Lou Reed fan would enjoy Alban Berg’s LULU opera.

The answer is probably not. I wished they had released an atonal noise metal album with John Zorn producing. This is ‘Berlin’ and ‘Metal Machine Music’ vs ‘Kill ‘Em All’ and ‘St. Anger’ and it should have been called ‘Loaded Vienna’.

Are people attacking Lou Reed because he’s breaking the boundaries of ‘good taste’ by going heavy metal? Are people attacking Metallica because they released an album with some old guy impersonating William Shatner yelling poetry over their riffs?

The thing is that indie people and metal heads are conservative and dogmatic in their own ways. And even though I think it’s time for baby boomers to hang up their boots and give more room to the younger generations, I’m glad Lou Reed is still alive and trolling the internet kidz (unlike David Bowie). And Lars Ulrich is always a good laugh to listen to.

This is why I like it: exactly because it’s a “bad” and “failed” experiment. So guess what Pitchfork, this is the best album of the year, the decade, the MILLENIUM. 11.23/10

(via dzimamemorial)

You can buy him for a hundred bucks at JB Hi-Fi today

You can buy him for a hundred bucks at JB Hi-Fi today

THEY LIVE (in television) #22

2007-2013

I Love Australia (when I’m away from her)

Sister Wah - best goddamn noodles ever

finally up and running

That’s what I’m talking about. See you soon.