Just An Observation Friday March 1st

 The Next Day

Only the beginning of March and it feels as if spring has already arrived with reasonably mild temperatures and a welcome amount of sunshine. Here’s hoping it lasts. March also means that awards season is more or less over and the culmination of these backslapping extravaganzas took place with last week’s Oscar ceremony which was as boring and predictable as I thought it would be. So much so that I never even bothered staying up to watch  or subsequently write about it, so mind numbingly irrelevant was it.

These ceremonies seem to consist of fatuous types rewarding the biggest industry players-those who make the most money- with accolades which allow them to charge ever more exorbitant fees and produce ever more vacuous art. Argo, Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook  were the main contenders and unsurprisingly enough took home several of the main awards although it was more of a surprise that Tarantino’s Django Unchained also took home an award as despite his advancing years and success he is still considered something of an enfant terrible and outsider in Holly wood circles.

Despite this many of my favourite films over the last year didn’t even get a mention –and I have seen countless movies in that space of time- and thus Bullhead, The Hunt, Martha Marcy May Marlene and Untouchable all remain unrecognised amongst mainstream cinemagoers although whether this is a good or a bad thing is up for debate.

Tonight sees Neu! Reekie hold court at Summerhall and already a sell out it looks like being another class show from this always reliable night. BMX Bandits, Miriam Gamble, Scott Hutchison and Ron Butlin are just four of the acts confirmed for tonight’s show  and after missing their Burns night spectacular there is no way I am letting that fate befall me again this month. They also have interesting other extracurricular shows coming up so I will keep you informed as and when I have any details.

Another name to watch out for and catch if you can is Homesick Aldo. I attended a specially invited showcase for him last weekend and apart form being an excellent show it also kick started a few plans into motion so watch this space as they say. Whoever they are!

It seems at the moment we are living very much in David Bowie’s world in the biggest way since the seventies and in a way which seemed unlikely during his artistically moribund eighties or slightly more credible nineties. That a sixty six year old with nearly forty five years in the business is perhaps the most relevant artist in rock and roll at the moment speaks volumes in itself. This week alone sees him on the cover of virtually every leading music magazine as well as almost daily updates on his upcoming new album The Next Day in the Broadsheets and the tabloids alike.

It is certainly a good feeling to have him back in our lives after rumours of ill health and even impending death circulated over the last few years. As I am writing this I am listening to the upcoming album in its entirety and can confirm he sounds very much alive; in fact more than he has done since the late seventies. The title track snarls and sneers its way voraciously showing that the lead off melancholic single ‘Where Are We Now’ was untypical of the albums rockier content and that Bowie could sidestep predictability and wrong-foot us all yet again.

The video for new single ‘Stars Are Out Tonight’ featuring a female model masquerading as his 1975 persona The Thin White Duke plays around with his legacy as well as gender boundaries and androgyny. Tilda Swinton is perfectly cast as his wife-they play an elderly couple whose cosy existence is disrupted when a group of musicians move in next door- and in many ways his female doppelganger with her alien features and haughty demeanour. It is a video which is fumy, weird and full of self referential imagery which is delight for long term fans and newcomers both. The interesting thing about Bowie is that he is a style which never goes out of fashion and this new video and its attendant single certainly prove he has not lost his touch and this is confirmed by the advance sales for the the upcoming V&A exhibition which already looks like being the busiest they have ever had.

As  said before I am listening to the album at the moment- The Next Day, Dancing Out In Space and Stars Are Out Tonight are immediate standouts so far- but will post a review after two or three listens and the songs have started to sink in, as every album requires this at the very least.

So that is me also entering the world of David Bowie yet again and apart from an outing to Neu! Reekie later tonight that is my Friday taken care of.

To hear the new David Bowie album The Next Day follow the following link.


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