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Thursday, 4 April 2013

Bowie, Davies, Morrissey

From an interview with Mark Dery, author of 'England My England: Anglophilia Explained':
I’ve written about my Bowie fandom, but Bowie is a special case, since he was always a fervent Ameriphile and is now as American as he once was English. Even the famous snaggletoothed vulpine grin, a dissertation on the limey psyche all by itself, has been replaced by the regulation-issue American smile. Some day soon, nothing will be left of Bromley’s famous son but an accent with the edges filed down, like the Cheshire Cat’s smile hanging in mid-air. By contrast, Ray Davies is unimprovably English, especially the Ray Davies of Arthur and Village Green Preservation Society. And then there’s Morrissey, most of whose music I’m largely indifferent to, but whose quintessentially English eccentricities and piss-taking wit, not to mention charmingly unapologetic narcissism, I fall for without firing a shot.
Mark Simpson has this take on when Bowie changed, he "beat a retreat from his androgyny and bisexuality in the Reaganite ’80s, perhaps in the hope that America would no longer censor him."

Bowie was, last year, reduced to a television advert-like soundbite ('Heroes') at the Olympics, alongside the unfortunate appearance of 'Fashion' in the Closing Ceremony. Appropriate for someone envisioned by Dery as a Cheshire Cat.

Davies, by contrast, saw his 'Waterloo Sunset' lauded as the anthem of London Town.

Reading Dery speak of Morrissey as an eccentric reminds me of his characterisation in the Radio Four impersonation comedy 'The Secret World' (oft repeated on R4+), where he's portrayed as a camply stern protector of the Queen's English, marching into Microsoft to complain of the existence of Favorites (plural) or going mano-a-mano with John Inman. Delightful stuff.

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