some cross-references between bowie's diamond dogs and samuel r. delaney's dhalgren.
First off, diamond dogs and dhalgren both came out the same year (i heard dhalgren came out after diamond dogs somewhere, and i don't know the exact dates. but my copy says the first edition came out in 74.) i haven't heard/read of bowie ever saying he even read the novel, my info just comes from other bowie fans who have seen similarities.
Both take place in a rather ominous city, covered in fog. Bowie's Hunger City and Delaney's Bellona have much in common with one another. Dhalgren includes a few instances of people who seem to be wearing red contacts, and others (called scorpions) who have devices that allow them to project holograms around themselves. "Future Legend" : "And red mutant eyes gazed down on Hunger city." On page 806 of Dhalgren, there is a strange snippet of text "penticle pie and hungar city." "Diamond Dogs" :"Come out of the garden baby, you'll catch your death in the fog." Calkins, an eccentric fellow who writes the daily newspaper (which is often embellished, and never has the proper date on it) has 12 gardens named after the months of the year. They throw a party for Kid (main character) at Calkin's house. "there's a bar at the end where I can meet you and your friend." Especially early in the book, Kid often is at a bar called Teddy's where they have a dancing go go boy, and he meets a lot of people there. "wrote up scandals in other bars..." "spreading rumours and lies and stories they made up." Calkins' not-always-the-truth journalism?
"...split into small tribes coveting the highest of the sterile skyscrapers." The scorpions, a sort of gang (tribe?) that is rumoured to provide protection for people but doesn't really, all have a sort of necklace that projects a hologram of something, for example a dragon, lizard, bird, or frog. "Rock n roll with me" : "lizards lay crying in the heat.." "Diamond Dogs" : "...I know you're not protected for it's plain to see..." There are a few scenes in Dhalgren that involve a large department store called Emboriky's. People apparently live in it, and the scorpions make a "run" there jsut before Kid (the main character) becomes the leader of the scorpion "nest."
"Diamond Dogs" : "dressed like a priest you was, Todd Browning's freak you was..." This is a bit loose, but there is a scorpion called Priest, and there is a female preacher called Reverend Amy.
"The elevator's broke so he slides down a rope.. Oh Tarzie go man go" Kid retrieves the dead body of a boy named Bobby who has fallen down an elevator shaft by climbing down a rope. The boy has an older brother nicknamed Tarzan who is in Kid's "nest."
"It's got claws, it's got me, it's got you." Kid often wears a weapon called an orchid, which seems kind of like a Freddy Krueger claw/glove with knives on it.
so the hypothesis is this:
Kid = Halloween Jack ("his little hussy" = Lanya?)
Bellona = Hunger City
Certainly, even if it is marginally correct, Diamond Dogs could only be loosely related to the book. Even less so perhaps than Orwells' 1984. Also I must note that the first half of the album (future legend through rnr with me) seem to remind me of dhlgren, and the second half (we are the dead through big brother(plus dodo if i may include ryko bonuses)) remind me (and everyone else in the world, since it's so blatant) of 1984.
so anyway, i'd be interested in feedback on the matter by anyone who's read dhalgren and is perhaps psychotically obsessed with diamond dogs (or not). even if just to tell me i'm plumb crazy... ;0)
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