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BowieTalk
   >> Interpretation
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AdamAdministrator
(acolyte)
04/30/05 00:44 AM
Bowie's Writing Hole  

A quote from Trent Reznor regarding Bowie:

"We had long talks when we were on that tour together. He said to me at one point, 'I don't mean to sound like your dad, but try writing in the third person because you'll find that you'll get yourself out of a hole that i was once in.'

So I began to wonder at what stage of his carrer that Bowie was in this 'hole' and at what stage did he switch to writing in the third person?

And what I think is that it must have been very early in his career (possibly pre his first album) that he wrote almost exclusively in the first person. Looking at the song titles alone:

I Pity the Fool
I Want My Baby Back
Can't Help Thinking about Me
You've Got a Habit of Leaving (me)
I'll Follow You
Glad I've Got Nobody
And I Say To Myself
I Dig Everything
I'm Not Losing Sleep

But perhaps Bowie was also referring to his masterpiece of third person (mis)communication: Space Oddity. This song marked a pivotal point in Bowie's career when his writing brilliance went up several notches.


The Last of the Disco Kings MP3 by Adam D Versus David B

NewFalcon
(absolute beginner )
04/30/05 07:29 AM
Re: Bowie's Writing Hole new [re: Adam]  

Maybe he wasn't referring to that particular method literally. I mean "the third person" itself can be a kind of alter ego (at least for myself). "Give a man a mask and he'll tell the truth". I've often used this strategy when I wanted to write something dealing with "uncomfortable subjects". Though it's only a "one-word" difference, I sometimes got amazing stuff out of that ...

And the world receives yet another crack.The mystery condenses ...

Edited by NewFalcon on 04/30/05 11:14 AM (server time).



riley
(electric tomato)
04/30/05 10:52 AM
Re: Bowie's Writing Hole new [re: NewFalcon]  

I guess writing in 3rd p would give some emotional detachment.. ['that wasn't about me- it's just a story i heared somewhere..'] otherwise if you're pouring an anguished soul into something for the world to hear from the self it'd probably make you too vulnerable.

madness is relative

schizophrenic
(cracked actor)
04/30/05 11:07 AM
Re: Bowie's Writing Hole new [re: riley]  

In reply to:

it'd probably make you too vulnerable.


Or whiny.


And that's what happen when you type while vomiting.

riley
(electric tomato)
04/30/05 11:11 AM
Re: Bowie's Writing Hole new [re: schizophrenic]  

'hours' isn't THAT bad..

madness is relative

jump93
(electric tomato)
04/30/05 12:01 PM
Re: Bowie's Writing Hole new [re: riley]  

No and neither is Morrissey.

__________________________________________
www.mikepowell.cjb.net

Get out of my mind! All of you!!

Dara
(acolyte)
04/30/05 12:28 PM
Re: Bowie's Writing Hole new [re: Adam]  

In reply to:

try writing in the third person because you'll find that you'll get yourself out of a hole that i was once in.'


Very interesting.

One of the problems I think I have with wiggeewag (apart from the acoustic thing, and it's generally whiney white young males music) is that nearly all the songs are written in the first person. I end up thinking "I....I...I...what about me and the rest of us?"

In reply to:

And what I think is that it must have been very early in his career (possibly pre his first album) that he wrote almost exclusively in the first person.


Exactly right, I think. Space Oddity represents a turning point, both the song and the album.

Of course, Bowie usually ends up writing about himself in the end (even when writing about constructed characters), as most writers do (who else can you know better than yourself?). But by shifting to the third person you immediately give something more objectivity and universality. And by going a stage further and creating a character or a persona, Bowie did even more exciting work.

Slan libh,

Dara

"The picture froze, but because it was Peter Ebdon, I didn't realise for a while" Mireille O'Kearney

Emil
(acolyte)
05/03/05 09:37 AM
Re: Bowie's Writing Hole new [re: Adam]  

It's easier to write in third person because you can more easily deal with difficult subjects.
But writing in first person can make it so much more powerful, case in point: Reznor's
I hurt myself today
That's the song Johnny Cash covered, and for a reason, rather than
Ziggy played guitar
or whatever. You'll have to be able to pull it off; perhaps not everybody can do the first-person thing with grace? Perhaps Bowie can't?

Speaking of Bowie and Reznor, I'm afraid of Americans is actually written in first p. and it's long after Space Oddity. But it's not a very emotional lyrics, is it?



Pablo-Picasso
(wild eyed peoploid)
05/03/05 09:49 AM
Re: Bowie's Writing Hole new [re: Emil]  

Well the verses are talking about Johnny in the third person.

A wrong assumption of myself on the part of you.

What I don't understand is why are you stupid?


Emil
(acolyte)
05/03/05 10:03 AM
Shall we count Bowie's I-songs? new [re: Pablo-Picasso]  

Come to think of it, all of Reality is written in first person. Perhaps Bowie has gotten over that "hole" after some fifty-five years of personal development. I think that rule of avoiding first person really says more about who Bowie was at the time. In due time, he might even be able to write a "Hurt".




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