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to_dizzy
(crash course raver)
05/23/07 07:47 AM
Scary Monsters: A portrait of the Elephant Man?  

In 1980 Bowie starred in the Broadway production of the Elephant Man, a play about a hideously deformed freak mocked and humiliated in turn of the century London. The same year, Bowie produced his album, Scary Monsters. Is that the Elephant Man on the cover of Scary Monsters? I say it is. Why do I say that?

For three reasons. First of all, the title "Scary Monsters" may refer to the appearance of the elephant man, who was so grotesque he could not travel in polite society.

Secondly, the endless folds of skin of the Pierrot costume suggest the humps, bulges and deformities of the disease John Merrick suffered from.

Last of all, what better figure to represent John Merrick than that of the clown, mocked, laughed at, humiliated, always providing humor for others at his own expense. The expression on Bowie's face implies he has always been a freak, and "they've got me in a corner."

I feel that the cover of Scary Monsters is a portrait of the Elephant Man; Bowie was very influenced by the play he was working on during this time.



ghostlove
(cracked actor)
05/24/07 01:46 AM
Re: Scary Monsters: A portrait of the Elephant Man? new [re: to_dizzy]  

Ohh....so it's like.. a metaphor for...... for stuff.



ziggfried
(acolyte)
05/24/07 04:10 AM
Re: Scary Monsters: A portrait of the Elephant Man? new [re: to_dizzy]  

In 1980, the same year in which Bowie starred in the Broadway production of The Elephant Man, David Lynch directed the motion picture The Elephant Man, starring John Hurt, who starred in the 1984 movie Ninteteen Eighty-Four, based on the George Orwell novel which David Bowie used as the basis for his 1974 album Diamond Dogs. John Hurt also appeared in Hellboy (2004), which was based on a comic book, as was From Hell (2001), which featured an appearance by John Merrick, "The Elephant Man," and co-starred Heather Graham, who appeared in Gus Van Sant's movie Drugstore Cowboy (1989), which features a cameo appearance by William S. Burroughs, who was an influence on the lyrics of David Bowie's 1987 album Diamond Dogs. Burroughs plays a junkie called "Tom the Priest," which is reminiscent of "Major Tom," who is described as "a junkie" in Bowie's song "Ashes To Ashes," which was released in 1980 - the same year in which Bowie was The Elephant Man. Coincidence?

In 1992, David Bowie appeared in David Lynch's film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (which also featured Heather Graham), and Lynch used Bowie's song "I'm Deranged" for his 1997 movie Lost Highway. It is no coincidence that Lynch and Bowie collaborated. John Merrick was grateful to these two men for the sensitivity and depth of understanding they rendered unto him, and in return, his spirit brought them together.



to_dizzy
(crash course raver)
05/24/07 05:17 AM
Re: Scary Monsters: A portrait of the Elephant Man new [re: ziggfried]  

I'm perplexed that you would satirize my post. It is fair to say that Bowie's involvement with the Elephant Man might influence his music during this period.



ziggfried
(acolyte)
05/24/07 05:47 AM
Re: Scary Monsters: A portrait of the Elephant Man new [re: to_dizzy]  

In reply to:

I'm perplexed that you would satirize my post.


Who's satirizing? I am perplexed that you only touched the tip of the iceberg of this whole Elephant Man thing. Consider the following: the Elephant Man was portrayed onscreen by John Hurt, who starred in Nineteen Eighty-Four. The music score for Nineteen Eighty-Four was written and performed by Eurythmics, who had a single hit in 1983 entitled "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)." In the final scene of David Lynch's movie The Elephant Man, John Merrick dies in bed whilst experiencing a "sweet dream." Also, in the 1979 movie Alien (directed by Ridley Scott, whose brother Tony Scott directed Bowie in The Hunger [1983]), John Hurt gives birth to an alien. David Bowie recorded a song in 1984 called "Loving The Alien." The characters in Alien tried to kill the alien - they regarded it as a horrible freak, which is how many people saw John Merrick. In "Loving The Alien," Bowie wants all people - be they those who flock to a Victorian freakshow, or those who pilot a commercial starship in the future - to "love" the aliens.



russellmael
(crash course raver)
05/24/07 05:54 AM
Re: Scary Monsters: A portrait of the Elephant Man new [re: ziggfried]  

I think you should check your dates to_dizzy, and also do a little research.

Cheers mate.



to_dizzy
(crash course raver)
05/24/07 06:46 AM
Re: Scary Monsters: A portrait of the Elephant Man new [re: russellmael]  

I certainly did check my dates, Rosie, 1980 for both works.

Thanks anyway.



KAdministrator
(thunder ocean)
05/24/07 10:54 AM
Re: Scary Monsters: A portrait of the Elephant Man new [re: to_dizzy]  

Scary Monsters was released in 1980. Not recorded in 1980.

"Fishfingers are made of fish?! ... Then I don't like them."
- my brother

SlinkySecrets
(mortal with potential)
05/24/07 01:18 PM
Re: Scary Monsters: A portrait of the Elephant Man new [re: K]  

When was it recorded?



to_dizzy
(crash course raver)
05/24/07 01:35 PM
Re: Scary Monsters: A portrait of the Elephant Man new [re: SlinkySecrets]  

Yes, why hasn't anyone made a coherent point yet? And isn't my post about the album cover?




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