I’m not sure when I first heard David Bowie, but I became a fan when he put out the Scary Monsters album. Ironically, that was the last album of his I ever really cared much about. The stuff he put out after that wasn’t bad — well, other than “Modern Love,” yuck! It just didn’t have much meaning for me. Instead, I dug back into his past from there.
Bowie wasn’t punk, but he was important to the punks. He was one of a handful of pre-punk artists who you could still get away with admitting you liked when the punk rock rejection of everything that had come before was in full swing. After all, he’d known that Iggy was cool before anyone else.
Bowie wasn’t gay. You don’t marry Iman if you’re gay. But he made it OK to be gay. He took a lot of shit for wearing dresses in public and dropping hints that he might be gay at a time when such a stance could get you killed. That was brave and it was important.
Just a few days before we lost David Bowie, we also lost Lemmy Kilminster of Motorhead. I’m grateful to have gotten to see Motorhead once in concert, a show in Austin a couple/few years ago.
Like Bowie, Motorhead was one of the few pre-punk bands you could still admit to liking when the punks hated everything that wasn’t punk. An Akron/Cleveland hardcore band called Agitated used to play Ace of Spades. I subbed as their bass player when the band reunited in 2005 and their original bassist refused to perform.
Lemmy and Bowie were alike in that they didn’t fear the future. So many others of their generation either were scared by punk or made really pathetic attempts at aping whatever they thought punk was (remember Billy Joel’s “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”? The Chipmunks and the Pink Panther understood punk better.) As I got older that was important to me as a lesson that you didn’t need to get completely out of touch as fashions changed and new generations came of age.
For a long time Lemmy hung out at the Rainbow Bar and Grill on Sunset Boulevard playing video games. I’ve never been to the Rainbow and always figured one day I’d stop in and see if Lemmy was there. I probably wouldn’t have said anything to him. It’d have just been cool to see him there. I never did that and I regret it now.
I’ll just leave it at that. There are better eulogies than these for both men. I just felt like writing a few of my own memories. Thanks for listening.
Maybe we’ll sing “Space Oddity” together after zazen tonight at 8pm in Silver Lake (see info below).
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January 17, 2016 11:00am Los Angeles Against the Stream 4300 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029
February 3, 2016 Ventura, California Ventura College
March 5, 2016 Austin, Texas Austin Zen Center
April 22, 2016 New York, New York Interdependence Project
April 23, 2016 Long Island, New York Molloy College “Spring Awakening 2016”
October 23-28, 2016 Benediktushof Meditation Centrum (near Würzburg, Germany) 5-Day Retreat
Every Monday at 8pm there’s zazen at Silverlake Yoga Studio 2 located at 2810 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039. Beginners only!
Every Saturday at 10:00 am (NEW TIME!) there’s zazen at the Veteran’s Memorial Complex located at 4117 Overland Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. Beginners only!
Plenty more info is available on the Dogen Sangha Los Angeles website, dsla.info
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I must admit it’s been a pretty tearful day. I first saw Bowie on SNL when he did “The Man Who Sold the World” with Klaus Nomi and it was the weirdest thing I had ever seen. I wore out ZIGGY STARDUST, ALADDIN SANE, HUNKY DORY, and DIAMOND DOGS all through college and especially the albums he produced for Iggy LUST FOR LIFE and THE IDIOT.
Can’t think of anything else to do when a great musician dies but try to carry the torch.
A tearful day, indeed.
Sounds like we led parallel Bowie listening lives back in the day…I was lucky to catch him on tour in 1978… -he released a great live double album from that tour titled STAGE-….and saw Iggy many, many times over the years…Have you checked out this old blog?
Tons of good info on my favorite album of all time, THE IDIOT, Bowie’s LOW & more…
“Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know Major Tom’s a junkie
Strung out in heaven’s high
Hitting an all-time low
Time and again I tell myself
I’ll stay clean tonight
But the little green wheels are following me
Oh, no, not again
I’m stuck with a valuable friend”
I usually don’t like guided meditations, but this one is different.
Read the lyrics to ” modern love.” Underneath the pop was some insightful shit.
Just saw a couple of the videos from Blackstar last night. Probably not something I’d want to see on acid, unless I was going gung ho for something.
Sages have their death poems; rock stars approaching death, their last album. Seems to be a growing genre: The Wind, Brainwashed, Prairie Wind (so Young didn’t die, but he thought he might, so I’d include this album).
Heinlein had his Martians creating art in two forms, that before, and that after, discorporation. Post-corporeal art was considered superior. The closest we have to that are death poems and farewell albums. There’s a special quality to the tone when the artist is about to exit world-time.
Must have been exhausting.
Well it was exhausting.. Being permanently demoralized was tiring. If you copied something you were only trendy which virtually every punk was. No one wanted to be trendy so unless you were some kind of genius in a vacuum you were doomed to an undirected hatred because nothing was actually still punk by the time you first noticed it was cool.
It doesn’t take genius to not follow the herd. Maybe a lil bravery.
Punks hating everything that punks hating punks
For your next shroomy trip, Cygnus
Thanks Fred, he will be missed.
Dogen, I suppose you are saying you are brave and others are not. I guess that is possible.
Not at all, I’m saying that it doesn’t take genius to not follow the herd. Maybe a lil bravery, maybe something else?
signalling. blink. signalling
I remember that cartoon at a friend’s, on a poster, where you saw a herd of sheep going over a cliff, with all the sheep falling off the cliff to their doom, and the rest of the herd pushing behind. And one sheep, going against the flow, saying, “excuse me”, “excuse me”, “excuse me”…
Probably all it takes is being contrary to go against the herd or pack or societal conditioning.
I never was a major fan of Bowie but it was a sad day to see he had passed.
When you go against the herd, you find yourself in a smaller herd of those going against the herd. One supposedly cute criticism against the hippies was that we were conforming to nonconformity. But that’s OK — sorry about that using up all the fun thing.
But is anyone really driving the car? I’d like to think so, but there’s the sense that this comment is just an outcome.
Of course it’s an outcome. But hardly “just” an outcome, as it’s also a go in.
Something drives the car. Something else drives that something. Ad . . . um, finit, -in.
Driverless cars aren’t really without drivers.
You need to understand that the point is to not let yourself be driven (manipulated). Or at least be aware of when you’re being driven.
What if a manipulation is a good thing? Do I refuse it out of a knee-jerk addiction to an idea of “freedom”?
You still don’t understand. A knee-jerk addition to an idea could be manipulated.
The Supreme Way is not driven or driverless
It’s a hyperloop
Against the Stream, man!
I’m sorry I couldn’t help myself.
Or else, Go with the Flow!
Nonexcluded middle r us.
Like salmon, a true man of the Way swims against the Way to give birth to the Truth, and then dies.
I’ll log off now.
“I Can’t Give Everything Away”, had me looking to see which album- & o’ course, it’s “Blackstar”. Love it, thanks Cygni.
From his last photo shoot:
“The more you try to be happy, the more miserable you become. Practice goodwill and you will find goodwill. This is karma.”
Robert Aitken Roshi
– bumper sticker
David Bowie was the first musician that I got interested in after the Beatles. I bought the ziggy album because I liked the cover art. Low was the first album that I actually waited for the first release.
Like Brad I found it more interesting working backwards in his discography and never enjoyed anything past Scary Monsters. My biggest debt to him was finding the work of his collaborators, most notibly Brian Eno and Iggy Pop.
Eno led to Roxy Music, then to Phil Manzanera, Robert Fripp…it gets too complicated to trace much beyond that since there are way too many branches and connections.
Thanks David. I hope that you enjoyed your life as much as I enjoyed your music.
apropos of nothing, me demonstrating the sound of a Tonewood amp– just for fun, to post on the their Facebook page (it’s 4″ x 3″, plugged in and stuck on the back of my guitar, adding a slight reverb by vibrating the back of the guitar):
First, they came for our rock stars, and I said nothing because I was not a rock star.
Next, they came for our movie stars, and I still said nothing because I was not a movie star.
Then, they came for our former porn actresses who were widows of rock stars and I yelled, “what the hell, man, is there some kind of twisted Rapture shit going on?!”
No! No!! Not that magnificent beard, too!
Why, Buddha, Why?!?!
Bowie’s in Space
Looks like neuroscience is moving on to identify the sense of self as three different sensory coordinations (in the temporal-parietal region of the brain), but all three can be affected in heautoscopy:
“Bodily self-consciousness (BSC) is commonly thought to involve self-identification (the experience of owning ‘my’ body), self-location (the experience of where ‘I’ am in space), and first-person perspective (the experience from where ‘I’ perceive the world).
… BSC stems from the integration of visual, tactile, proprioceptive, and vestibular signals.”
(Visual consciousness and bodily self-consciousness, Nathan Faivre, Roy Salomon, and Olaf Blanke)
Left out otolithic signals; how can the ch’i sink, without graviception?
Meanwhile, back in the 12th century C.E., some people didn’t need neuroscience to explain the importance of the distinction of visual, tactile, proprioceptive, and vestibular signals:
“To unfurl the red flag of victory over your head, whirl the twin swords behind your ears—if not for a discriminating eye and a familiar hand, how could anyone be able to succeed?”
(“The Blue Cliff Record”, trans. T. and J.C. Cleary, case 37 pg 274)
Is it holding still, or letting go? Who pulls the chin in, and straightens the tailbone? Why is Mickey Mouse standing in that funny way?
I was thinking that Cheng Man-ching advised to “straighten the sacrum” (which I proceeded to misstate as “straighten the tailbone”), but I was wrong.
“In general, what the ancients called, ‘straightening the chest and sitting precariously,’ has to do with the work of self-cultivation. …Holding the spine erect is like stringing pearls on top of each other, without letting them lean or incline. However, if one is tense and stiff, or unnaturally affected, then this too is an error.”
(“Thirteen Chapters”, Chen Man-Ch’ing trans. Douglas Wile, page 21)
“When turning one must take care to keep the wei-lu point (at the tailbone) and spine in alignment, in order to avoid losing central equalibrium.”
(Ibid, pg. 67)
Hay, Mark! Sorry I didn’t get back to you on Christian peak experiences. A number of things intervened. What was your question? Here’s an answer to something else:
“This is what I’m talking about. This is what I mean when I’m talkin’ about time, and death, and futility. All right there are broader ideas at work, mainly what is owed between us as a society for our mutual illusions. Fourteen straight hours of staring at [pictures of dead bodies], these are the things ya think of. You ever done that? You look in their eyes, even in a picture, doesn’t matter if they’re dead or alive, you can still read ’em. You know what you see? They welcomed it… not at first, but… right there in the last instant. It’s an unmistakable relief. See, cause they were afraid, and now they saw for the very first time how easy it was to just… let go. Yeah They saw, in that last nanosecond, they saw… what they were. You, yourself, this whole big drama, it was never more than a jerry-rig of presumption and dumb will, and you could just let go. To finally know that you didn’t have to hold on so tight. To realize that all your life–you know, all your love, all your hate, all your memories, all your pain–it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream, a dream that you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person.”
I guess the author of the above quote would be the screenwriter(s) of True Detective?
Thomas Ligotti. (period)
The speaker is one Rust Cohle, who is a creation of Nic Pizzolatto, the writer and main creator of the show.
When I first heard Cohle spout his nihilistic existentialist gloom-filled spume, I was filled with delight! What unfinished, pretarnished eloquence, delivering hard truth to people (Marty) who just want to get by with a little philosophical dishonesty. The appalling thing is that Cohle’s statements are not refutable, and so make most of us squirm. They are not the whole story, but Cohle doesn’t get any inkling of that until near the end. And all we have for relief is a vague subjective experience of a physically damaged man who just nearly died, and whose soul was warped decades earlier. Gotta love it!
I was hoping for some Lovecraftian horror to become explicit, but I think Pizzolatto was artistically right to keep those references subtle and minimal.
Whether it is plagiarism, sinfully or not, does not affect my admiration of Cohle’s speeches. But thanks for steering me onto Ligotti.
You bet, & I agree. That first season of TD was extraordinary.
Haunting…Catch the tear in his eye near the end…
As I look for a description of the precise location of the tanden, I find the last few lines of “Song of Substance and Function” in Ben Lo’s translation (with Martin Inn) of Cheng’s “Thirteen Chapters”:
“In push-hands the hands are not needed.
The whole body is a hand
and the hand is not a hand
But the mind must stay
in the place it should be.”
Quick, Darnold: does that mean self-identification, self-location, or first-person perspective “place where I am”?
“…a description of the precise location of the tanden…”
“…place where I am…”
Everybody knows this is no where.
Just say, how things are
say how, things really are
You are getting very seeply; I am going to hypnose you.
Maybe Gudo had a copy of Cheng Man-ch’ing’s “Thirteen Treatises on T’ai Chi Ch’uan”:
‘”In push-hands the hands are not needed.
The whole body is a hand
and the hand is not a hand
But the mind must stay
in the place it should be.”
Quick, Darnold: does that mean self-identification, self-location, or first-person perspective “place where I am”?’
The bridge is flowing much like the relative world; the river is still, much like the Absolute.
The place where you are is the place where the relative and the absolute are integrated
Eagles cross over.
Turkeys cross over.
This is getting ridiculous. Did the average lifespan suddenly decrease for people born after 1940?
Only the small fry are exempt:
not exactly Christmas, but close enough?
Alan Rickman, too. Christmas gave the generation-box a shake.
So the age of the Baby Boomer is on its off. I’m a little sad at the passing of Bowie, but there’s an autumn sweetness to it too and I’m kicking the leaves.
I’ve a nascent hypothesis on the go: if we wish to look for the character of what each generation has passed on, we should focus on the culture of its grandchildren.
The image has to pass through the negative?
I’ve noticed a secondary effect too, that might skew your results a bit. Fashions seem to get recycled every twenty-something years.
Hippie styles had a comeback in the late ’80s; punk styles were mainstream cool for a while in the ’90s; the ’80s were cool ten years ago; and I’m seeing a lot of ’90s reprises now.
I’m putting it down to young adults unconsciously wanting to look like what they saw as babies – in real life or on TV.
Tempus freakin fugit.
“Every child is fated to act out the unlived life of his parents” – CJ Jung
“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair,
Warm smell of Colitis, rising up through the air…”
Sometimes I’m tempted to repost what Brad has on his Facebook page over here, just so he might have a presence.
I think it’s a difficult time to be starting up a zendo, and I sympathize. I wish I could do more to support you, Brad.
Andy, I’m good with that thesis; I am struck by the influence of the arts, as well: the influence of the beats and surfers and the Japanese teachers on the 60’s, of the back to the country people and Dick Baker and the pot farmers in the 70’s, of the punks and the skateboarders and the Americans transmitted by Americans in the 80’s, of the PC people and the coders and the mountain bikers and the organic farmers and legalized medicinal pot and the small zendos with American teachers in the 90’s, of the online enterprise people and Whole Foods and craft brewers, too-big-to-fail, cellphones, raves and the concern with properly training American teachers in the 2000’s.
Now in the 2010’s we have legalized recreational pot, some electric cars, techno DJ’s with followings, and temples in America that are officially designated training temples in the Soto tradition. The Sotoshu is trying to build a training temple in Lake County for the 900 and some-odd transmitted American teachers who never got to experience Eiheiji.
Ferlinghetti still runs a book store, the Trieste still serves expresso, and the Hang Ah is still the longest continuously-operating dim sum restaurant in America. I am dancing to karioke in the East Bay with an amazing mix of good people, thank you Bill Graham.
Thanks for the recollections & redolence Shinchan & Mark. Puts me in mind of Ashbery’s ‘Soonest mended’.
“[…]And you see, both of us were right, though nothing
Has somehow come to nothing; the avatars
Of our conforming to the rules and living
Around the home have made—well, in a sense, “good citizens” of us,
Brushing the teeth and all that, and learning to accept
The charity of the hard moments as they are doled out,
For this is action, this not being sure, this careless
Preparing, sowing the seeds crooked in the furrow,
Making ready to forget, and always coming back
To the mooring of starting out, that day so long ago.”
I’m dreaming up intangibles, of course. But Jung’s ‘unlived life’ might roughly equate, in my metaphor, to the ‘negative’ through which the light of a previous collective’s generational cultural ‘image’ passes through.
Indeed, 20 years might be useful spans with which to gauge exposures. For example, using Bowie contemporaries as an arbitrary focus, one might go hunting for clues using c.1972, c.1992, c.2012. (25, 45, 65 yrs old).
The generational collective of c.1992 might be affected by their parents’ nostalgia for c.1972 (hence a fashion revival), but the ‘negativity’ of that impression ripens when they are in their 40’s (c.2012). c. 2032, therefore, when the generational grandchildren are in their 40’s would be the time to collect on the Boomers’ legacy, whatever that might be. Love & War, eh?
Re. last para. To be clearer: “A generational collective in their twenties, c.1992, might be affected by a nostalgia for their parents’ time at a similar age, c.1972, (hence a fashion revival), but the ‘negativity’ of that impression (along with so many others) ripens when they are in their 40’s”
To be followed up, no doubt, by the “jet-ski accident” in Turks and Caicos “news” article…
What surprised me the most was finding out that Brad had a career from which he could retire.
I didn’t know you drove a Tesla! Tsk tsk…
Well… I don’t drive it anymore.
Besides, gasoline is so cheap now why should I even bother having an electric car? Thanks, Obama!
That’s what happens when a canyon gets delusions of grandeur.
Oui, Oui! Je suis plus grand – mais pas aussi grand que vous, Zafu:)
Que voulez-vous Zafu?
Au contraire mon cheri, vous êtes beaucoup plus grande
It’s sad when punk rockers go out to pasture.
In the sixth century, Byzantine scholar Procopius wrote that some factions of young males wore their hair long at the back and cut it short over the forehead..
The front end 40 min of this is Bowie’s entire LOW album Live from 2002. The rest ain’t bad, either, but LOW live? C’mon…
The discussion of recurrence of styles reminded me of this:
Dang! Another one of my original inspired insights that wasn’t. 🙂
Mumbles, thanks for the concert link; yer right, what a gift, I’m mind-blown.
Great, Mark, glad you enjoyed it. I’ve been doing nothing much besides watching old Bowie vids and The Norm MacDonald show for over a week now. Wintering in.
Raining in California, every couple of days for the last two weeks, but hardly winter-like- in the 50’s when it rains. Looks like clear weather after tomorrow for a bit; might get cold then.
I could be here, in maybe 4 hours (but I’m not going):
Cold as a witch’s titty out here where the hoot owls shag the chickens (just to stay warm).
It seems like Brad’s recently announced retirement is not going so well.
Really? The following article seems to imply the opposite:
Global associated news is THE famous “Global Associated News Fake Celebrity News Engine” (enter a name to start your own celebrity rumour).
You can enter yours too!!
Hey, I just retired too.
“Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex.” – Joan Halifax quoting Frank Zappa on Twitter.
Ziggy played for time, jiving us that we were Voodoo
The kids was just crass,
He was the naz
With God given ass
He took it all too far
But boy could he play guitar.
Once Again, Zen
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