Bowie - Dimmu Borgir
Bowie - Marc Spitz
By Jessica Bohatch-Easton
Let me just preface this review with a few items. I am normally not a fan of biographies. Usually, I find that biographies are statistical, bullets of information, wonderful items to use if one needs a fact or date, and are written in a dry almost textbook-like style that fiction writers and storywriters usually do not employ. Since I cannot write fiction stories to save my life, I respect those who can write and biographies can sometimes fall short. Bowie is not one of those biographies.
Reading “Bowie” by Marc Spitz pleasantly surprised me and I read the book in a span of two days, staying up late so I could get in as much read-time before the new day began. I also have to say that I was hesitant to read a David Bowie biography, because I, like the author, Marc Spitz, am looking forward to David Bowie writing and publishing an auto-biography and I am looking forward to reading about a man whose music I have loved since I was a child and his escapades that I can only imagine. I was also a little hesitant to read “Bowie” because I did not want my memories of listening to David Bowie and watching his movies to be colored by someone who had written a book about him and perhaps had his own memories about David Bowie. What if pieces of my childhood that I associated with David Bowie’s music were destroyed by something I read in a biography?
I started listening to David Bowie when I was a child, because my parents listened and because his songs were on the radio, yet, by the time I was old enough to realize that I was listening to David Bowie, he was doing ‘Let’s Dance’, and I had no idea of what year any of his albums came out. I listened to and learned about Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Space Oddity, The Man Who Sold the World, and Let’s Dance (and others) all at the same time. Add to that the tiny crush I had on Jareth the Goblin King in the movie Labyrinth and one can imagine how protective I am of my own childhood memories, because music plays a large part in anchoring my memories in my mind. In the end I was surprised and had nothing to worry about, my memories and warm fuzzy feelings about David Bowie are intact and have not been torn down.
“Bowie” has everything a David Bowie enthusiast needs and everything those who are interested in music, the 1970’s, English music scene, the 1980’s, and facets of the music business through the years. If you want to learn about how bands toiled for years, how artists were signed, and what ups and downs musicians went through in the 60’s and 70’s, Spitz does not disappoint.
Of course, Bowie’s background, childhood, and early years before stardom were discussed. I believe that if the early years of Bowie and his family were not included in the biography, readers would be seriously deficient in understanding Bowie and the author, Spitz. In the background and tied to David Bowie and the years of the biography are the memories, observations, and feelings of the author. The musings of Spitz and his own past draw the reader in and quite frankly make the book personal – not a ‘just the facts’ book about David Bowie.
Spitz spans the life and career of David Bowie, from the early mod years, to the longhaired hippie-ish days, the struggling artist who combined music, art, dance, and theatre, to the spaceman, androgynous lover, drug and alcohol addled genius, the thin white duke, and the art film actor. Then Spitz continues with the new wave forerunner, popular Bowie of the 1980’s, the straight Bowie, family man, painter, contemplative man, and the semi-retired artist living with his wife and daughter in New York.
The explanations of why David Bowie changed musical genres, has stayed ahead of or with the new crop of music every few years, how he helped (inadvertently) start many bands and singers on their own paths, and why certain songs and albums were written would be immensely interesting to any David Bowie fan, even a casual fan. The years that the author goes through, pictures that correlate, stories from friends, exes, ex bandmates, ex managers, and those who have worked with David Bowie support the story of the man Bowie and his music. The fact that Spitz did not shy away from the good, bad, ugly, strange events and decisions of Bowie’s life shows how Spitz was able to combine his love for Bowie with his love of writing. I am grateful that the book is not a Bowie love fest, slobbering all over Bowie, only saying positive happy thoughts and events from Bowie’s life and career. Spitz walks the line between the two worlds admirably. Spitz even mentioned that at first he was hesitant to write the book for many reasons, one of which was how to write about someone who was an integral part of your life and at the same time tell the truth?
In the end, “Bowie” is not just a book about the life of David Bowie – it is a book about life during the 1960’s through the 1990’s, the music business, and the author. If Spitz had not added in his own feelings and stories I do not believe the book would have been as successful in portraying Bowie. Spitz adds his own autobiography neatly and quietly into a book about a man that had such an impact on his life and the lives of others. I am left with the image of Spitz standing next to David Bowie on a New York City street. Marc Spitz sees his hero and in the end does not introduce himself to Bowie as David Bowie goes his separate way in the city.
Dimmu Borgir - Dark Fortress Comic Book
by Jeffrey Easton
Dimmu Borgir have adapted too many things in their career. Big Festivals outside the Black Metal norms, commercial success, and now a comic book. Terminal Press have taken one of the better Black Metal bands to their dark pages and have done well. The look of the book is sickly dark with disturbing artwork and shading. Real pictures of the characters, religious folk it seems, appear amongst the animation backdrops throughout the book. It’s a dark read, set in the middle ages with a journey of men discovering a horrid scene of death and deeming themselves to journey to the dimmuborgir to close the gates that lead to hell. Brian Ferrara wrote this and Narek Gevorgian drew it and the combo here is just deadly. There arelso well drawn pin ups in the rear of the book to make this book an even more must have for their fans, well done guys. For you comic fiends this is a must have, the story is going to continue and it is going to get nastier from here. The art is pure quality and the writing comes from a demented part of Brian’s mind. Check this book out, disappointment will not be there.
Buy Dark Fortress