In another life (well, another job) I wrote a review of the David Bowie retrospective that was at the V&A in March 2013. I thought I had lost those words, but as it turns out nothing is ever truly thrown away in this digital age. Others have written far more eloquently about him, his music, his art, his impact on their lives. No doubt I’ll witter on about how Heroes is our age’s secular hymn at some other point, but for now I offer this as sort of poem in response to his passing.

‘David Bowie is’ is the name of the retrospective of the musician’s career that has just opened at the V&A Museum.

‘David Bowie is’ is the construct that the rest of this blogpost will use to review the show.

David Bowie is an odd choice for the V&A, until you see the queues.

David Bowie is a Brixton boy made good.

David Bowie is a son of Berlin, rather than Brixton.

David Bowie is a folk singer who got lucky.

David Bowie is a painter who got unlucky.

David Bowie is a film star who didn’t quite make it.

David Bowie is just a singer, after all.

David Bowie is the best selling rock artist of all time, with the emphasis on artist.

David Bowie is a display of restless artistic energy.

David Bowie is all about what happens when art is stolen, ripped out of context and sold as product.

David Bowie is someone who didn’t sell out.

David Bowie is packed.

David Bowie is packed, with clothes, photos, lyrics, instruments and a lot of other arcana.

David Bowie is better when the music is centre stage.

David Bowie is a physical manifestation of a YouTube channel.

David Bowie is so much more than that.

David Bowie is poetry of a sort.

David Bowie is a frilly jukebox of exploration.

David Bowie is frippery disguised as meaning.

David Bowie is meaning disguised as ostentation.

David Bowie is ostentation disguised as profundity.

David Bowie is profundity disguised as rock and roll.

David Bowie is indelibly characterless.

David Bowie is a human kaleidoscope.

David Bowie is persuasive enough to make you buy a badge that says ‘David Bowie is turning us all into voyeurs’.

David Bowie is lacking both an explanatory text and academic jargon.

David Bowie is received with all the fervour of a visiting alien.

David Bowie is exhaustive.

David Bowie is exhausting.

David Bowie is something David Bowie will not visit.

David Bowie is something you must visit.

Hunger, Fire, Harrumph.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store