Preview: Paul Morley – Bowie: Life of a Legend
Paul Morley discusses the late icon at the Edinburgh International Book Festival
This article is from 2016.
Veteran writer and broadcaster Paul Morley's new book on David Bowie, The Age of Bowie, is a real labour of love – an exhaustive, lyrical journey through many of Bowie's personas, genres and influences. Having tackled Joy Division, the history of pop in Words and Music and most recently the inimitable Grace Jones with I'll Never Write My Memoirs, The Age of Bowie is arguably Morley's most personal book to date. He was part of the creative team behind the Victoria and Albert Museum's sell-out retrospective exhibition David Bowie Is … in London in 2013.
When the world awoke in January to the shocking news that Bowie had died from cancer, Morley didn't want to churn out the same trite soundbites as other cultural commentators – as a lifelong fan he was deeply affected. 'I needed time to process this sudden information, that over the past few years at times seemed to be close enough to have expected such an eventuality,' he says. Instead, his response was to write a book, examining the impact Bowie had and continues to have, six months after his passing, in shaping the world. 'So many Bowies: how do you keep up with them in a book, and try to keep him inside the pages as he constantly, provocatively moves somewhere else and becomes someone else?' he asks.
It is this restless, shapeshifting spirit which permeates throughout Morley's dazzling publication. Joining him at the Edinburgh International Book Festival as part of the Music and Meaning events is music critic and broadcaster Vic Galloway, who will be discussing the legacy Bowie left behind, and how modern culture has been affected. After all, as Morley says, 'He should stay with us as much as the great writers and artists do, and that means we keep telling the stories, playing the music, inventing the theories, imagining the "what ifs".'
Charlotte Square Gardens, 25 Aug, 7.15 pm £12 (£10). The Age of Bowie: How David Bowie Made a World of Difference is out now, published by Simon and Schuster, £20.