The death of David Bowie and the treatment of immigrants in Germany, who are being banned from public areas, brings me back to the concept of difference. On page 39 of ‘Spit Roast’ I write:-
You might be:
- a man who wants to be a woman and have a woman
- a woman who wants to be a man and have a woman
- a man who wants to be a man and have a woman as a man
I go on here and offer 11 examples, with the clear indication there are an infinite number of combinations. Bowie’s ‘passing’ allows us to celebrate him for promoting and allowing difference, but also for him being ‘one of us’ apparently, despite not everyone owning fast fortunes. As a caveat, it is interesting to note Andy Warhol could not stand the song Bowie wrote about him, which deeply upset Bowie. Those who are so-called ordinary and yet feel at the margins believe Bowie stood for them. Jarvis Cocker declared Bowie was the internet before the internet existed, in that he pooled together the unknown before everyone else was aware of it. This suggests that Bowie was the centre of knowledge. Comedian Robert Newman incorporated a ‘remember Bowie’s Nazi leanings’ in his routine, just to be different. Unlike me, with the novel ‘Spit Roast’ which makes reference to football, and David Baddiel his former comedy partner who teamed up with Frank Skinner, Newman hasn’t jumped on the football bandwagon, its tribalism creating artificial difference.
I mention this fascism, pre Bowie’s death, in my work on a book ‘Neo-Nazism and the Media’, to be published with Amsterdam University Press. When I saw Bowie during his Sound and Vision tour he was in his ‘Christian phase’, kneeling and saying the ‘Our Father’ before he began. This would be more controversial today, some may argue fascist. In November 2015 Digital Cinema Media (DCM) refused to screen a Church of England advert promoting the Lord’s Prayer. DCM sited their policy of not running material that was political or religious in nature, as it carried ‘the risk of upsetting, or offending, audiences’. The Church of England then claimed that this section of the DCM policy banning religious advertising was only added after approval had been sought but DCM argued if this was allowed then others might be asking for the chance. Should we allow Scientology, David Icke, or fascist political parties to advertise? Personally, I liked the advert. We might be offended by all sorts of things at the cinema, but do we ban them all? Sung by Bowie or not, this prayer doesn’t attack those with different religious views. It is less ‘religious’ than many adverts or films that attempt to deny difference. I believe all the way…as Bowie put it.