Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
the online library of pop writing

David Bowie: The Byronic Man

Charles Shaar Murray, The Face, October 1984

"WHAT WE'RE DOING here is bringing back the talkies," David Bowie announces self-mockingly. His livid mask recalls the white-faced clowns and demons of the Commedia del' Arte and the grotesque disguises of the early cinema: pallor so extreme as to suggest a powerful but distinctly unhealthy light juxtaposed with swirling, smoky shadows. His amiable but vulpine grin seems thoroughly incongruous in this ghastly setting. The dark, sandy hair is immaculately styled, but it is streaked with an unpleasant-looking gel that suggests that an asthmatic dog has just coughed on his head.

Total word count of piece: 3838


Becoming a member is easy. Membership gives you access to all the thousands of articles in the library.

Click here to go to Subscribe page.

Click here for academic and other group subscriptions.