Adam Ash toasts David Bowie:
Before him, public figures worked at creating an enduring single persona. Even actors did it — John Wayne as avuncular cowboy; Clara Bow as vamp; Cary Grant as the ideal gentleman date; Humphrey Bogart’s cynical tough guy covering up a morally upright soft heart (when he started off as an upperclass white-tie fop on Broadway). But Bowie said, nope, I’ll create a new self every now and then. In his public personas, Bowie exemplifies the psychological theory which says we consist of various self-states, who need to make peace with one another. Except his self-states are so various, there’s no way they could be integrated.
And the singer is still taking England by storm:
His first album in 10 years is top of the charts, and a V & A museum exhibition, “David Bowie Is,” devoted to all things Bowie and drawn from his personal archive, is the greatest thing that this august establishment museum has ever put on: double the ticket sales of any previous exhibit in its 160-year-long history. Selfridges has pop-up stores where you can buy Bowie T-shirts and stuff, and there’s a makeup kit for you to Bowie-make-over your quotidian visage. His album is tipped to win the Mercury prize. Not a day goes past that there is not a Bowie pic or article in the popular press. There’s even been an April Fool’s joke about Bowie opening a pet shop called Spiders from Mars, which would sell some of his favorite spiders as pets.