David Bowie and 9/11

It’s 19 years ago today since the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened in New York. I think everyone knew where they were when they became aware of what was happening. I was still on maternity leave, visiting my parents with my two month old baby son. My mother and I had entered a shop with junior asleep in his stroller and we heard the breaking news on the radio there. We thought they were talking about a movie plot at first, but the shop attendant said that he thought this was really happening. We rushed back to my parents’ flat where my father was glued to CNN, telling us in complete shock (I can still see him sitting there in my mind’s eye) that a second plane had just hit. The rest of the day was very surreal and we were glued to the TV screen. Even now, when I see images again, it still feels shocking to me. It was an event that had a huge impact on the world.

In October 2001 there was a charity concert for New York City after these horrible terrorist attacks. David Bowie opened the concert with two songs, the first a touching cover of the Simon & Garfunkel song America and the second his awesome own song Heroes. I came across his performance again today and I found especially the America song still very touching, so I decided to share here…

My hope remains that love will always win out over hatred.

Fictional crush challenge – day 4

10 days, 10 fictional crushes
Post an image of a fictional character who has been or still is your crush. No names or explanations needed. TV, movie, book, comic, cartoon characters are valid.

Jareth the Goblin King (David Bowie) from the 1986 movie Labyrinth which I saw at the impressionable age of 16. Jareth was evil but completely mesmerizing to me. I liked the movie well enough but fell in love with Jareth. It could have been the intense, sexy stare…

… or the way he moved.

… or the knowing, evil smile…

… or the pants that showed off his… erm… lean long legs so nicely.

I think this is the only truly evil character I have ever crushed on, maybe because, in a twisted way, he seemed to be acting out of love as well. So, to hell with evil. I figured if I were the girl in the movie I’d just dump the baby and stay in dreamland with Jareth and lose myself in his eyes. There was more than enough there to confuse and attract a 16 year old girl and give her a lot to ponder over.

I had noticed Bowie a few years before through Let’s Dance and China Girl and really liked those but after Labyrinth I became obsessed with Jareth for a little while and then even more so with David Bowie himself. Come to think of it, the leap from Jareth to Ziggy Stardust wasn’t that huge…

Here, watch some videos if you are so inclined…

Yes, camp, but mesmerizing too, no?

“He knows it’s all worthwhile…”

There is this community thing going on in Toronto where these two guys get a crowd of people together and they sing pop songs together in one huge choir. They are called Choir!Choir!Choir! and on YouTube I have watched some of the covers they have done over the years. Of course now, with social distancing, getting together to sing isn’t possible and apparently they have had to cancel a tour they had planned. As I was checking out some music on YouTube this past weekend I saw that they had organized a social distancing sing-along. It was just the two of them singing, inviting viewers to join them. A little article and background on that here:

I didn’t watch all of the 1 hour 45 minute video, just very short bits and pieces. Instead, I scrolled through their catalogue of videos and found that they had done David Bowie’s Starman two months ago on the occasion of Bowie’s birthday in January. They love Bowie and have done Bowie before (for instance Space Oddity and Heroes) and I of course had to watch Starman as well. It’s one of the tracks off my fave Bowie album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.


It helps that I really love this song in its own right but looking and listening to this version really moved me somehow. Maybe it was the line “He’s told us not to blow it because he knows it’s all worthwhile…” that did it or just the fact that it sounds awesome when so many people sing a song together that I love, creating a full polyphonous sound.

A beautiful song of hope sent by some ethereal being that tells us that it will all hopefully be worth it in the end. Let’s hope it’s also true in these times of Corona.

If you like choirs, a sense of community in these isolated times and a pick-me-up, check out the Choir!Choir!Choir! YouTube channel for some really nice covers.

At the Victoria & Albert Museum

Before I go into a whole “Armitage fan experience in London” post, I’m first posting about something else I was able to do there. I had arrived in London last Sunday morning and spent a lovely day just hanging out and chatting with my brother and some with my niece.

Then on Monday I had the day to myself and I decided to finally visit the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington. I had never been there and had always meant to go there one day. It was a good day to pick that, as it was a cold, dreary and very wet day. Picture taken from the bus I was on; the window was wet, it almost looks like an impressionist painting.

20200224_124333I got to the museum and somehow it seemed much larger than I had thought. I mean, I knew it housed a very diverse collection but this was much bigger than I had expected.


I wandered around on the ground floor a bit, particularly liking the statues gallery…

… and then went in search of the café for something to eat. The old café was beautiful, but alas there was no space for me to sit there…


So, I sat in the more modern section and really enjoyed my scone and cup of tea.


Even going to a bathroom at the café was a museum experience with old tiles and fawcets bearing Georg Vth initials, which indicates they were somewhere from the beginning of the 20th century.

Speaking of royalty, on my way to the medieval section I passed the car Harry and Meghan had used at the end of their wedding day


It was basically an ad for the vintage cars exhibition that was also on at the V&A but that I didn’t end up visiting.

In the medieval section I was struck by this early 16th century tapestry from Brussels depicting Queen Esther (she after whom I have been named):


I also love looking at old books, like this early printed book from 1521, not long after the printing press had been invented.


Some more nice vistas as you walk through the museum:

I have seen lots of medieval art and statues and the like in many museums over the years, so for me the high point of the museum was something I have not seen that much of: an exhibition on early photography. Even just looking at all those cameras before you enter the room was fascinating.

I was in awe seeing an early heliograph image of Christ carrying the cross from 1827. You can barely see the image but it’s there (click to enlarge)…

… and an 1840’s daguerreotype image of a collage of famous faces.

I liked this 1850s image. Imagine keeping that little dog still enough for long enough to create this image!

An early camera was on display…

And there were more fascinating 19th century images, with one image also of Alice Liddell, who was the ‘real’ Alice in Wonderland.

Absolutely fascinating, including some early 3D imagery you could see through this viewer but that I couldn’t take pictures of.

The other section I was fascinated with was the theatre collection (with a little movie glam thrown in).  The horse for the War Horse production was there…


And other theatre costumes…

There was the Henry V costume as worn by Richard Burton…

And a costume designed by Dior for Vivien Leigh in a movie…

Vivien Leigh seems to have bequeathed some of her memorabilia to the V&A. The Oscar she had won for A Streetcar Named Desire in the 1950s was on display…

… as was a telegram addressed to Laurence Olivier (Vivien Leigh’s husband at the time) from Lillian and Dorothy Gish, movie stars of mainly the silent movie era, congratulating Leigh on her brilliant acting performance in Streetcar.


There were more awards on display from other actors for other performances:


And some music related memorabilia of David Bowie…

and Madness…


This is just a tiny impression of all there is to see at the V&A and I saw way more than I took pictures of. It’s a great museum, very diverse and I by far haven’t seen everything. I may have to return there again sometime.

By the time I finally emerged from the musem at the end of the afternoon, it had stopped raining. I again took a bus, this time to Piccadilly Circus, and the view was somewhat less impressionist:


I was off to go and meet Hariclea for evening theatre shenanigans at the Harold Pinter Theatre. More on that in my next post. 🙂

Is there life on Mars?

Today would have been David Bowie’s 73rd birthday. As I read the news this morning (Iran, inane actions by a US president whose name I don’t even want to mention on my blog anymore and his son, horrible fires in Australia exacerbated by climate change), somehow this Bowie song springs to mind…

This is not the first time I think of this when I look at the news. Of course, if we humans could escape to Mars we’d eff it all up there too with wars and greed and destroying the environment. I know it is something of all ages to worry about the state of the world but my goodness, where is the good I wonder? That’s it, that’s my blog post – just a bit of exasperation on a Wednesday morning.