[11] David Bowie, ‘Where Are We Now?’


There’s been an awful lot written about David Bowie this year – I alone am responsible for an album review, reviews of all the new tracks on the deluxe reissue, a couple of celebratory pieces about his return, a 1200-word timeline of his triumphant year and a small insert or two in year-end pieces – so why bother with any more? Maybe just to relive the moment this wistful, hopeful track turned up on 8 January. I was working at home in my cold garden office and turned on the computer to find the internet alight. It had only been a year or so since NME had published my blog about it being right and timely that Bowie had “retired” because, simply, he hadn’t seemed capable of the really good stuff for a couple of decades or more. I was thrilled to be wrong. ‘Where Are We Now?’ was knowing but genuine, and wrenched at the heart for reasons hard to place. Just because he was alive? That he seemed as if he was being swallowed up by rolling tides of personal history? That he appeared nervous and frail in that brief cutaway? That he looked like a pasty teddy bear?

“Is it the two faces?” asks Junior, just listening to the audio. “The boy and the girl? Is he old?” She doesn’t like it, unmoved by those old Potsdamer Platz haunts. Junior 2’s a fan, Junior 3 shakes her head. That’s two out of three refusing to toe 2013’s party line. Mavericks.

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