Musician silhouette on Stage

David Bowie: A bio-obituary

David Bowie"I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring," said the late David Bowie back in 1997. It’s a poignant statement given his death, aged 69, this week after an 18-month battle with cancer.

And the OU’s Dr Frank Monaghan says it’s as applicable to his art as it was to his life. In an article on identity and creativity, Dr Monaghan, of the Department of Applied Linguistics and English Language, takes a look at Bowie’s constant evolution as an artist and one of the most influential musicians of his era.

'Scars that can't be seen'
Bowie’s last single, Lazarus, highlights an attitude to a death he was almost certainly expecting, says Professor Jan Draper, of the OU’s Department of Nursing.

“Knowing that he was dying of cancer at the time he wrote the song and indeed made the video, Bowie poignantly foretells his death. In this regard it is a bio-obituary, as he tells the world of his 'scars that can't be seen', his 'drama that can't be stolen' and that he has ‘nothing left to lose’.”

His later work, says Dr Elizabeth Tilley, of the OU’s Department of Health and Social Care, also saw him tackle the taboo of death and what made him such an important cultural icon: issues of gender and identity.

There are more articles about David Bowie and some of the topics covered during his rise to fame on OpenLearn.

Photo by grauhase