Funny how secrets travel
I'd start to believe
if I were to bleed
Like many this morning, reaching for my iPhone to check everything, I noticed something in my RSS feed say David Bowie has died. Frown. That’s wrong, I say to myself. New album. Tonnes of stuff to still do. Check Twitter. It’s all lit up. His son has even confirmed it. Fuck. How can that be?
So sad, and seemingly sudden - I didn’t know he wasn’t well. It seemed many others didn’t know either. What a way to go though. On his terms. No fawning from the public whilst he was ill. No papped pics of him looking ill or thin. He went out with a new album, great accompanying videos and a play in New York. A man always in control of his art.
I have to admit to not being more than a surface fan of Bowie, I’ve not delved into his work as I have with others. I have a fond memory of discovering a stack of vinyls in my mother’s record collection when I was a teen. I couldn’t believe my mum was so cool to have all this Bowie. Damn. Why wasn’t she listening to it then?!
I can’t pretend to know his work inside out, nor do I want to jump on bandwagons and add to the endless sharing of the same tracks that will no doubt be played in the following weeks. One track I’ve played consistently through the years though is I’m Deranged, which opened the David Lynch film Lost Highway.
I remember sitting down to watch Lost Highway at a local film club at a cinema in my home town. The cinema is right next to the beach in Broadstairs. Every Tuesday they would screen art house films, or 'films that are usually shown in densely populated areas'. I loved it. I was right in the middle of my 'home schooled film education' and doing anything I could to see good cinema. Two films especially stick in my mind from that time, one was Nil By Mouth and the other was Lost Highway.
Lost Highway starts with a mysterious and dynamic POV shot of a road thrashing underneath an endlessly accelerating vehicle burning through the night.
The headlights shine on the road, providing the only light in the frame, turning the black road to light grey and revealing the wild yellow lines rapidly coming towards us. Like a bare electric cable whipping around. It’s a shot full of frantic, wild energy. The music is dark and bassy and amping up the energy even further. We then hear David Bowie’s voice, a haunting and almost calming juxtaposition to everything else.
So many questions hit you as a viewer.
Who are we?
Where are we going?
Why haven’t we crashed (yet)?
It’s a perfect way to start that film. Many leave that film with those questions unanswered.
This title sequence had such an impact on me though, and Bowie’s haunting voice is hard wired to it. It’s so evocative, saying seemingly much more than the lyrics that his voice wraps around.
Like all great art and artists, they become timeless, living forever. I’ll always listen to this track, and I’m already listening to Bowie more now (who isn’t?). There so much to explore.
Long may he keep haunting us.