Audio • Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on 20/10/1972
Video • London Hammersmith Odeon on 3/7/1973
Fans rave about My Death from the Hammersmith farewell show. But to me the Santa Monica version is superior almost beyond measure. I rate the Santa Monica version of My Death as one of Bowie’s finest vocal performances, perhaps only surpassed by ‘73’s Sweet Thing. I’ve loved the Santa Monica performance ever since hearing it on a bootleg in the eighties.
But no video of that show is known to exist. Since I started making these Bowie videos, just after he died, it’s been an ambition to make a video for the Santa Monica My Death. I hoped to find another video source of a performance of My Death, rather than have to use the iconic Farewell footage. However, other than a few blurry seconds of silent Super 8 from a ’72 U.S. show, nothing came my way.
A year or so ago, the idea to covert the Hammersmith My Death footage to stark monochrome, partly to suit the dark nature of the song and performance, and also to try to somewhat disguise the footage. Not as an attempt to fool fans into believing this is not the Hammersmith show. Rather it’s to try to simply lessen the familiarity with this footage, that many of us have.
So I’ve been trying to get this video finished for over a year. Well, the 10th of January is the obvious day to put it out, I decided earlier this week, so it’s been quite a rush job over the last few days to get it finished on time. It’s far from perfect, but I’m out of time and out of patience.
To paraphrase something I read yesterday; when we remember how we felt hearing the news of Bowie's death two years ago, we are not remembering January the 10th, we are remembering this day the 11th; that's when the news was released.
Here in Hong Kong it was early lunchtime, I was meeting with a couple of colleagues, and we took a short phone check break. There was a message from my friend Linda; she wrote something like, "OMG I can't believe the news, are you okay?". "What news?", I replied.
The only time the news of a death has effected me more significantly, was hearing about my own fathers death, three years prior to that. My Dads death was not unexpected; he'd been very unwell for about a year. In early 2013 I had been urgently called home, from a lengthy trip in Southern India, practicing Ashtanga Yoga with the head honcho, Sharath Jois. Mum had written that Dad was not expected to last out the week, and so if I wanted to see him alive again I had better return home immediately. When I got home, Dad perked up a bit, and lasted a few more months. And so I found myself living at my parents house for 4 months. It was the house I'd grown up in, late 70's, early 80's, listening to David Bowie.
Those winter months of 2013 was the UK's coldest winter in 50 years, it was a miserable time. Then in March I was astonished to read in the Guardian a glowing review of the new David Bowie album. I sought out other reviews, and it seemed the praise was pretty ubiquitous. I was playing The Next Day for the first time, in the room that I'd spent my teenage years in, and my Mum popped her head in the door, and asked, "Is that David Bowie?". "Yes Mum, I replied, it's his new album". "Oh, she said, he's sounding really good!" Indeed he was sounding really good, and just as had happened all those years ago, a new David Bowie album was making life bearable again.
I'm one of those fans that stopped caring about Bowies art in the 80's, and I'd just never bothered to check out any of his post-Scary work. But after TND, SUE and then Blackstar my love for him was returning. Perhaps he'll tour? I thought.
The strength of the effect of Bowies death was shocking to me. I had already arranged for a long yoga holiday in Bali that January, and ended up spending a good deal of that time thinking about my relationship with Bowie and investigating the Bowie albums that I had missed over the years.
Tomorrow I'm again off to Bali on a lengthy yoga vacation. I'll be staying in the same odd, circular tower room I stayed in 2016, where I deeply pondered our guy for the duration of the trip. For that trip in 2016, I'd deliberately left my computer at home, desiring a break from my tech and communication obsession. When I got home from that vacation I almost immediately set about making the "Right" video. And now that we have got through Bowie's birthday and deathday and I've squeezed out my first Bowie vid, I feel that 2018 is underway.
Plenty more Bowie vids planned this year. So please, keep your electric eye on me babe.
Thanks for reading and thanks for watching.
11th of January, 2018
I don't own the rights, and I'm not making any money out of this etc. Just a fan making videos for other fans.
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