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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Everyone is paying tribute to David Bowie’s musical feats, as well they should. Seldom, if ever, has one man made such a massive, beautiful dent on pop music and pop consciousness. A gender-bending, genre-hopping genius, deserving of all the accolades coming his way today.

    But I want to pay tribute to another of Bowie’s feats, which strikes me as quite extraordinary: the fact that he kept his cancer private, or ‘secret’, as the press insists, for 18 months. This, more than anything, has blown me away today. In this era of too much information, when over-sharing is virtually mandatory, Bowie’s decision to suffer away from the limelight, among those closest to him, appears almost as a Herculean achievement.

    The reason the world is so shocked by Bowie’s death is not simply because we have lost one of pop’s great innovators — inventors, in fact — meaning his death feels as significant as Elvis Presley’s in 1977. It is also because no one saw this coming.

    Yes, with the hindsight provided by his demise, we can now see that his last album, Blackstar, released just last week, was a kind of gracious and moving bowing-out from life. With a song called ‘Lazarus,’ and mournful lyrics such as ‘I know something is very wrong’, this is clearly a man who knows his end his near. Listening to the album today is a jolting experience.

    Brendan O'Neil - The Spectator/Jan. 13, 2016
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Cultural Icon, David Bowie Left us Much

    [IMGR=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=47989&stc=1&d=1452709966[/IMGR]A musician, actor, icon and entrepreneur. David Bowie was an innovator in every way. He stepped into the vacuum left by the Beatles’ break-up in 1970 and developed an array of strategies that have gone on to become the common sense of popular culture and of business itself.

    Before Bowie, The Beatles were the driving force behind the rise of ubiquitous popular culture. They made a virtue of innovation and established music as an index of lifestyle. What business learned from the late-70s onwards was that commodities needed to be sold in ways that chimed with individual decisions about self-expression and identity. Bowie was the pop star who embodied this logic.

    Through his Ziggy Stardust persona, Bowie united the visual and narrative conceits of science fiction with those of pop in a way that allowed him to at once be and yet not be that invented character. Having gained an audience, it was then a business masterstroke to kill off this successful creation and to trust that his audience was now primed to accept and delight in successive incarnations and their associated musical genres.

    This allowed Bowie to always be “himself” (whoever and whatever that was), while enjoying the licence to pioneer different genres of music – whether electronica, funk or emergent dance music. He combined print, stage and video design to create symbolically rich and dramatic settings for his different alter egos, using them to carry and complete his latest incarnation.

    Brand Bowie

    Bowie presaged branding and showed how a successful brand should conduct itself – with verve, panache and cultural insight. He developed a rapid astuteness in managing himself as a brand: he limited access to his personal life, while his challenges to gender convention were both brave and headline-grabbing. His musical collaborations were also guaranteed to fuel his myth – Bowie is probably the only popular cultural figure who connects Bing Crosby with Freddie Mercury.

    So strong and savvy was this brand management that he survived a decision to leave Victoria station in an open-topped Mercedes while waving to a waiting crowd in a way that recalled (deliberately or not) the style of fascist leaders. For anyone else this would have been a fatal career move, but Bowie survived it to supplant the Beatles as a cultural giant.

    Visually as well as musically, Bowie’s influence shaped popular music for two decades from the mid-70s. There would have been no Human League, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, Joy Division or Placebo without him. And there would also not have been the type of indie rock that traced its origins to The Velvet Underground. The key difference between Bowie and the Beatles was that, while the Beatles were a key ingredient of the “Summer of Love” of 1967 and took their cue from US West Coast bands, Bowie embraced the New York sound of The Velvet Underground and the artistic sensibility of Andy Warhol.

    Commodity culture

    Warhol’s representation of consumer packaging as art pioneered a culture in which pop stars embraced rather than repudiated commodification. Bowie was a conduit for this. His foray into financial markets (with the Bowie Bond in 1997) and e-commerce (with the service provider BowieNet in 1998) demonstrate what a fine, and easily-crossed line there is between the desire to be a self-defining individual and the process of destroying collective structures so that the only defence the individual has when reduced to the pawn of market forces is to become more marketable.

    Bowie declined as someone who could sell pop records from the late-80s onwards. In the UK, the club culture that Bowie’s music helped to inspire gave rise to the DJ and the producer as the new force for innovation, while rock music, in the form of Oasis, reached back before Bowie for its inspiration. Subsequently, even as his cachet remained high, Bowie’s health faltered, notably following heart surgery in 2004. His comparative inactivity over the past decade can be attributed to this and the release of Blackstar just two days before his death now appears valedictory.

    None of this diminishes him as an inspirational force. He has left an indelible legacy and as business, more widely, learned from and now informs popular cultural production, it should revere David Bowie as one of its muses.'

    The Raw Story/Jan. 13, 2016
    Newshawk Crew
  2. Beenthere2Hippie
    1998's BowieWorld Website Still Up and Stimulating Fans Today

    [IMGL=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=47992&stc=1&d=1452713774[/IMGL]This morning the world discovered that we had lost legendary musician and entertainment icon David Bowie to cancer at the age of 69. While his contributions to the music and film worlds cannot be overstated, he also had a better grasp than most on just how the Internet would impact our lives and culture, even going so far as to set up his very own Internet service provider in the late 1990s.

    He called it BowieNet, but its existence is really only half the story. The year was 1998, and AOL trial CDs were filling mailboxes from coast to coast. Connecting to the Internet meant sitting through a chorus of dial-up tones and disabling one of your phone lines in the process. Between Yahoo chat rooms, the early rumbles of Y2K, and Will Smith's "Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It," a pop star wanting to run his own ISP didn’t seem all that strange.

    At the stroke of midnight on Sept. 1, 1998, BowieNet powered up. The press release, which declared the start of the service as an “all-out cyberspace celebration,” made some unbelievably bold promises for the time, including “webcast performances” by popular artists, live video feeds of David Bowie’s studio, as well as video interviews.

    “I wanted to create an environment where not just my fans, but all music fans could be part of a single community where vast archives of music and information could be accessed, views stated and ideas exchanged,” Bowie himself commented at the time of the service’s launch.

    BowieNet’s plan to offer worldwide Internet access included a few special perks for subscribers including personal homepages—with 20MB of storage—and yourname@davidbowie email handles. Users even had a once-in-a-lifetime shot to contribute to one of the artist’s songs via a songwriting competition and the opportunity to contribute to the album artwork for one of Bowie’s concert recordings.

    Perhaps more intriguing than BowieNet itself is a 3D chat client that was launched alongside it. Called BowieWorld, it launched a solid half decade ahead of Second Life and is built on the “Worlds” virtual community platform. Today, more than a decade and a half later, it remains up and running. I decided to take a look around.

    BowieWorld appears to have remained perfectly preserved from its state in the late 1990s. Navigating the world, which is entirely 3D, is done via the arrow keys, and your personal avatar has a strange momentum that can make you a bit dizzy and nauseous if you're not careful. There's not a whole lot to do in BowieWorld, but there are a few interesting areas to explore. There's a street maze, a "penthouse," and something called the "roof garden," which is filled with severed hands that fly skyward when clicked. But even more surprising than the odd, oftentimes disturbing imagery—the office buildings are gushing blood, just in case you were wondering—is the fact that there are still Bowie fans hanging out there.

    I ran into at least a half dozen users with fully fleshed-out profiles, complete with lists of interests, favorite quotes, and hobbies. Most were equipped with premium avatars, indicating that they pay a monthly fee for the privilege of customizing their appearance.

    Whatever you do, don't venture into the "Chaos" room. It's not particularly crowded, but it's probably the most unsettling of all the virtual venues in BowieWorld. I shared my condolences with those who I ran into, most of whom were very welcoming, though few of them had a solid reason for why they've remained in the Bowie's digital space for so long. The most fitting answer to that question came from a person who had chosen to appear in the world as a chess piece. I asked them why they had continued to log into a virtual world that had fallen into the past, to which they replied: "Why not?"

    By Mike Wehner - The Daily Dot/Jan. 11, 2016
    Newshawk Crew
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