Culture

The Once-Unimaginable Occurs: David Bowie Turns 67

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Although never an all-in Bowie fan, I’ve always admired his shrewdness, humor and style.

Unlike so many of his imitators, Bowie more often than not managed to write “bravery” checks that didn’t bounce due to insufficient talent.

That is: his self-described musical descendants too often get the easy, “outrageous” part semi-right, but can’t or won’t pen decent tunes to match (or, ideally, surpass) all that superficial shock.

Even when he was starting out, however garish he looked, Bowie also seemed — incongruously — mature, not a bratty teenager spouting embarrassing drivel.

Paradoxically, that self-contained maturity enhanced his “cool” rather than undermined it.

Bowie was, and is, more Dean Martin than James Dean.

In honor of his birthday, NME lists “Dame David’s” “10 Greatest Achievements.”

The corny pastiche Velvet Goldmine was too self-conscious to win me over entirely — “heavy handed camp” is a contradiction in terms, and the film lacked Hedwig‘s aching, open heart — but the “Bowie” character was well-observed: