The man who rose above: David Bowie – master of the non-publicity machine


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The Independent Online

The late flowering of David Bowie continues to enthral and amaze, and not the least impressive aspect of it is the extent to which he has become an artist who lets his creations do all his talking.

There is no such thing as a Bowie publicity machine, an absence that runs counter to a fundamental tenet of the celebrity business.

Two years ago, a V&A exhibition devoted to his life and work broke attendance records without so much as a promotional appearance or an interview from the man himself. The show coincided with the release of an album, The Next Day, that the world knew nothing about until the moment that a single from it exploded all over the internet. His first album for 10 years, it had been recorded in total secrecy and banished the notion that his career was over.

Now comes news that Bowie is working on a stage-show version of The Man who Fell to Earth, the 1976 sci-fi movie in which he starred as the title character. Lazarus will feature new songs by Bowie, and some reworked old ones, and is due to open in New York towards the end of the year.

The title of the show invites the follow-up “back from the dead”, but the beauty of Bowie is that, while he might go away for long periods, we always have to be ready for a surprise reappearance. No hype ever needs to surround him, and in these days of intense star-management that’s very refreshing.