Stephen Stroud
Stephen Stroud


David Bowie has had a tremendous career by anyone's standards, but does the notoriously self critical perfectionist still have regrets about how he's lived his life or managed his career? Do mistakes of the past ever come back to haunt him? I think you'll agree that whatever mistakes he may or may not have made, musically or otherwise, things have come full circle for Mr. Bowie... but does he see it that way?

Using a arena size vat of artistic licence I placed the David Bowie of 2003 in a time machine and took him back to 1980 to have a chat with himself...

(The time machine in question was similar to the Delorian used in 'Back To The Future' except David insisted on using an Electric Blue Lamborghini... Oh, and the universe fails to implode when the two Bowie's meet due to some incredibly complex quantum physics equation which I refuse to bore you with now... (cough)

David Bowie is enjoying a quite lunch at Marcos in Manhattan. The year is 1980, David sits on top of the charts with 'Ashes To Ashes' and Scary Monsters has been received amazingly well by the critics. He's dining with Corrine 'Coco' Schwab when a middle-aged man approaches the table.

Coco: (Getting up) " Please, don't bother David when he's..."

She stops dead as she stares into the asymmetrical eyes of Mr. David Bowie 2003...

" I thought I might just borrow a moment of his time... it won't take long" he murmured using the wolfish grin he perfected in the China Girl video (" which doesn't exist right now, thank God!" ) he thought as Coco spluttered and stared.

Bowie (80) hadn't paid any attention to the uninvited guest and stared into space feeling tragic and fragile. He was shocked as the man sat himself down in Coco's place opposite him, and he looked around for help instinctively. What he saw was Coco jogging to the bathroom looking shaken, he automatically assumed the worse and fell into panic.

" She's sold me out" he thought as old cocaine paranoia reared it's two tone head.

Then he looked at the man, who he was convinced by now must be an assassin or even worse, a tabloid journalist.

But his paranoia was cut short by a similar reaction to Coco's...

The eyes, the mouth, the nostrils... it was all too much and he frantically searched for possible explanations, but was cut short when the man spoke...

" Hello Jones."

" What do you want and... who the f**k are you?" '80 Bowie stammered.

" I want you to listen to me for just a short while... and I think you know who I am" '03 Bowie said in a not unkindly voice... and then he smiled.

80s Bowie was about to burst a blood vessel in his forehead when David '03 filled his glass with the water on the table, the normality of this act seemed to set them both at ease.

After a short stare off - '03 began...

" I'm... no,'re at a crossroads David. I just want you to know some things about the future, I'm not here to tell you what to do or what not to do, but I want you to know what will happen to your soul if you go a certain way."

Bowie '80 arched an eyebrow and seemed very interested all of a sudden. David '03 knew all along what it would take to snare his younger selfs attention... 'Drama!'

" If you retired right now, and you shouldn't by the way, but I'm just saying IF... you'd leave behind the greatest body of work a solo artist has ever released."

Bowie '80 looked stunned... " Really?"

" Legend" '03 mouthed the words seductively at himself.

" But... in three years time, you release a pop album... not a rock album or an art rock album... a pop album, and it does very well indeed in fact you make more money from this record than your previous ones combined practically!"

" What do you mean Pop?" '80 asked suspiciously.

" I mean throwaway songs, targeted at the mainstream... and I mean more money then you can imagine."

" I can imagine quite a bit" laughed Eighties David.

'03 smiled wolfishly...

" But..." '03 David spoke over him, " For everything there is a price... especially when you don't quit while you're ahead."

" Why wouldn't I quit when I'm ahead?" '80 asked reasonably.

" Because you get greedy, you stop thinking about work and start thinking only about money... and you do too much of THAT shit to think properly anymore." '03 knowingly eyed 80's Bowie's jacket breast pocket, knowing full well the stimulating content.

'80 looked suitably chastised, but sat back and listened.

" Unfortunatly, you get a taste for income, so you keep making mainstream pop records until your 'legendary work' is all but a dim memory and you're richer more powerful yet more depressed than you could possibly imagine."

" I won't!" '80 roared, while people in the trendy restaurant looked around uncomfortably.

" I won't do it, why would I do it? I'll continue to make good records, I won't be another sad has-been" he cried, panicking, on the verge of tears.

" Well.." 03 continued " It's not all bad, in about thirteen years time you get married again... lovely woman, Somalian... best thing that ever happened... (he stops himself rambling like a love sick puppy) Anyway! You even get off the coke and start making some real music again even work with Ronno again" he said with smile which faded to a sad glint in his eyes.

" But however good the work is in the years following your marriage, and some of it is fantastic I might add... however good it is, the fans and the critics can't forget you selling out in the Eighties (he had a look of disgust on his face when he said these words)... I'm not saying they're right... in fact they're wrong, but that's the way it is David and I thought you should know."

David '80 looked shellshocked " Is there anything else I should know?" he asked helplessly.

" Well in a nutshell... you join a heavy metal band as lead singer at the end of the Eighties as a side project... Might have been a bad idea" he grimaced...

" Also, if you're doing any tribute concerts in the future, don't say any prayers into the mic whilst down on your knees wearing an Armani lime green suit" he sighed theatrically...

" And!" he added, warming to the theme " For God's sake refuse any movie offer that involves puppets and goblins" he cried, raising his eyes to heaven...

80's David looked on in amusement a Bowie '03 wound up his rap.

" Listen son... my advice is... you'll make enough money doing what you love, without having to go mainstream, so... don't, because it'll make you miserable.

Secondly... whatever you decide to do... you have to meet Iman, she'll change your life"... David '03 then slipped a card across the table, on it was an address and a date. " Be there then!" " You'll thank me."

Bowie '80 was misty eyed and still sitting in a state of shock... " What should I do for my next album?" he whispered.

" I'm not sure... get Tony back on board... maybe you should give John Cale a ring?" he added mysteriously... " Or even Lou!"

At this they both laughed at this impossibility.

" Good talking to you David."

" You too."

" Before I go... one final piece of advice... stay away from the Dakota Building tonight."

Bowie '80 looked at him bemused, but nodded.

With that David Bowie '03 left the table and walked past a still bemused Coco on his way out of the restaurant winking at her cheekily as he went... he walked slowly to the electric blue Lamborghini which had drawn a small crowd and wondered what awaited him when he got home.

" Glass Spider my arse" he muttered as he turned the ignition.

Stephen Stroud.

June 2003.

BW MB Profile...