The V&A museum's David Bowie exhibition is a triumph, packed with costumes and one-off artefacts from Bowie's own collection and curated with great reverence, just like a career retrospective for any great artist should be. A showman like Bowie would approve of its crescendo-like finale too, but you won't get any spoilers here. Instead, here are 25 things NME learned from the exhibition.


[blogbigpic][/blogbigpic]




[subhead]'The Next Day' album cover alternatives[/subhead]
Other designs considered for the already-iconic 'The Next Day' sleeve featured different disfigured Bowie sleeves. One had 'Pin-Ups' with three black blobs suggesting a vague Mickey Mouse shape obscuring the image. Another had 'Aladdin Sane' as its base.

[subhead]Why Bowie killed 'Nathan Adler Diaries'[/subhead]
1995's 'Outside' was supposed to be part of a series of works known as 'The Nathan Adler Diaries', which would be terminated in December 1999. In a handwritten note explaining the copy, Bowie writes, "History is now an illusion, therefore theoretically the future no longer exists. There is only today."


[blogbigpic][/blogbigpic]


[subhead]Massive trousers[/subhead]
Bowie can pull off a very wide trouser leg. A couple of Kansai Yamamoto's designs for 1973's Aladdin Sane costumes, including the famous Tokyo top bodysuit, measure about a metre across.


[blogbigpic][/blogbigpic]


[subhead]Bowie and Tibet[/subhead]
Supporting Tyrannosaurus Rex in the late '60s, Bowie performed a mime piece titled Yat-Sen And The Eagle, about the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Mainstream success was still some way off.
[subhead]Bowie wrote music traditionally[/subhead]
Bowie noted many of his songs in full musical scripture. At the exhibition, you'll see early tracks 'London Boys', 'The Laughing Gnome' and 'Liza Jane' plus later material including 'Fame'.
[subhead]'Chart artistes'[/subhead]
A '60s press release promoting Bowie says he "never buys singles but likes to watch live performances by Jimi Hendrix, The Cream and other chart artistes".
[subhead]Bowie loves biro[/subhead]
Bowie produced concept sketches for many of his albums – usually in biro.
[subhead]As you can imagine...[/subhead]

The original artwork for 'Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)' is beautiful – and massive.



[blogbigpic][/blogbigpic]


[subhead]Warhol on 'Andy Warhol'[/subhead]
Andy Warhol did not like Bowie's song 'Andy Warhol', and the pair only met – awkwardly – once.
[subhead]Bowie gets verbalized[/subhead]
In the mid-'90s, Bowie used an Apple programme called Verbalizer to help with lyrics. The software randomly chopped up any sentences that were inputted.
[subhead]Imagine owning one of these lyric cards[/subhead]
In conceptualising 'The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars', Bowie noted short phrases down on playing card-sized bits of white card. Among them, "Ziggy Shines", "out-hipping them", "hit record" and "parents' view point".
[subhead]Arse/ass[/subhead]
In the written lyrics for 'Ziggy Stardust', Bowie writes "He was the nazz / With god-given arse," though he did, of course, sing the more comfortably-rhyming Americanism "ass".




[blogbigpic][/blogbigpic]



[subhead]'Fashion' in its original form[/subhead]
The song 'Fashion' originally had an extra verse. "He's up ahead/Burn a flag/Shake a fist/Start a fight/If you're covered in blood/you're doing it right".
[subhead]Why 'Diamond Dogs' cover was airbrushed[/subhead]
On Guy Peelaert's original artwork for 'Diamond Dogs', the anthropomorphic half-Bowie, half-hound creature had an actual dog's dick. It was airbrushed from the finished sleeve, but you can see it at the exhibition (if you're so inclined).


[blogbigpic][/blogbigpic]



[subhead]Lost lyrics[/subhead]
Deleted lyrics from 'Station To Station' include, "You love like a bomb/You smell like a ghost'.
[subhead]Lady Bowie[/subhead]
Bowie wore man-dresses on his first trip to the USA. He was refused entry to a drag queen-intolerant LA restaurant as a result.
[subhead]If you go down to the woods today...[/subhead]
The puppets from the 'Where Are We Now' video are shit scary up close. See you in my nightmares, Bowie-bear!
[subhead]Bowie loves clowns[/subhead]
Bowie described Pierrot – a recurring image throughout his career – as "the most beautiful clown in the circus".
[subhead]'Station To Station' tour's original set[/subhead]
The 'Station To Station' tour was originally supposed to have a nine-foot high puppet made from found objects on stage. Bowie scrapped the idea for a minimal set with bars of white light.



[blogbigpic][/blogbigpic]



[subhead]Can Bowie paint?[/subhead]
Bowie's Francis Bacon-style Berlin paintings are pretty good, especially one of Iggy Pop.
[subhead]Coke spoon[/subhead]
Bowie kept a dainty cocaine spoon on his person throughout the recording of Diamond Dogs.
[subhead]Bowie and Visconti[/subhead]
Bowie's handwritten production notes for 'Young Americans' urge producer Tony Visconti to "go back to 1969".


[blogbigpic][/blogbigpic]


[subhead]Bowie's technological identity[/subhead]
Speaking about his flamboyant stage shows in the early '70s, Bowie told a reporter, "I'm the last person to pretend I'm a radio. I'd rather go out and be a colour TV set."
[subhead]'The Elephant Man'[/subhead]
While Bowie was on Broadway in 'The Elephant Man', Mark Chapman bought tickets to see the show – and was due to attend the night after he shot John Lennon.
[subhead]Henson's Labyrinth request[/subhead]
Jim Henson sent the Labyrinth script to Bowie with a hand-written cover note saying, "You would be wonderful in this film". And by god, he was!

Share This

Comments
Don't Miss
Latest Tickets
NME On Social
NME Store