In one of the more depressing reality TV show stunts of recent times, it was announced today through The Daily Star that David Bowie’s ex-wife Angie Bowie would be joining the annual cringe-athon that is the Celebrity Big Brother house this Tuesday (January 5). Just to rub a little more salt in the wound, Bowie will be joined by the likes of Megan McKenna, “star” (quotation marks intended) of highbrow cultural cornerstone Ex On The Beach, former Mr. Ireland Jeremy McConnell, gossip writer Jonathan Cheban and former UKIP candidate Winston McKenzie. No, seriously.
The only legitimate reaction to this motley line-up is a kind of hybrid between a shuddering recoil and a baffled shrug. And while Angie had a successful career as a model and actress herself, it’s clear from the tone of the the house roll-call that Bowie has almost certainly been enlisted because of her surname.
Of course, it’s widely noted that the pair’s split in 1976 and subsequent divorce was not an amicable one. In 2000, Angie published a tell-all expose on the pair’s relationship entitled Backstage Passes: Life On The Wild Side With David Bowie, while her website includes an eyebrow-raising biography about how the singer has tried to “edit her out” of his life and success story. So far, so sadly standard; divorces breed bitterness, such is life.
This choice of housemate for a show like Celebrity Big Brother, always with its ambitions firmly in the gutter of tabloid gossip, isn’t even that surprising – they’ve signed up Nancy Dell’Olio, who came to fame as Sven Goran-Eriksson’s former girlfriend, too. But David Bowie isn’t some rogue football manager or errant soap star to dish the dirt on, he’s bloody David Bowie for God’s sake. David Bowie: magical space alien and creator of mythical worlds. David Bowie: reclusive genius and intriguing enigma. David Bowie: a man whose entire being is predicated on a notion that goes against every single cell of the crass, prying public circus that is Big Brother.
Does anyone really want to watch Angie, sat on the sofa in her pyjamas, telling someone from UKIP about Bowie’s sexual habits or, in fact, is that the same kind of bubble-bursting death of magic as telling a kid that Santa isn’t real? Maybe best to leave the telly off for a while then, eh?