A man on his deathbed with button eyes, thrashing about as the spirit pulls away and the past comes creeping out of the wardrobe for one last dance.
That video "Lazarus" struck me last week as just a footnote to David Bowie's epic 10 minute "Blackstar" opus, a smaller sidestory with that clip's Button-eyed man. I was wrong. "Lazrus" is the main event, as intimate and direct a film as Bowie ever made — there's no hiding anything in a 1:1 aspect ratio — a perfect parting note from The Man Who Fell To Earth, dead at age 69, after an 18 month battle of cancer, succumbing merely three days after the release of "Lazarus" and his latest, last album, Blackstar.
A shocker, but only because we weren't paying as much attention as we should have been.
You watch and listen to "Lazarus" now and it's all right there.
Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now
This way or no way
You know, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now ain’t that just like me?
Of course. Ain't that just like him?
Last month I got to produce some behind the scenes coverage of the "Blackstar" video premiere event, where the video aired a few times throughout the day at a Brooklyn cinema. There were fans there from all around the world, taking in the video again and again, poring over every detail and mystery, giving it their time and focus, wondering what it all meant. That's pretty amazing, especially in an age where most artists are lucky if their fans go past their latest tweet or give them even 9 measly seconds to watch a Vine, let alone travel (in the rain) to a theater and repeatedly watch a 10 minute video.
I wish I paid that sort of attention the first time I watched "Lazarus," not because I would have figured it out, but because that's what true art deserves.
Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar)
RIP, David Bowie.