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David Bowie - Five Years (1972)

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars begins with the end of the world. The song sets the scene for the loose narrative of Ziggy Stardust: the Earth has been given only five years left to live, and following this revelation, a flamboyant rock and roll messiah from Mars beams his message of salvation to all the radios of Earth. Ziggy Stardust becomes a musical sensation—the Rise—until his ego and fame grow too large and he is torn apart by the very rock fans he was on a mission to save—the Fall.

Bowie’s use of narrative reaches a creative peak in this fantastical story of apocalypse, space aliens, and glam. He continues his role as social observer, but of a world that is his own creation. “Five Years” focuses on the ordinary people of the doomed Earth, from their panic and anger to their sorrow and love. It’s truly a very intimate and affecting performance by Bowie, whose delivery grows increasingly frantic until he sounds like he is nearly sobbing out of desperation.

In a 2012 article from Uncut magazine about the making of Ziggy, engineer Dennis MacKay describes Bowie’s single vocal take for the song:

Bowie’s screaming, and what you hear on that song [‘Five Years’] – the emotion – is for real. He’s bawling his eyes out. [Mick] Ronson was looking at Bowie, stunned. I was in shock, because… he was also hitting every note spot-on. I’ve worked with some great vocalists since. But no-one who could do it in one take with that much emotion.

There have been questions over the years about the relative sincerity behind Bowie’s work, and certainly much of his work is not strictly autobiographical, but there is something to be said for his ability to convey a sense of a real, observed human truth, regardless of whether or not it is just a pose or a performance. The interplay of authenticity and artifice is central to Bowie’s work, and specifically in the character of Ziggy Stardust.


Films + Pink Hair
(closer, lost in translation, grease, eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, scott pilgram vs. the world, the hunger games: catching fire, spring breakers, storytelling)

Lines from Lost in Translation that apply to my college experience

Charlotte: Let's never come here again. Cause it would never be as much fun... Does it get easier?

Bob: No. Yes. It gets easier.

Charlotte: Oh yeah?...

Bob: The more you know who you are and what you want the less you let things upset you.

Charlotte: Yeah. I just don't know what I'm supposed to be... I'm so mean.

Bob: Mean's okay.


Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing, a remake of this post. Source.

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Bf after aforementioned freshman bf:

  • First date: Shaun of the Dead
  • Last date: The Corpse Bride

Movies I watched on the last night I lived in NYC before an early morning flight because all lamps were in storage:

  • First time: Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull
  • Second time: Bridesmaids

We’re watching Lost in Translation

Which fucking blew my mind during my first year of college. I saw it for free at the Student Union with my roommate. (And I still love, but look back on with mixed feelings for a number of reasons)

Movies the roommate and I rented from a super sketchy video store near campus:

  • Run Lola Run
  • It
  • American Beauty
  • City of God

Movies I watched for free at college with my college BF:

  • Matrix 2 
  • Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (it’s a good movie, but the parts he reacted to should have been a sign)
  • Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (I love it; according to my bff the bf and I were gross and made out waiting for it to start. I do not remember this)
  • Metropolis
  • Sideways (we were almost broken up by then)

Movies I watched with my film class freshman year:

  • Rocky
  • Lost in Translation
  • Tough Guise (I am still all about this documentary) 
  • Harold and Maude
  • Ride Lonesome
  • Manhattan
This lipstick and I are really having a moment

This lipstick and I are really having a moment