1. If you missed it, there was a minor Bowie hoax today. A (quite legitimate) website from Cardiff called God Is in the TV posted an alleged exclusive interview with Bowie, which would have been his first public statement post-The Next Day except for that list of words he gave Rick Moody last spring.
2. This interview was by “Sean BW Parker,” a “British singer-songwriter” who works with the Istanbul group Scorpio Rising. The interview was a complete fake, and a rather obvious one. Still, Parker deceived the site’s editor, fabricating what would have been the biggest scoop of the site’s existence, and he quite embarrassed them. They’ve apologized. He has as well, in the comments thread of that Facebook entry, though his last tweet still touts his fake interview: https://twitter.com/seanbwparker/status/410864037820260352. Parker claims he was in an “altered state” and pissed off about Bowie’s Vuitton ad. He sent off the fake interview to the unsuspecting editor, who for a few hours thought he had a huge life-altering scoop.
3. I don’t really care why people make up this stuff. I just assume they want some clicks, maybe they get a kick out of disseminating horseshit or they’re apparently, in this case, drunk (though were you still drunk when you tweeted about your fake interview?). What’s more interesting, to me at least, is why this hoax interview seemed so false. If you didn’t see it, what was striking about it was its banality. Bowie is a witty man who, since 1966 or so, has viewed interviews as sport. He will riff, fabricate his past lives, throw in esoteric references, act overly humble, act wildly imperious. What he won’t be is boring. This interview was boring. It was ordinary. If Bowie had suffered a stroke and half of his brain wasn’t working, this is perhaps what he would’ve sounded like. It read like someone had used the Wikipedia page for The Next Day as their main source of inspiration.
4. The biggest tell was the interview’s alleged “scoop”: that Bowie recalled doing “hurricanes of cocaine” with Lou Reed and said that Iggy Pop offered him some coke at Lou Reed’s “after-wake,” which Bowie politely declined. I’ll be blunt: people really need to stop giving a toss about Bowie’s coke use. Yes, the man did a lot of cocaine. Nearly 40 years ago. Then he stopped. Who knows what he’s done since, what else he’s encountered? DB may have been offered human blood to drink, for all we know. Someone might have iodized platinum and mixed it with absinthe in some concoction that would retail at $44,000 a liter and DB could’ve passed. “Not tonight, lurve! School day tomorrow!” Or maybe the guy’s actually been sober since the Clinton administration, as boring as that is.
Instead it’s just, again and again, “Bowie did coke, heh-heh, did you know Bowie did a lot of coke? He did coke, heh heh.” Here’s a rule of thumb: if you read a “new” Bowie anecdote involving coke in any way, it’s fake. It’s meant to cater to your basest impulses as a fan.
5. My main objection to the fake interview is an aesthetic one: if you were going to fabricate a Bowie Q&A, why not have fun with it? I’ll be immodest: I could have done a better fake. Momus’ would have been genius. Luke Haines’ would’ve been magnificent.. Honestly, anyone who’s read a few bios, has paid attention to DB in the past 10 years and has a modicum of writing talent would’ve done a better job.
I suppose the hoax filled some need for Bowie to “fully” return. We aren’t happy with him just putting out the new songs and videos: we want the old wry, urbane voice back, too; the arch Bowie “interview” voice, which we realized was something of an art form after it had packed off. Fans seem to have accepted that Bowie may never perform again (though who knows?); what they seem to refuse to accept is that he may never talk to the press again.
6. I expect that the “Bowie was offered coke by Iggy at Lou Reed’s wake” lie will occasionally resurface on Tumblr and Twitter and on message boards for the next few decades. So do your part and say it’s a fake, hey?