It’s hard not to use a word like “groovy” when it comes to describing Haddon Hall: When David Invented Bowie. There’s the setting: a crumbling estate in swinging London, where David Bowie, his wife Angie, and assorted others are living and creating in the late ‘60s. There’s the loose, freewheeling quality to both the lettering and drawings, which use simple outlines and pops of color. And there’s the sly humor, which comes through in both the dialogue and breaks from the main story (which show us how to be a music snob, how to be a fashionista, etc.)
One of the joys of this book is seeing the time period come to life. People like producer Tony Visconti, T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan, original Pink Floyd member Syd Barrett, and dissatisfied Beatle John Lennon pass through these pages. They worry about their music, experiment with sexual identities, and try to fend off feelings of creative envy. And, if they’re Bowie, they develop their most iconic persona (Ziggy Stardust) while dealing with poignant family issues (the hospitalization of his schizophrenic brother Terry).
This book is a delight. I learned plenty about Bowie despite having already read a biography, but Haddon Hall doesn’t feel educational. It shows in its not-too-serious way that creativity can be a grind, and that none of us — not even David Bowie — was born a fully formed artist.
Haddon Hall: When David Invented Bowie
2017, 144 pages, 7.5 x 0.8 x 10 inches, Hardcover
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