David Bowie Royal Mail stamps now available for pre-order

The Royal Mail's David Bowie Special Stamps are now available for pre-order. The 10 stamps -- six featuring his iconic album covers and four with concert images -- will be available on March 14. A stamp with cover art from "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" was previously issued in 2010. The only other groups that Royal Mail has honored with a dedicated stamp issue like this are The Beatles and Pink Floyd. Read the rest

Watch: David Bowie's first TV appearance at age 17 was a delightful prank

In November 1964, 17-year-old David Bowie (then Jones) appeared on BBC's "Tonight" to talk about his new Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men, a PR stunt cooked up by his dad. Bowie was already a veteran rocker, having played with The Konrads,Tthe King Bees, and The Manish Boys. From Wendy Leigh's Bowie: The Biography:

He might have been part of the Manish Boys, but inside, David had always seen himself as a star who stood on his own. So he was heartened when his father came up with a masterstroke.... John Jones swung into action and, applying his well-honed PR skills, along with David's input, concocted a cause designed to thrust David into the limelight....

Consequently, in November 1964, at John Jones's behest, the ever-obliging Leslie Thomas [a music columnist and former Barnardo's boy who'd previously written about the King Bees, also at John Jones's behest] published an article in the Evening News titled "For Those Beyond the Fringe," announcing the formation of a new society, the International League for the Preservation of Animal Filament, whose founder and president was none other than David Jones.

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Bowie and Bing play "Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy"

The performance is from the 1977 TV special "Bing Crosby's Merrie Olde Christmas." From Wikipedia:

Bowie's appearance has been described as a "surreal" event, undertaken at a time that he was "actively trying to normalise his career". He later admitted to having only appeared on the show because "I just knew my mother liked him". Buz Kohan was not sure that Crosby knew who Bowie was, but Ian Fraser claimed, "I'm pretty sure he did. Bing was no idiot. If he didn't, his kids sure did."

According to co-writer Ian Fraser, Bowie balked at singing "Little Drummer Boy": "I hate this song. Is there something else I could sing?", Fraser recalls Bowie telling him. Fraser, along with songwriter Larry Grossman and the special's scriptwriter, Buz Kohan, then wrote "Peace on Earth" as a counterpoint to "Little Drummer Boy". Crosby performed "Little Drummer Boy", while Bowie sang the new tune "Peace on Earth", which they reportedly performed after less than an hour of rehearsal.

A few days after the taping, Crosby said of Bowie, "clean-cut kid and a real fine asset to the show. He sings well, has a great voice and reads lines well."

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Buy Bowie's amazing 1960s stereo and his Memphis furniture collection

On November 11, Sotheby's will auction off David Bowie's beautiful collection of Italian designer furniture and other objects, including his incredible 1966 "Radio-Phonograph, Model No. RR126" by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. The bulk of his collection going on the block though are 1980s pieces of Memphis furniture. Over at Collectors Weekly, Hunter Oatman-Stanford writes about Bowie's deep appreciation for Memphis:

The name “Memphis” was supposedly chosen after an early brainstorming session, during which Bob Dylan’s song “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again” played repeatedly on the record player. The designers appreciated the word’s disparate connotations, evoking both cheap American kitsch and the regal city of ancient Egypt.

United in their efforts to reject traditional notions of “good design,” the Memphis artists mocked the bland austerity of Modernism by mixing clashing colors, patterns, and materials on playful geometric forms that often masked an object’s intended use. Although their collaborations only lasted a few years—Sottsass left the Memphis group in 1985, and the rest parted ways in 1987—they caused an uproar in the design world. Memphis sensibilities continued trickling into mainstream design via knockoff brands that influenced interiors everywhere from movie sets to high-school cafeterias.

“It didn’t look serious. It looked like a prank,” Bowie wrote of Memphis in 2002. “It mixed Formica attitude with marble diffidence. Bright yellows against turquoise. Virus patterns on ceramics. It couldn’t care less about function.”

"Space Oddity: David Bowie's Secret Obsession With '80s Memphis Design" (Thanks, Ben Marks!)

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Bowie memorialized as new iOS emoji

Apple's iOS 10.2 update contains two emoji inspired by David Bowie's Aladdin Sane character. The two emoji are named "Male singer" and "Female singer." See the new slew of emojis at Emojipedia. Read the rest

David Bowie's hair sold for $18,750

A lock of David Bowie's hair sold for $18,750 at auction this week. The seller was Wendy Farrier, a wigmaker who snipped the lock for color reference for a wax statue at Madame Tussauds. No info on the buyer.

"Once hair samples were matched with any figures at Madam Tussauds they were discarded as a matter of course, so there was amusement when I asked to keep one from the selection taken from Bowie,” Farrier wrote in a signed letter of provenance given to Heritage Auctions.

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Slumps: adorable art of your favorite characters all slumped over

Matt Ritchie makes "slumps" — whimsical artwork of popular characters slumped over as if falling asleep or theatrically dejected by their latest mishap.

Up top are the heroes of Star Wars, who have perhaps just learned that Disney has no plans to remaster the original theatrical release. Here's the Justice League, reading reviews of the movies they appear in. Read the rest

Listen to Michael Stipe (REM) sing David Bowie

A heavily-bearded Michael Stipe sings a beautifully baroque cover of David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World" as a teaser for tomorrow night's Music of David Bowie tribute concert at Radio City Music Hall, and streaming. (The Tonight Show)

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See Camille Rose Garcia's mind-blowing new paintings, including a Bowie portrait!

Pop surrealist pioneer Camille Rose Garcia returns to Seattle's Roq La Rue Gallery tonight, March 3, with a magnificent new show of phantasmagoric paintings! This remarkable exhibition, titled "Animus Chrysalis Mortis," hangs until April 2. Garcia says:

For this body of work I was inspired by the surrealist and deeply symbolic films of Alejandro Jodorowsky, Jungian archetypes, and Greek mythology. I created a personal language of symbols, then made a card set and selected at random a different set for each new painting. This method taps into the elements of subconscious influence and chance, as well as mirrors the cut-up method of writing created by one of my favorite authors William Burroughs.

From these subconscious suggestions I created a lush and layered symbolic world that explores the realm of childhood, memory and longing. Ghosts and gardens, snakes and skulls frame fever-dream scenes of wounded goddesses slayed open, fecund gardens growing from their wounds. Vibrant strange gardens populated with insects and dream imagery portray a psychedelic dance between life and death.

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Listen to David Bowie impersonate Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and others

A tape has emerged of David Bowie doing impressions of other singers, apparently on-demand.

Slate made a playlist.

Here’s the order of the impressions, as best as we can tell:

0:00 Bruce Springsteen 0:49 Bob Dylan or Marc Bolan? 1:45 Tom Waits 2:29 Lou Reed 3:25 Anthony Newley 4:13 Iggy Pop 5:14 Neil Young

"I'm just fuckin' about now."

They're pretty good, but they're all David! Read the rest

Astronomers unofficially designate a David Bowie "constellation"

Studio Brussels asked astronomers at Belgium's MIRA Public Observatory to select stars that would make a fitting asterism in memory of David Bowie. (Of course, only the International Astronomical Union can officially name stars and other astronomical objects, and it's almost always with a number.)

In any case, this effort was tied to the "Stardust for Bowie" annotation project for Google Sky. There is also an unrelated Change.org petition to "Rename planet Mars after David Bowie."

(via The Guardian) Read the rest

David Bowie, Internet Service Provider: Interview with the guy who ran BowieNet ISP

When artist and pop star David Bowie launched an Internet service provider firm in the heady dot-com runup days of 1998, a guy named Ron Roy helped Bowie run the ISP. Days after the music icon's death from cancer at age 69, Ars Technica interviews Roy about how "BowieNet" came to life, and why Bowie wanted to be in the ISP business in the first place.

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Listen to David Bowie the DJ (1979)

On May 20, 1979, David Bowie was invited to take over BBC Radio One for a two-hour DJ set titled "Star Special" that's a fantastic tour of underground, unfamiliar, or avant-rock sounds of that time mixed with tunes by popular artists he loved: Iggy Pop, Velvet Underground, Roxy Music, Talking Heads, Philip Glass, Danny Kaye, Little Richard, Bruce Springsteen, and many more. Read the rest

David Bowie and Freddy Mercury singing "Under Pressure," a capella

Isolated vocal tracks from Bowie and Queen's "Under Pressure" (1981). Original below.

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Bowie, Eno and serendipity

Tim Harford (previously) writes, "My TED talk just went live - among other things it's about Bowie and Eno's creative process on the Berlin albums. It's rather sadly timed but I hope you like it." Read the rest

New York Times print: "It's a good time to be David Bowie"

Too late to stop the presses?

(via @brianstetler) Read the rest

The stars look very different today

"The stars look very different today." I've written, on several occasions, though most revealingly here, about glam's desperate importance to those of us marooned in the beige, tract-home nightmare of '70s suburbia.

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