Monday, April 7, 2014

Seabrook hits a nerve writing of opening notes

Without having to worry about analyzing an album, Seabrook's writing about Bowie has markedly improved. Bowie in Berlin's third part is instead full of interesting facts and observations. It's the sort of narrative construction of a person's life that I genuinely enjoy reading.

And within that narrative, there's a welcome twist.

Bowie's bringing the violinist Simon House on for the "'Heroes'" tour is quite interesting to me. Not because I'm familiar with House's work, but because I've dabbled in playing the violin.

Throughout my self-tutelage I was always trying to figure out the opening riff to "Ziggy Stardust" by ear since I couldn't then (and still can't now) reliably read violin sheet music (or translate guitar tablatures). And what did House most remarkably do while on tour with Bowie? He played the opening riff to "Ziggy Stardust" on electric violin.

So now I just need to dig up a copy of Stage and try to work through it with an actual example. Any book that broadens your listening (or reading) like this is definitely a success.

But, not everyone is an amateur, self-taught violinist.

Obviously this is a very specific example of Seabrook's retelling of Bowie's life and music affecting me, but it still goes a long way to confirming my suspicion that without albums to focus on Seabrook's general attention to detail would increase. Sure, most biographers would likely include Bowie's bringing a violinist in for his tour, but only a handful would mention House's playing the opening of Ziggy Stardust with Seabrook's enthusiasm.

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