Last weekend I was fortunate to be one of over 1 million people worldwide, to have experienced the brilliance of, lets say, a musical genius. David Bowie Is is a wonderful retrospective of a man who did so much more than merely write some of the most influential pop tunes of a handful of generations. The exhibition was a homage to a man who pushed the boundaries of music and went out of his way to make a remarkable difference to the musical world we live in today. Surrounded by the musical sounds and visual layers of Bowie’s hit parade of tracks and visual delights that span over 40 years, this exhibition was for many of us, a celebration of a very important artist who brought together creativity and passion in the form of film, video, fashion, performance and music.
Like any discerning alternative music follower, while absorbing all that was on offer at the Melbourne exhibition, I pondered a very big question. “What artist of my generation (Generation X) would warrant and deserve a retrospective of an exhibition that ignited inspiration and excitement like Bowie did?”
To the answer this question, I travelled to the year is 2030, where I celebrated my youthful 55the Birthday. Above me, up high above levitates a big digital screen (think Blade Runner, The Jetsons or Fifth Element for effect) promoting the much anticipated exhibition marking the extraordinary life of (fill this missing artist name here). I cant quite make out the artist……
Perhaps it was Noel Gallagher, once the most “Rock N Roll Superstar” from 1991 to erm….1995 who fronted a band called Oasis along with his brother Liam. In there early days they had all the signs of band that would be important enough and interesting enough to grab some attention, love or loath them. With all the fighting, walk-outs and shenanigans, the whole thing started to get boring. Then Noel moved on to his solo career and actually produced some great songs but again, most of the publicity came from the smart arse comments he made from other artists. Okay, perhaps not the most inspiring exhibition.
What about Aphex Twin, here is a man who many would not know or appreciate, continues to make such an impact on the electronic music scene, starting from the early 90s and til today. Despite the release of some almost unlistenable tracks during his 25 year career, Aphex Twin will continue to tread new turf in the fields of electronic music. To curate an exhibition of such a talent, unless you were a die-hard fan and had an appreciation for progressive electro music, the exhibition would be short lived.
Okay, how about New Order/Joy Division? I think this could quite likely be a contender and reach out to many musical fans of this world, considering that Blue Monday was, and still is the worlds highest selling 12″ single of all time. Joy Division, remain in the dear hearts of millions of people around the world and New Order who continue to churn out albums in 2015 but as far as influencing goes where artistry is taken beyond music……I really dont think these guys are the one.
The I sadly thought, there are two artists that came to mind who may well have been the ones to change a generation, and a few more ahead of us. Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain would have put on a damn fine exhibition on. Oh, what could have been.
So here we are, back in 2015 and I have come to the conclusion that there simply will never be anyone like such artists that pave the way for change and inspiration like Bowie. I must confess that I am not a devoted fan but I do realise that again, the state of music today has a lot to answer for thanks to the way we access music and the rate at which we want something different. We tune in, enjoy and tune out.
Don’t get me wrong, there is some absolutely brilliant bands out there today that bring out some great music but gets lost in al the “noise”. The music we hear isnt “life changing”, but I really don’t blame the music delivered, more the musical world we live in now. Perhaps artists like Bowie simply dont exist anymore or is itthe simple fact that we as audiences don’t need music to escape, to inspire like we once did. We are just to distracted with so many other things, so many things to distract us and take us to different places.
For a moment, I again mourned the state of music today, but in my lam(b)ent I also thought how bloody lucky we are to be able to access music from all over the world, and that in itself is inspiring.