- Birthday, Music, Quotes, Reading

“Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.”

 

Happy birthday, David Bowie! Here are some quotes from the musician:

 

“I’m a born librarian with a sex drive.”

 

“Sometimes I don’t feel as if I’m a person at all. I’m just a collection of other people’s ideas.”

 

“We create so many circles on this straight line we’re told we’re traveling. The truth, of course, is that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.”

 

“Never play to the gallery. Never work for other people in what you do. Always remember that the reason that you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself that you felt that if you could manifest in some way, you would understand more about yourself and how you co-exist with the rest of society. I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other people’s expectations.”

 

“I’m a real self-educated kind of guy. I read voraciously. Every book I ever bought, I have. I can’t throw it away. It’s physically impossible to leave my hand! Some of them are in warehouses. I’ve got a library [where] I keep the ones I really, really like. I look around my library some nights and I do these terrible things to myself—I count up the books and think how long I might have to live, and think, ‘Fuck, I can’t read two-thirds of these books.’ It overwhelms me with sadness.”

 

“Don’t you love the Oxford Dictionary? When I first read it, I thought it was a really really long poem about everything.”

 

“I’m terribly intuitive—I always thought I was intellectual about what I do, but I’ve come to the realization that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing half the time, that the majority of the stuff that I do is totally intuitive, totally about where I am physically and mentally at any moment in time and I have a far harder time than anybody else explaining it and analyzing it. That’s the territory of the artist anyway: to be quite at sea with what he does…”

 

“I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human. I felt very puny as a human. I thought, ‘Fuck that. I want to be a superhuman.'”

 

“I’m an instant star. Just add water and stir.”

 

“People are so fucking dumb. Nobody reads anymore, nobody goes out and looks and explores the society and culture they were brought up in. People have attention spans of five seconds and as much depth as a glass of water.”

 

“Music has given me over 40 years of extraordinary experiences. I can’t say that life’s pains or more tragic episodes have been diminished because of it. But it’s allowed me so many moments of companionship when I’ve been lonely and a sublime means of communication when I wanted to touch people. It’s been both my doorway of perception and the house that I live in. I only hope that it embraces you with the same lusty life force that it graciously offered me.”

 

“I had to resign myself, many years ago, that I’m not too articulate when it comes to explaining how I feel about things. But my music does it for me, it really does. There, in the chords and melodies, is everything I want to say. The words just jolly it along. It’s always been my way of expressing what for me is inexpressible by any other means.”

 

“I think fame itself is not a rewarding thing. The most you can say is that it gets you a seat in restaurants.”

 

“Ageing is an extraordinary process. If you are pining for youth I think it produces a stereotypical old man because you only live in memory, you live in a place that doesn’t exist. I think ageing is an extraordinary process whereby you become the person that you always should have been.”

 

“It’s odd but even when I was a kid, I would write about ‘old and other times’ as though I had a lot of years behind me. Now I do, so there is a difference in the weight of memory. When you’re young, you’re still ‘becoming,’ now at my age I am more concerned with ‘being.’ And not too long from now I’ll be driven by ‘surviving,’ I’m sure. I kind of miss that ‘becoming’ stage, as most times you really don’t know what’s around the corner. Now, of course, I’ve kind of knocked on the door and heard a muffled answer. Nevertheless, I still don’t know what the voice is saying, or even what language it’s in.”

 

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John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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