London professor Will Brooker, who teaches film and cultural studies at Kingston University, plans to spend several months experiencing specific moments of David Bowie’s life. As the hugely revered artist has had a professional career spanning more thang Bowie’s eating habits, limiting himself to the same literature and visiting the same places will help him gain a deeper understanding of the man’s mind at work.
“The idea is the inhabit David Bowie’s head space at points in his life and career to understand his work from an original angle, while retaining a critical and objective perspective at the same time – a kind of split persona perhaps.”
Hey, so it’s not the most conventional method of researching a past icon, but we can’t fault his originality.
So far Brooker has visited Brixton, Bromley and Beckenham and has plans to visit Berlin next month. He has limited his diet to red peppers and milk during weekends, and spent hours pouring over literature by authors such as William Burroughs, a seminal postmodernist writer of the Beat generation, Aleister Crowley and Friedrich Nietzsche. As for the… shall we say more decadent aspects of Bowie’s lifestle, Brooker does what he can.
“The levels of cocaine Bowie was consuming is not just illegal for a professor like myself, but it’s much too expensive – as well as unhealthy. So at the weekend I had a six-pack of energy drinks to try and simulate the experience of illegal substances. It made me very jumpy.”
He spoke to the Guardian about the effect that all of this is having on his overall mood and sense of wellbeing.
“If you’re reading some strange science fiction and books about magic you can kind of get into Bowie’s head and see it’s sometimes quite a strange place. A dangerous place, a place you wouldn’t want to be too long.”
The incredible commitment to detail borders on fanatic obsession, or perhaps a personal midlife crisis. But you know what? Who cares. Brooker sounds like he’s having a fantastic time, and as long as he sticks to those energy drinks and not the hard stuff then who’s to stop him?