When Bowie met The Ventriloquist

When Bowie met The Ventriloquist

Joined: 18 Feb 2006, 13:24

03 Aug 2017, 15:08 #1

HI, I'm just wondering about all the puppet references in Bowie's work: "He used to be my boss but here he is a puppet dancer."

As the waves batter the concrete ocean walls
The Ventriloquist plays a battered wooden doll
And that old Les Paul with sunburst wearing thin
makes a din that howls above the wind.

And in that small Denmark flat
with the antique frames and that lighted amp
That freak Ventriloquist with his worn out doll
makes a din that howls in the Denmark wind.

And with a battered book of magic spells
as the grim war beats down outside
That Ventriloquist with his old Les Paul
and its finish wearing thin
makes it howl like a freakish wooden doll.

Last edited by whitecaps on 03 Aug 2017, 15:10, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 25 Jan 2011, 16:08

11 Aug 2017, 22:03 #2

The puppetry observation is not far-fetched imo. I discussed Freud's Sandman here which is important, the uncanny, the failed boy, etc.

There's another observer who's explored the Pinocchio connection. I'll leave her to speak up on it if she wishes.



That anisocoria event in adolescence is pretty close to the center of things imo.


Joined: 31 Jan 2013, 05:28

11 Aug 2017, 22:50 #3

The cracked actor playing Hamlet.
To thine own self be true
Yes Pinocchio, when will you be real?
Ah yes anisocoria well that just makes me think of
"The False Mirror" by Rene Margritte (DrInk we hates him precious)

Edit: How about Lynch's candy colored clown / sandman?
Last edited by whidbeyisland on 12 Aug 2017, 00:08, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Feb 2006, 13:24

12 Aug 2017, 07:11 #4

The puppet out of control, ruled by forces outside of himself, I think has been a constant theme in Bowie's work. Shaped and mocked by time, changes, drugs, fame. death, chaos, Bowie has written his insecurities into his music.

He was very much simply a man who felt he was stricken by luck and "he looked in time, opening doors and pulling some strings."

Joined: 18 Feb 2006, 13:24

12 Aug 2017, 07:21 #5

During his SNL appearance, his helpers had to carry Bowie to the mike, and as late as The Next Day, Bowie appeared as a mere puppet in a box on his Where Are We video.

"I never lost control" is a mere fantasy, I think.

Joined: 27 Aug 2012, 16:16

12 Aug 2017, 16:41 #6

"During his SNL appearance, his helpers had to carry Bowie to the mike"

That was a reference to a famous Dada performance where the participants wore cardboard suits and had to be carried around because they couldn't move in them. I think db has mentioned that in the past.

Joined: 07 Oct 2004, 14:51

12 Aug 2017, 17:22 #7

He doesn't get it Mr Fish.

Joined: 23 Dec 2013, 16:58

12 Aug 2017, 17:33 #8

Mr Fish has a point.

Bowie was never a slave to realism and played around with continuity for the sake of now. He made it up as he went along even contradicting what had gone before.

The whole puppet thing was a vassal for his narrative.