2008 became 09, then 2010, then 11 and 12. By that point we had all pretty much accepted that Bowie was gone. Occasionally some paparazzo would catch a shot of David Jones walking down the street in New York City with his laptop bag, but the images were always distinctly unglamorous and vaguely dispiriting.
From David’s perspective, though, those were good years. Free of the Long Plastic Hallway, he spent time with his daughter and read a lot of books. He did some writing, too. He never published a book in his life, but it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that that laptop contained a hundred fragments of novels, or memoirs, or who knows what. Not to mention song lyrics.
In retrospect the lacuna wasn’t really that long — only five years of complete silence, about the same as John Lennon’s late Seventies. But it felt like forever. By the time 2013 rolled around, there was no reason to expect that Bowie would ever make music again.
Where were you on January 8, 2013? I was in the little house I was renting in Eureka as I made the transition to Humboldt County. I did not expect to wake up that morning to find a new David Bowie song in the world, but that’s what happened.
The post I wrote that day, as I look at it now, is rather perfunctory. Possibly I was in shock a little. Also I couldn’t embed video back then, but I can now:
We couldn’t have known at the time that David was making a conscious choice to resurface with this slow, strange, sentimental song when he had a bunch of punchier ones in the can. It seems a bit perverse but I’m sure he had his reasons and who am I to question them? Certainly “Where Are We Now” stands out as a song that no one else could or would have written.
It was an “I’m back” moment. And this is self-indulgent free association, but it reminds me of another piece of classic video: