As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.
—Henry David Thoreau

Here I am killing time between the 8th and 10th, the two significant dates on the Bowie calendar. As luck would have it today’s song is “Killing a Little Time,” another Lazarus number that David released his version of on the No Plan EP.

It’s a minor song, I suppose. Also a noisy one, sort of jazz-metal, apparently based in part on a song by Maria Schneider (David’s collaborator on “Sue”):

On “Killing a Little Time” David doesn’t sound like a dying man; more like, to borrow a phrase, one raging against the dying of the light. The first verse is full of piss and vinegar:

I staggered through this criminal reign
I’m not in love, no phony pain
Creeping through this tidal wave
No warm embrace, just a lover’s grave
This symphony
This rage in me
I’ve got a handful of songs to sing
To sting your soul
To fuck you over
This furious reign

But by the chorus reality is setting in:

I’m falling, man
I’m choking, man
I’m fading, man
I’m the broken line
I’m falling, man
I’m choking, man
I’m fading, man
Just killing a little time

It’s important to remember, I guess, that “Killing” is written from the perspective of Thomas Newton, not necessarily David Bowie. In the play it is sung when Newton’s “deranged assistant Elly and the killer Valentine invade his apartment” (says Chris O’Leary).

I love the sound of an empty room
The screams of night, the end of love
Two beating hearts, one labored start
One open wound, wasted and drawn
No sympathy
This furious reign
I lay in bed
The monster fed, the body bled
I turned and said
“I get some of you all the time
All of you some other time”
This rage in me
Get away from me

O’Leary calls this “the most overlooked of Bowie’s final compositions,” adding:

It’s a launching point for a scrapped mission: it could have led to somewhere interesting, had Bowie been granted some more years to write.

And hey, what do you know… evening is upon us… time successfully killed. Sorry, Hank.