When I tweeted the lyrics of a David Bowie song tonight, a friend responded and that made me think at length about my relationship with music, books and movies. All of which I consume in spades and intricate quite a bit more than many may realise into my life. But not at all in the same way as so many others I know seem to.
I began to consider if I, like those others have some greater regard for Bowie for any other reason than he has written some great songs? Because with respect to the man, just like many artists, he has some pretty strong candidates for my turkey pile as well.
Artists produce or perform so much that it is likely they will have a poor effort every now and then. And even if that is less so than the rest of us, when they commit it to film, disc or however we describe it in the digital age, it stands out so much more.
The cult of celebrity is to me a curse to our society. Where we worship vicariously the person behind the art rather than the art itself. Perhaps, as outlined in the best superhero comic books, they are meant to be distant, aloof, imperfect, private. Similarly with artists. If they are the most ordinary bore on the planet, it doesn’t change their art. If they flee to other countries in order to avoid prosecution, the same.
Francis Ford Coppola is known for a number of poor movies, but does that make me think of him any less? Of course not, I only know him through the movies he has made. Last weekend I chose to watch The Godfather again and was entranced as I was the first time I saw it accidentally as a young teenager. If he never made another movie, it wouldn’t matter. That he made a probably superior sequel says enough for me about a man’s capabilities. I will watch it tomorrow night and say – this is my Hero.
Roman Polanksi’s Rosemary’s Baby is my hero. David Bowie’s The man who sold the world is another. That they respectively produced The Ghost Writer and Lets Dance doesn’t affect the quality of those pieces which I adore.
My heroes are the soundtracks of my life. My heroes are not the people who created the art which continually strikes chords in my heart, but the art itself. As Joe Strummer sings another hero while I write these words:
There’s only one thing I can say, you can stand by me.
I stand by my hero’s. I listen to them, watch them and read them again and again.
Tell me about your heroes.Follow @franksting