Q is out of sight and out of sounds...
The current edition of Q magazine (December 2002) goes far beyond it's usual gratutious reproduction of a Bowie picture, by instead using no less than... bloody loads of pix! There are loads of reasons for the Bowie fan to check out this edition, and I've tried to break them down below, with excerpts when relevant...
Cover mounted CD: The Best Tracks From The Best Albums From 2002
The title is a clue to the content here. Of course, the whole world knows 'Heathen' was among the very best albums of 2002, and Q have confirmed this fact by including 'A Better Future' on this CD.
Page 5 - Blurb about aforementioned CD with 'Heathen' cover session shot
The bit about 'A Better Future' and 'Heathen', which applauds this latest work as "proper Bowie", ends with the line: Want more? You'll be wanting the "all good" album, Heathen.
Page 10 - Contents with early Ziggy photograph
A teaser for page 136 uses a colour version of one of those beautiful Michael Putland shots from that very early Ziggy session... you've seen it before, but it's always worth another look.
Page 19 - Moby Cash for Questions
Moby sings David's praises in this regular Q feature. When asked about a possible Morrissey colaboration, Moby replied: ...I would love to collaborate with him, but I don't have the time. The only person I continually make exceptions for is David Bowie, because he's my favourite musician of all time.
Appropriately enough, the very next question, (posed by Karen Kegel) asks: Any Moby/Bowie collaborations slated for the near future? Moby responded: However busy I am, if David Bowie asks me to do something, I have to say yes. I've done two remixes for him, and I played guitar and piano on some tracks he's recorded and I played guitar with him at Carnegie Hall [Tibet benefit]. So we've collaborated a lot already.
Page 39 - Harman/Kardon advert
This full-page ad for Harman/Kardon hi-fi and audio-visual seperates uses a small live Bowie shot as part of a montage.
Page 48 - Album charts
This feature highlights the top 40 album chart for the week ending 6th October 2002. Three albums are singled out for analysis, Elvis Presley's 'Elvis - 30 #1 Hits', Suede's 'A New Morning' and David Bowie's 'Heathen'. At number 1 in this particular chart, 'Elvis - 30 #1 Hits' is further proof of the King's enduring popularity, while 'A New Morning' is evidence of the sad fact that Sude's fortunes are most definitely on the wain...the album didn't even make the Top 20 here.
With a headline of "Golden Year" and using a recent live shot to illustrate the piece, 'Heathen', on the other hand, is praised by the magazine thus:
Showing the way forward for established acts with new albums, David Bowie has managed to reverse his own commercial decline. His tactics were simple ? make a decent record and work hard at promoting it. Bowie's last few albums have charted high in the first week and then fallen rapidly, but this time he's managed to keep Heathen in the charts for four months thanks to a promo schedule as intense as any he's ever previously attempted.
Aside from his Mercury Music Prize nomination, Bowie's recorded sessions for Radio 2 and Later With Jools Holland, appeared on TV shows hosted by Jonathan Ross and Parkinson; curated the Meltdown Festival and chatted on just about every major radio station. He even did an in-store signing at HMV's London store. How keen is that?
Page 64 & 65 - The 50 best albums of 2002
There are two Bowie pictures on the first two pages of this six page listing, and a brief appreciation of 'Heathen' that ends with the observation: He's still ever so good, isn't he?
Page 95 - First page of Review section
Another plug for that feature on page 136 uses a 'Rebel Rebel' pirate shot.
Page 120 - Q Review Re-Releases
A five-star review of the Best of Bowie brings the total of Bowie pictures used in the magazine so far up to eight... and we're not even at Page 136 yet!
Page 136 - Q Review Buyer's Guide
A three-page guide to the Bowie back catalogue. Paul Du Noyer points the uninitiated in the direction of Bowie's best work, even if it is a futile excercise. How could we all possibly agree on the opinion of one mere mortal. Whatever, Paul's choices are bound to start some heated debate on the MBs. Many of the albums have a couple of paragraphs written about them, and though there's not room enough to tell you much more than that, (you still awake in the back?) here follows the gospel according to Paul Du Noyer:
Indispensable. Truly exceptional
Ziggy Stardust, Low, Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, Best of Bowie
Excellent. Must buy
TMWSTW, Diamond Dogs, Station To Station, "Heroes", Lodger
Good. Not for everyone
Tin Machine, Heathen, Young Americans, Scary Monsters, Let's Dance, 'hours...'
Approach With Caution. Please be careful
1.Outside, David Bowie (Deram) Space Oddity, Pin-Ups, Santa Monica '72, Tonight, Black Tie White Noise, The Buddha Of Suburbia
Poor. For collectors only
Never Let Me Down, Tin Machine ll, Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby, David Live, Stage, Ziggy Stardust The Motion Picture, Earthling.
So there you have it, how much of that do you agree with? I have to say it was refreshing to read Mr Du Noyer's appreciation of the first Tin Machine album, when he said of the release: That it's the most derided of Bowie albums says more about the pack mentality of rock opinion than the record's true merits. Hear! Hear! Well said sir...I feel the same way about 'Earthling', as I'm sure David does about 'The Buddha Of Suburbia'...over to you lot!