David Bowie - Cracked Actor
Haven't you ever wondered why a select number of musicians turn f*cking nuts all of a sudden? Could it be genetic perhaps? Or could it be something to do with them taking a copious amount of drugs? What? You don't know? Well, I think it best you watch this 54 minute documentary made in 1974 then. Don't you?

Aladdin Sane (40th Anniversary Edition)

This documentary follows David Bowie around the United States of America, and explains about his life and times after killing off his intergalactic musical alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust.

Here. Check this out for some of the low-down seen in this very grass routes presentation.

  • What was life like for Bowie before Ziggy?   He was a musical mime-act, who wanted to perform in live rock theatre.
  • How does David feel about working in America?   He feels like a foreign body soaking up the culture.
  • Why does he insert cut-up captions in his songs?   Not only does this inclusion ignite his own creative juices, but it also makes him reflect on his future and his past.
  • What did David enjoy doing as a kid at school?   Telling stories and playing the saxophone.
  • Why do some of his fans love him so much?   Because he keeps himself a mystery, and this makes him an interesting person.
  • Why are David's stage antics so theatrical?   Bowie doesn't think he's a very good singer, and so to disguise this fact, he performs his songs rather than sings them, just to give the overall experience an extra dimension.
  • How does he feel about his fans dressing-up in the same manner he does on stage?   Generally speaking, David is pleased that his 'characters' allows his fans an excuse to explore another side of themselves.
  • How did David feel when he first hit the big time?   He describes it as being propelled into the unknown. Very freighting. And very serious.
  • Where does Bowies 'characters' originate from?   Himself. They're all overt factions of his innermost feelings brought to life. Some more so than others.
  • Why did David kill off Ziggy Stardust?   Using his own words 'Ziggy overshadowed all the other things he wanted to do'. And so when he got rid of him, it freed him up to move on.

Also, scattered throughout this feature, are the following music's clips David performed at the Los Angeles Universal Amphitheatre, amongst other venues.
  • Space Oddity
  • Cracked Actor
  • Sweet Thing/Candidate
  • Moonage Daydream
  • The Width of a Circle
  • Aladdin Sane
  • Time
  • Diamond Dogs
  • John, I'm Only Dancing (Again)

And with that, music fans, David Bowie is able to return to our solar system once more.

Now before I commence my review on 'Cracked Actor', please allow me to relay a quote David Bowie once made about it...

David Bowie
'I was so blocked. So stoned. I'm amazed I came out of that period. Honest. When I see that now I cannot believe I survived it. I was so close to really throwing myself away physically, completely'.

Ouch! That sound's pretty dire, doesn't it? But don't fret, folks. This isn't a dire documentary. No. Far from it. In fact, I liked it so much; I've got to encourage any David Bowie fan out there to pick it up if they can.

Yeah. I'm not kidding around. In my eyes it was one of those programs that present's its findings in that very no-nonsense and straight forward British manner. You have the one on one interview's asking the questions that need to be asked. You have the music that any Bowie-buddy would boogie to all night long. Plus you have that very seventies style of explaining a narrative in a fractured yet timely way, that any vintage video-phile would love to sit back and relax to.

David Bowie

David Bowie
Here, check out these facts before I tell you what I mean by this. (1) 'BBC2' first broadcast this 'Omnibus Special' in England on the same month that 'Jaws', 'One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest', and 'Monty Python and The Holy Grail' were first released in America -- the 26th of January, 1975. (2) Most of the concert footage used in this piece was taken from David's show at the Los Angeles Universal Amphitheatre, on the 2nd of September, 1974, and at London's Hammersmith Odeon, on the 3rd of July, 1973. (3) Originally this feature was going to be called 'The Collector', because David described himself as 'a collector of accents' in an interview he did with Russell Harty prior to it being made. (4) Whilst Alan Yentob and his team were making this documentary, David had already commenced his 'Diamond Dogs' tour, and would then go on to record 'Young Americans' at Sigma Studios, plus his ill-fated flick, 'The Man Who Fell To Earth'. (5) Quite a few film-stills taken from this program were exclusively utilized on the cover of David Bowie's albums, 'David Live', 'Station To Station', 'Low', as well as the anniversary booklet included in the 'Young Americans' CD. (6) By in large the locations seen in this program centred around the Hollywood, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia areas of the United States. (7) This documentary has never officially been released. The version I saw was broadcast on the television.

The Mikel Tomas StarmanAlright. So with that out of the way with, I can now tell you how I truly feel about 'Cracked Actor'.  Well, without putting too finer point on it, this feature reminded me of a character in a comic book I once read. It's the Mikel Tomas version of Starman.

Hey! Don't groan. Trust me. This is going somewhere, people.

Anyway, as I was saying, I remember reading the James Robinson and Tony Harris 'Starman' series from back in the day, which explained how Mikel always tried to find his place in the world, in relation of the people who surrounded him at the time.

Granted, at first, he was an 'alien warrior' of sorts, a warrior who defended the planet from his own race of evil despots. Over time, though, Mikel began to figure out who he was as a person and as a human being, so to speak. Gradually making his way from token hero, to token slave, to token homosexual, wanting to love and be loved for who he was, not what he represented.

Now can you see where I'm going with this, dear reader? Mikel and David are one and the same person in the eyes of 'Cracked Actor'. With both of these 'heroes' expressing themselves a single step at a time, until they get recognized as the people who they really are.

Come of it. I can't say fairer than that, can I Bowie?

Great documentary. Very poignant. Very of it's time. And very Stella by default. Nuff said.