Although a year has passed since his death, for many the loss of David Bowie is a wound yet to heal. Indeed, it may never heal. Since he left us I, along with many other fans, have taken solace in his back catalogue, in the numerous books celebrating his life and in productions like Lazarus – the thought-provoking musical he completed just before his passing.
Adding to the ways in which fans can celebrate his life and work this month is Historic Newspapers’ Personalised David Bowie: A Newspaper History (or a ‘Life Book’ as they’ve dubbed it). A 130-page, leather-bound, large format (31cm x 38cm) collection of news articles dating back to 1971, it’s an absolute treasure trove of rare stories, pictures, interviews and (occasionally totally bonkers) tabloid gossip.
Culled from the world’s largest Original Newspaper archive, Historic-Newspapers.co.uk, the stories and pictures here come from the Daily Mirror and cover everything from Bowie’s addictions and fashion choices (“Back in stiletto heels!” screams one headline from ’73) to his thoughts on films and fatherhood. Beautifully produced on quality, off-white paper to give everything a suitably vintage feel, it brings together a superb selection of stories and images, from early ones about alter-ego Ziggy Stardust to those surrounding his untimely death last year, while the Mirror‘s original pull-out tributes, published after he died, are included in full.
As a teenager I used to keep scrapbooks on my favourite artists (I still did as an adult to be truthful) and sourcing everything was a laborious, painstaking and, in later life, an expensive business but thankfully Historic Newspapers have done all the hard work for fans like me with this artfully edited anthology. What actually makes this collection of newspaper clippings even more interesting reading is the fact that many of the Bowie pieces are presented with the news and ads that surrounded them. You could be forgiven for thinking that this robs the book of valuable Bowie-centric space but, if anything, it actually enhances them – helping frame the stories, both literally and contextually. In truth, discovering that a chicken cost 23p per lb back in 1975 is almost as fascinating as reading that Young Americans was tentatively called Somebody Up There Likes Me.
I have to be admit, I was worried that this collection would be some poorly produced, first anniversary cash-in but it’s not: it’s lovingly complied with superb attention to detail and the fact that you can have it personalised with your name embossed on the front cover and have a bespoke dedication added inside makes it a covetable gift for any Bowie fan. It’s a fantastic read but a sad one in places too. Perhaps the most poignant piece comes from July 1982 when he was promoting The Hunger. “The Immortal David Bowie” says the headline. If only.
Historic Newspapers’ Personalised David Bowie Newspaper Book is available from historic-newspapers.co.uk, priced £69.99.
Historic Newspapers kindly provided a review copy of the book but did not sponsor this post in any way and all opinions are my own.