David Bowie once mentioned me in a complimentary way from a stage, in New York City, in the later nineties. This was one of the great unlikely moments of my professional life. It was in the did-I-hallucinate-it category. It was in the did-that-actually-happen category.
– Rick Moody on the new Bowie record. It gets worse — about 6,000 words or so worse. Good luck.
5 thoughts on “Bad Friday Reading #2”
Oh, fuck off.
I’m getting the impression of a lot of Moody-bashing lately but not sure why, judging by this, at least. Do we toss out Christgau for responding to Lou Reed on Christgau?
I appreciate your comment, Andrew, and now mildly regret this post — not because I’m second guessing my feelings about Moody’s piece but because it’s kind of a hit job on my part. I offer no reason as to why the piece bugs me so much, and, worse (and as you point out), I am just playing into a general feeling — received wisdom, I guess you could say — in certain circles at the moment about Moody’s rock criticism, sans context, justification, etc. A too-easy slag, in other words. Not that I intend to delve into his piece again so I can correct any of this.
But while your Christgau/Moody comparison is certainly interesting, I also think it’s a real stretch (and no, I’m not suggesting that rock critics aren’t allowed to get personal with musicians they write about, though the less it happens probably the better). Christgau is taking the piss with Lou Reed, in direct response to Lou Reed pissing all over Christgau (and including said pissfest on an album being reviewed by Christgau; it would almost be bizarre if Christgau didn’t mention it). Christgau’s having fun with the moment after just having been mocked publicly by the guy. Moody citing the fact that Bowie once mentioned him from the stage at a concert many years ago, and opening this lengthy piece with it — and yes, the fact that Moody’s fame necessarily plays into this (otherwise, why would Bowie mention him?) — feels like pure superstar fawning to me. To me, it’s really hard to pull something like this off without at least somewhat making fun of yourself, and Moody’s doing anything but.
By the way–I wouldn’t put this in public, but I couldn’t find a way to email you privately–Scott Miller, singer, guitarist, songwriter, leader of Game Theory and the Loud Family, and last but not least, rock writer (“Music: What Happened?”) died a few weeks ago. Do you think a mention of him at the site would be appropriate?
Andrew, you can access my email and contact me anytime through the “about” page – https://rockcritics.com/about/.
I am quite interested in Scott Miller, but, to my shame, I’d never actually heard of him until his death, and thus would feel pretty odd posting an obit (one thing that drives me nuts about social media is that everyone is now an obituarist; some of my facebook friends write lengthy squibs about virtually every individual of note in the music world who dies, a practise I find kind of bothersome). Anyway, some of the Miller obits I glanced at intrigued me enough to preview his book on Amazon, and I really liked what I saw — liked his voice, liked the format of what he was doing — enough so that I’m going to purchase a copy. I may eventually have something to say about that; perhaps I’ll one day get around to investigating his music as well. If you have anything you’d like to say about him yourself… let me know.