Review: The working life of David Bowie documentary

One year on, a lovely BBC Bowie documentary – David Bowie: The Last Five Years – featuring many of his close friends and artistic and other collaborators reflecting on how he worked, and how he revealed he was dying. It focuses on his last two albums, The Next Day and Blackstar, and his play Lazarus, with lots of footage from backstage and other working environments.

Some of the most moving interviews are with guitarist and arranger Carlos Alomar, and one wonders what those collaborators who pre-deceased him would say, such as Mick Ronson. Also interviewed is graphic designer Jonathan Barnbrook, who worked on both albums (and more) with Bowie, and who I know a little, He talks fascinatingly about how Bowie art directed the design of The Next Day as a riposte to his earlier self-conscious image-making. (I think the design of Blackstar is one of the most wonderful covers and identities I’ve seen in years.) A great watch.

Published by Nico Macdonald

Communication, facilitation and consultancy around design and technology

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