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Rebuilding a broken toy - click opera
February 2010
 
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Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008 10:59 am
Rebuilding a broken toy

The closest I ever got to meeting my idol, David Bowie, was when I was living in New York circa 2000. Word was that he was readying a new release, Toy, which would mix new versions of some of his lost 1960s rarities with new songs. Close to Index magazine at the time -- and particularly fond of Bowie's early work -- I pitched the idea of an interview.



Index liked the idea, and Bowie often gives exclusives to arty niche magazines, but the encounter never happened. Virgin, Bowie's label at the time, didn't release Toy, for reasons which have never been fully explained. The new songs appeared on Heathen, some of the old ones slipped out as b-sides and freebies, others made it into some of Bowie's live sets. Although the official line from Bowie HQ is that the Toy album will one day get an official release, it looks increasingly unlikely. Meanwhile, so many scraps of the "lost album of lost songs" have appeared on YouTube that it's possible to assemble a ghostly, pseudo-video version of Toy in pretty much its entirety.

So that's what I thought I'd give you today, all embedded on one page. Ladies and gentlemen, a ghostly, pseudo-video version of David Bowie's lost album of lost songs! A broken, discarded toy rebuilt!

Conversation Piece


Shadow Man


Wood Jackson


Uncle Floyd (Slip Away)


Let Me Sleep Beside You


Afraid


Your Turn to Drive


Baby Loves That Way


I Dig Everything (Live)


The London Boys (Live)


Silly Boy Blue


Excerpts from some of the tracks not available on YouTube can be heard in this Toy Medley:



And the Illustrated David Bowie Discography site has clips of Liza Jane, Hole in the Ground and In the Heat of the Morning.

Meanwhile, for a free taste of some of my own back pages, check out the MySpace page Anne Laplantine has dedicated to our collaborative album Summerisle (2004). Pretty much the whole album's there for the taking. (The accompanying Summerisle horspiel is also available free online.) Anne and I are talking seriously about starting work on a sequel soon.

31CommentReply


(Anonymous)
Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008 09:52 am (UTC)

we had a tape of "toy" at the organic shop i used to work at...


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008 10:25 am (UTC)

Yes, but is your organic shop available worldwide on YouTube?


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jwm
jwm
Angry Monkey
Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008 10:34 am (UTC)

Did you know You Tube has the ability to build playlists? You need an account, and the feature is a bit buried, but it's quite useful for just this sort of thing.


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olamina
olamina
blackgirlgenius
Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008 11:14 am (UTC)

A few years back, I came down an elevator and when the doors opened, David Bowie was standing there busily reading messages on his Blackberry. He was waiting for another elevator so he didn't even look up. I wanted to say something but I couldn't think of anything and frankly my mouth wouldn't work at all. It was all I could do to get my legs to work and walk my silly stunned self away.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008 11:42 am (UTC)

I have no idea what I'd say either, because he's heard it all before. Some variant on "Merci d'exister!" -- thanks for existing. But it's a strange phrase, because existing isn't, in itself, something one's personally responsible for.

Maybe "thanks for being exemplary and, ultimately, determinant"? But would he hear the commas?


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008 11:32 am (UTC)
twinkle twinke uncle floyd

Very interesting post. Funny, that, I was listening to Heathen last night, and particularly 'Slip Away', which is undoubtably one of the best songs on the album. It has a certain vulnerability to it, along with that crazy Bowie-ness ('Twinkle twinke Uncle Floyd')
I can't see Toy remaining unreleased. With the absolutely shameful pillaging of Dame David's back catalogue that's taken place over the last decade or so, it seems inevitable that we're going to see the release of the tracks sometime soon, probably to a huge fanfair, deluxe 24-page booklet, extra track and a tacky badge.
Thanks for sharing the tracks... Will have a listen a little later on when I get home

James x


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electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008 02:29 pm (UTC)

lolol A+ picture selection there.

What with finishing my Bowie article, and finishing a bio, and listening to him all day and the fact that nobody ever posts about anyone else in glam_lolz these days, I'm kind of starting to hate him, tbh.

The only thing keeping me going is the Bowie-wifery of everyone ever. Defend him for me, Momus, go on.


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robinsonner
robinsonner
the maven
Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008 03:18 pm (UTC)
boy from brazil

Doesn't he look a tad like Cale in the Shadow man embed? If you catch these reptilianz mid-change they all look the same.


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ohmavie
ohmavie
meinherz
Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008 02:55 pm (UTC)

That would've been so exciting if you had been able to interview him! I'm a huge fan myself. I've only seen him perform once, sadly, but it was at a small, intimate theater in Milwaukee, WI. We had seats on the floor and I was in shock the whole time - couldn't believe I was that close to him! He also sounded incredible. This was four years ago, I believe.


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obliterati
obliterati
Night of the Living Dave
Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)

Being reminded by this of abandoned projects and David Bowie I went and looked up the introduction to Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me which featured some of the only scenes with Kyle Mcloughlin before his girlfriend forced him to quit the movie early.

When the clip was done there was a knock on my door and when I went to answer there was nobody there.

I didn't know about these Bowie songs! The lyrics to Silly Boy Blue are making me really curious.


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tumanna
tumanna
Anna
Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008 08:34 pm (UTC)

How we say in Russia - "10 years off my shoulders!"
Or... "Where is my 15 years on Bolshoy Karetny?" (name of Moscow street)


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count_vronsky
count_vronsky
Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)

That is simply amazing music. I was expecting a much folkier young Bowie sound but that is quite the spiky-sparky ROCK. Has a bit of that Minneapolis-Twin Cities sound circa '83 that I love so much.



Check out the Suburbs 7" ep and also Orchid Spangiafora in the 'music' link :)


Edited at 2008-08-26 10:11 pm (UTC)


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Aug. 27th, 2008 05:53 am (UTC)
Conversation piece

It was great to read "conversation piece" as I heard it. I loved it when I had it with Heathen (i listened it once and again), but I lost the "extra" disc and didn´t hear it since.
Today, reading it, it remembered to me the poem of pessoa "tabaqueria", specially the "mirror" structure and the "impossible" relationship with the other character and the importance of some "object" in between.
The tobacco shop:
http://theatre-du-grand-guignol.blogspot.com/2005/01/tosco-translations-inc-presents.html


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Aug. 27th, 2008 06:48 am (UTC)
Golden Years

Would have been better if Bowie had done an LP of ANs work.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Aug. 27th, 2008 02:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Golden Years

I just can't imagine Bowie doing a song like that, with its recognisable middle class social milieu of marriage and affairs. It isn't his universe at all. "You just lost a lover, but I lost a friend." You'd have to believe in Bowie as an ordinary person, a real person subject to the pressures of competition, money, love, jealousy. And you don't -- he hasn't been that kind of person since about 1970, if ever. For the same reason, Bowie is a pretty terrible actor unless he's playing some version of his own mythical, self-created sci-fi character.


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(Anonymous)
Thu, Aug. 28th, 2008 07:00 am (UTC)
Golden Years

"I just can't imagine Bowie doing a song like that, with its recognisable middle class social milieu of marriage and affairs. It isn't his universe at all. " ahh but that's why it would be so good and Bowie doing Newley doing Bowie would be something as I'm sure Newley (Newley Brothers even) began to sound more like Bowie doing Newley as he got older.

RE: Newley's wider influence on Bowie Check out ( if you havn't already)
The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Youtube


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Aug. 28th, 2008 07:33 am (UTC)
Re: Golden Years

Yes, I watched that recently. Whimsical!


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