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פ.י.מ.פ.

Analyzing Bowie: Kooks

In 1971, David and Angie Bowie were already setting themselves up to be Britain`s most sensational couple, the symbols of the generational gap and the break from past norms. When their son was born, they had no qualms about making him part of their freak show. Christening him with the glamorous name Zowie Bowie, they didn`t give him much chance of growing up "normal". In `Oh! You Pretty Things`, Bowie burdens his son even further, declaring him a member of the coming race. In `Kooks`, allegedly written on the spot when he was given the news of his birth, he takes a more lighthearted approach.

Will you stay in our Lovers` Story
If you stay you won`t be sorry
`Cause we believe in you
Soon you`ll grow, so take a chance
With a couple of Kooks
Hung up on romancing

We bought a lot of things to keep you warm and dry
And a funny old crib on which the paint won`t dry
I bought you a pair of shoes
A trumpet you can blow
And a book of rules
On what to say to people when they pick on you
`Cause if you stay with us you`re gonna be pretty Kookie too

Bowie sings to his son, explaining to him that he is part of a family of kooks, of people who live outside of the conventional rules. He gives him a choice: stay with us and be kookie too, or leave and conform to society`s norms. If you stay, you will have some trouble in life, but you won`t be sorry - as always, Bowie believes that a non-conformist lifestyle is more exciting and fun.

And if you ever have to go to school
Remember how they messed up this old fool
Don`t pick fights with the bullies or the cads
`Cause I`m not much cop at punching other people`s Dads
And if the homework brings you down
Then we`ll throw it on the fire
And take the car downtown

Bowie left school at the age of sixteen and became an autodidact, carving his own way. It didn`t work out badly at all for him, so, it appears, he doesn`t give school a lot of respect, and doesn`t really mind if his son leaves it as well.

This lenient approach to child-rearing, a reaction against the strict parenting of the older generations, was very typical of the Hippies. Today we know that lots of Hippie children grew up badly, lacking the parental guidance a young person needs. Listening to Hunky Dory, one fears for the fate of little Zowie, with such kookie parents to guide him. But behind the glamorous and bizarre pop icon David Bowie there was also the regular person David Jones, and he was a basically wholesome bloke who usually knew when his Bowie side was taking it too far. The disarming charm of this record suggests that this dad is not that kookie that he would do anything that will irreparably harm his son. Zowie`s middle-name was the more conventional Duncan, and that`s the name he chose to go by when he grew up. One thing he did take from his parents was going his own way, and his way was not what Bowie envisioned when he was born.

Successful film director Duncan Jones, a.k.a Zowie Bowie, with the proud father.

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