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פ.י.מ.פ.

Analyzing Bowie: Little Bombardier

In this charming waltz, Bowie displays his ability to tell a captivating human story in three minutes. What makes it even cleverer is that the story has three parts, which makes it a self-descriptive waltz…

War made him a soldier
Little Frankie Mear
Peace left him a loser
The little bombardier

Lines of worry appeared with age
Unskilled hands that knew no trade
Spent his time in the picture house
The little bombardier

Frankie drank his money
The little that he made
Told his woes to no man
Friendless, lonely days

Like many other records of this period, Bowie tells a sad little story of a person who cannot find his place in society. In this case it is a WWII soldier who could not adjust back to civilian life, having spent his formative years as a bombardier, an occupation that has no use in times of peace. Frank is a lonely, poor alcoholic.

Then one day, in the ABC
Four bright eyes gazed longingly
At the ice-cream in the hand of
The little bombardier

Sunshine entered our Frankie's days
Gone his worries, his hopeless maze
His life was fun and his heart was full of joy

Two young children had changed his aims
He gave them toffees and played their games
He brought them presents with every coin he made

But the second part is a happy one. Frank finds something to live for, as he befriends a couple of little children. They bring him back to life.

Then two gentlemen called on him
Asked him for his name
Why was he friends with the children
Were they just a game?

Leave them alone or we'll get sore
We've had blokes like you in the station before
The hand of authority said "no more"
To the little bombardier

Packed his bags, his heart in pain
Wiped a tear and caught a train
Not to be seen in the town again
The little bombardier

And the third and final step in this waltz brings us back to the starting point, back to misery. The police intervene and warn him to stay away from the kids, and he leaves town heartbroken. This is a theme that is already becoming familiar in Bowie's work: society's inability to accept any deviancy from the norm, its suspicion of eccentricities. Frank is a good man and means no harm, but society cannot fathom that a grown man would want to consort with children, concludes that he must be a pedophile, and forbids him to continue.

This triangular scheme – misery-happiness-misery – will characterize many of Bowie's future works. The question he will grapple with will be: how does one break out of this mold, and make the happiness more permanent? To find the answer he will have to stop waltzing, and get back to rock'n'roll.

הוספת תגובה

נשארו 150 תוים
נשארו 1500 תוים

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