Vile Bodies and Aladdin Sane (More)

Waugh biographer and blogger Duncan McLaren has posted a thought-provoking article on the influence of Waugh’s novel Vile Bodies on David Bowie’s composition of Aladdin Sane. See earlier posts. McLaren reimagines Bowie’s work against the backdrop of the parties he attended on his 1972 U.S. tour and compares that experience to the parties of 1929 London that populate the pages of Waugh’s novel. McLaren concludes: 

So David Bowie loved Vile Bodies because it reminded him of all the crazy parties he was going to in 1972, and interpreted it’s ending to be a warning that society could be about to go down the pan again. And I love Vile Bodies because, yes, Evelyn Waugh wrote vividly about the crazy parties of 1929, but also because he managed to turn personal disaster into a stunning metaphor.

As usual, McLaren supplies evocative photographs for his article, including in this case a series in which a 1920s photo of Evelyn Waugh morphs into the David Bowie cover photo for the Aladdin Sane album. McLaren has written at greater length on the influences of Waugh’s life experiences on his composition of Vile Bodies in his book Evelyn! Rhapsody for an Obsessive Love.

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