Sailor’s Journals Indexed, Part 5: Visual Artists and Their Works

Bowie spent a lot of time visiting galleries in 1998 to 2003, especially in NYC and London. Sailor’s Journals include numerous snapshots of the paintings and artists.

After his death, the estate put many of the works he had bought throughout his years of collecting for auction at Sotheby’s. I think there were several reasons for this. They were doing no good in the vaults. For the younger artists, having a piece that once belonged to David Bowie auctioned at Sotheby’s would be of tremendous benefit to their careers, even more so than having it donated to a museum. They now have a sales history at Sotheby’s and an identity as an artist Bowie collected.

But for the two masterpieces, it’s different. In the journals, Bowie simply answers a fan question that it is true he has a Tintoretto and a Rubens, but doesn’t name them. I don’t know if the Rubens was auctioned. If it is very small, it might have been kept in case of a sudden need for portable wealth, who knows?

This list includes fashion designers and architects.
A.J., 3/29/99
Armitage, Kenneth, 3/10/03
Body Parts, 10/29/98
Boshier, Derek, 5/17/99, 5/9/00
Bowie’s art works: 8/24/98; 9/10/98; Mini Cooper 9/14/98
Branca, Glen, 1/24/99, 5/1/18/01

Brown, Cecily, 2/8/00
Burne-Jones, 3/10/03

Chapman Brothers, 10/22/98
Chalmers, Catherine, 5/9/00
Charles, Michael Ray, 5/17/99, 12/16/99, 10/1/00
Chertavian, Kate [Bowie’s curator/mentor in collecting], 9/5/98 
Cornell, Stephen, 9/14/98, 9/17/98, 9/21/98
Currin,  10/29/98
Dada, 10/29/98; 2/20, 26/99
Dali, 3/10/03

David, Jacques-Louis, 9/16/98
Death of Marat, 9/16/98
De Meuron, Pierre,  9/22/98
Diarchy, 3/10.03
Dix, Otto,  10/29/98
Duffy, Brian, 5/9/00
Eames, Charles,  9/14/98
Eames, Ray, 9/14/98
Eddy, 10/4/00
Emin, Tracy, 3/10/03
Epstein, Jacob, 2/24/99
Fragonard, Honore, 1/27/99

Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan album cover, 5/17/99
Freud, Lucien, 3/10/03

Garnett, Sandy, 7/30/00
Gleason, Matt, 11/20/98

Goldsworthy, Rupert, 11/20/98
Hamilton, Page, 5/9/00, 5/16/00
Hockney, Peter,3/10/03

Hawkinson, Tim, 10/29/98
Herzog, Jacques, 9/22/98
Hirst, Damien 8/23/98; 9/10/98, 9/14/98, 9/17/98
Hockney, 5/17/99, 8/15/99, 5/9/00, 3/10/03
Hume, Gary, 3/10/03
Horne, Rebecca, 10/29/98
Hunt, Holman 9/6/98

Indoor Flag, 9/16/98
Johns, Jasper,  9/16/98
Jones, Allan, 5/17/99, 5/9/00
Kersel, Martin, 10/29/98
Lanyon, Peter, 5/22/00
Light of the World  9/6/98

A poster of Holman Hunt’s Light of the World was hung, as it was in so many homes at the time, in Bowie’s grandmother’s house.

Loebs, Damian  12/6/00
Longos, 1/18/01
Man Ray, 1/29/99
McQueen, Alexander, 9/5/98, 9/16/98  

Moore, Thurston,  10/22/98
Moss, Kate, 8/31/98
Men in Cities, 1/18/01
Mugler,  Thierry, 1/23/99
Nauman, Bruce,  10/29/98
Nitsch, Rudolf, 8/23/98
Ockenfeld, Frank, 3/29/99

Odd Nerdum, 1/30/00
Ofili, Chris, 10/29/98, 5/17/99
Oursler, Tony, 11/20/98, 1/24/99, 5/16/00
Picabia,  8/24/9;
Picasso,  8/24/98; 9/10/98
Pollock, Jackson,1/9/01
POP, 9/10/98

Rubens, Peter Paul, 3/10/03
Rock Drill, 2/24/99
Rock, Mick, 1/17/01
Rodin, Auguste,  2/24/99
Saville, Jenny, 9/24/00
Schiele, Egon, 9/6/98

Schnabel, Julien, 11/15/1998
Schwarzkogler, Rudolf,  8/23/98

Sensation (Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection show), 9/21/99, 9/29/99
Smith, Paul,  8/31/98
Stuff,  9/10/98
Thurlow,  10/29/98
Tintortteo, Jacopo,* 3/10/03

Turks, Gavin,  9/10/98,  9/14/98, 9/16/98, 10/22/98
Underwood, George, 11/5/02
Union Jacket 1,  9/16/98
Warhol, Andy, 8/25/98
Yoneda, Tomoka, 2/2/00
Young Americans II (Saatchi’s), 9/17/98, 10/29/98

*About the Tintoretto: From Artnet:

“The Angel foretelling Saint Catherine of Alexandria of her martyrdom (late 1570s) was acquired for £191,000 by a European collector during Sotheby’s sale of the late musician’s collection last Thursday. Immediately after making his purchase, the collector announced his plans to place the work on a long-term loan to the Rubenshouse Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, in the hope that there, the piece will be admired by many.

“Through this act of generosity the collector sought to pay dual homage to the remarkable influence that Tintoretto and Venetian painting had on Belgian artist Peter Paul Rubens, and to the legendary musician who formerly owned the work. The gesture is intended to honor Bowie’s life-long love of and generosity towards museums and cultural institutions.”

Corrections are most sincerely welcomed. This project got a little out of hand, shall we say. I am deeply grateful to Noel Barretto for his help in improving Part 1.


Sailor’s Journals Indexed, Part 4: Places

Galleries, museums, cemeteries, cities, nations, even a zoo: places in Sailor’s Journals.

For the most part, Bowie lived in New York City for the years covered by Sailor’s Journals. Unless Bowie is discussing a specific observation about New York, it isn’t indexed.

Continue reading “Sailor’s Journals Indexed, Part 4: Places”

Sailor’s Journal Indexed, Part 3: Writers and Publications

More like a half a droplet in the seas than the tip of the proverbial iceberg, here we have the few authors and works mentioned in the brief Sailor’s Journals. There aren’t quite as many authors and books in Sailor’s Journals as you might expect. On the erstwhile bowienet there was a section entirely devoted to books.

Continue reading “Sailor’s Journal Indexed, Part 3: Writers and Publications”

Sailor’s Journals Indexed, Part 2: Songs & Albums

Here’s a list of songs and albums mentioned in Sailor’s Journals.

Many fit into one of several divisions: songs that influenced a young Bowie (the topic of his journal entries for Christmas Week 1998) and those he was working on during the period covered by the journal entries, most notably, those from Hours and Heathen. There are a number of entries covering the composition and recording of Heathen. 

Some titles and mentions, especially those for Toy, are derived from context rather than found in the entry.

Italics are for albums; regular type (yes,without quotation marks) are songs. In the case of Ziggy Stardust, it was usually a toss-up if the song or its album should be indexed.

A Foggy Day in London Town,      8/25/98

Afraid,                                                5/23/02/, 5/27/02

After All,                                            12/23/98

Ascension,                                           1/18/01

Ashes To Ashes,                                12/23/98

Black Tie White Noise,                      11/12/99

Bleed Like A Craze Dad,                    8/28/98

Boys Keep Swinging,                         2/20/99

Break Out,                                           12/26/98

Brown Sound Mix,                             10/29/98

Buddha of Suburbia,                            8/28/98

Cactus,                                                   5/15/02, 5/17/02, 5/22/02

Can I Get a Witness,                             3/12/99

Can’t Help Thinkin’ About Me,          12/26/98; 9/17/99, 1/3/00

Chameleon Chronicles Vol.2,             5/25/00

Come See About Me,                          12/26/98

Cracked Actor,                                     11/12/99

Crazy,                                                      9/27/06

Dance, Dance, Dance                           12/26/98

Diamond Dogs,                                       5/10/00,10/21/00

Directly From My Heart,                     1/10/00

Dogman Go Woof,                                 3/6/99

Earthling,                                                 8/31/98; 9/16/98; 1/24/99

Eighteenth Letter,                                   3/29/99

Epsilon in Malaysian Pale,                    1/6/00

Evening of African Dance,                     2/7/03

Everyone Says Hi,                                  5/16/02

Fabulous,                                                  1/10/00

Fiji,                                                           10/29/00

Fishermans’ Blues,                                10/15/01

Hallo Stranger,                                        3/12/99

Harlem Shuffle,                                     12/26/98

Heathen,                                                10/15, 21,19/01; 11/12/01, 2/1/02, 4/12/02, 5/13/02; 6/8/03

Here’s Little Richard,                            1/10/00

Heroes,                                                   10/4/00, 2/1/02

Heroes,                                                    5/22/02

Hours,                                                     9/26/99

Humming ,                                              12/4/01

I Took a Ride on a Gemini Spaceship,          5/17/02; 5/22/02

I Would be your Slave,                        2/22/02; 5/17/02

I’ve Been Waiting for You,                  5/16-17/02

Inchworm,                                             12/23/98

It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,               12/26/98

It’s Getting Back,                                  12/26/98

It’s So Easy,                                            12/26/98

Jimmy’s Shrinking Song,                      1/3/00

John, I’m Only Dancing,                      2/18/03

Join The Gang,                                    12/26/98

King’s Lead Hat,                                     1/6/00

King’s New Clothes,                           12/23/98

Kissing the Roof of Heaven,               12/4/01

Krautrock,                                               1/6/00

Land of a Thousand Dances,           12/26/98

Let’s Dance,                                  5/9/00, 10/29/01, 2/1/02

Lightning Strikes Again,           2/20/99

Listen With Mother,                 12/23/98

Little Bit Me Little Bit You,       5/25/00

Little Richard 2,                          1/10/00

Little Wonder,                             8/16/99

Lodger,                                          5/17/99, 9/17/99, 5/9/00

Lonely Avenue,                            3/6/99

Low,                                                1/6/00, 5/22/02

Mother,                                          8/31/98

My Way,                                         9/8/98, 9/10/98

Neil Young,                                    5/17/02

Oh For The Wings Of A Dove, 12/20/98

One Fine Day,                              9/27/06

One More Heartache,              12/26/98

Only You,                                   10/29/00

Outside,                                        8/16/99

Penny Lane                                 5/25/00

(Please) Stay,                             12/26/98

Purple People Eater,                12/22/98

Reality,                                        2/6/03; 4/14/03; 6/8/03

Repetition,                                  9/17/99

Right now, right now,              3/6/99

Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust… and the Spiders from Mars, 8/31/98, 9/22/98, 2/20/99, 2/11/00; 11/5/02

See-Saw,                                12/26/98

Seven,                                        5/9/00

Silly Boy Blue,                          1/4/01

Slip Away,                           5/22-23/02

Slow Burn,                              5/16/02

Something in the Air,            9/17/97

Sound Bomb [Burroughs],  10/29/98

Space Oddity,                         10/11/00, 5/22/02, 2/18/03

Station to Station,                    1/6/00

Station to Station,                  5/31/00

Stay,                                            6/8/00

Sunday [Grandaddy’s] ,         7/21/03

Survive,                                   9/26/99, 12/16/99

Sweet Thing,                           5/10/00

Take It With Soul,                12/26/98

The Man Who Sold the World,   2/20/99

There Must Be an Angel,              1/20/00

Thursday’s Child,                  6/16/99, 8/8/99, 8/16/99, 9/26/99

Tin Machine                            9/8/98

Toy,                                           9/28/00, 10/3/00, 10/29/00, 4/4/01, 4/7/01

Turning Japanese,                 9/27/06

Tutti Frutti,                            12/23/98

TVC15,                                      2/20/99

Two Way,                                12/23/98

Ugly Duckling,                        12/23/98

Under Pressure,                       4/12/04

What Kind Of Fool Am I?,     12/26/98

Without You I’m Nothing,    2/18/99; 3/31/99

Young Americans,                  7/30/00

You’re Holding Me Down/I’ve Got A Buzz,  5/25/00

Ziggy Stardust                      9/25/98, 5/17/02

Sailor’s Journals Indexed, Part 1: 200 Musicians

I am deeply grateful to Noel Barretto for his help in improving this. See comments.

In the early days of bowienet, when he  chatted with fans using the screen name Sailor, David Bowie posted fairly regularly on a page he called Sailor’s Journals. These entries were for the most part not personal reflections but rather accounts of his public life. The first journal entry was August 23, 1998; the last, October 5, 2006. However, there was only one for all of 2005; 3 for 2006, and only 2 after May in 2004.

For this first in a series of indexes to Sailor’s Journals, I offer a list of musicians. These include early influences, musicians he worked with, and new bands. Sailor’s Journals provided a unique platform for bringing these musicians to the attention of his fans — and, perhaps, to recording industry scouts. Whether any attained success because of his enthusiasm I do not know.

Other categories for this series are visual artists, writer and publications, dramatic arts and performance, places, people, family and others, and miscellaneous.

Continue reading “Sailor’s Journals Indexed, Part 1: 200 Musicians”

75≠100: Revisiting Bowie’s “Favorite” Books

How can there be so much confusion about a list of 100 books? The David Bowie Top 100 Books is making the rounds again, this time at BookPeople, who say its source is the New York Public Library, which issued it on January 11, 2016. The NYPL says its source was a 2013 post on the David Bowie Facebook page (gone).* now has 100, noting that when the list first appeared in, it was incomplete. If you search for that site, you will find nothing, but the link that begins with “only 75%” takes you to

The earliest list I can find including 100 books is at, dated September 26, 2013: “David Bowie IS co-curators [Geoffrey] Marsh and Victoria Broackes have released a list of Bowie’s favourite reads.”

Should a list of 100 books include 100 books? 

Not at The Guardian and Telegraph. Twice, first on October 1, 2013, and as a reprint in January 2016 (“This article is 3 years old”), the Guardian published a list headlined “David Bowie’s top 100 must-read books” which included only 75 titles and was said to be from the “curators” of the David Bowie Is show atthe Art Gallery of Ontario.”

The Telegraph listed 75 books on April 1, 2016, as if their publication were news: “And thanks to an exhibition of Bowie at the Running at the Art Gallery in Toronto, Ontario, we have a list from co-curator Geoffrey Marsh of Bowie’s 100 favourite books.” This line suggests that the article is part new (includes Bowie’s death) and part old (the show was not in Ontario in April 2016).

So why did the Guardian and Telegraph headline 100 but only list 75 books? In the online editions, space is not a problem, and in a print edition, the headline or subtitle still doesn’t have to refer to 100 when there are just 75. And, yes, they are the same 75, and the reasoning is transparent.

The oldest two books on their lists are Richard Wright’s Black Boy (1945) and Ann Petry’s The Street (1946). The newest is from 2008. Bowie was born in early January 1947 and died in January 2015.

Why the Culture editors at these two publications decided that Bowie’s favorites were only those published in his lifetime is inexplicable.

Were these Bowie’s favourites?

Marsh’s list was compiled for David Bowie Is. A list of books to place in the exhibit might focus on those published in his lifetime, not because they were Bowie’s favorites, but because they say something about the times in which he lived.

Marsh, in fact, made it clear that while Bowie gave the show’s curators access to his archives, “Bowie would have no involvement at all.”

Let’s look at some of the 25 that didn’t make these major news sites’ lists (for the entire list in chronological order, go to open-book.caAs I Lay Dying, Blast, Dante’s The Inferno, Homer’s Illiad, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, Madame Bovary, Mr. Norris Changes Trains, The 42nd Parallel, The Bridge, The Great Gatsby, The Stranger and The Waste Land

Pretty amazing exclusions, whether they were Bowie’s favorites — or not.

While I can’t see Bowie looking for books published in each year of his life (or nearly so) it’s possible, probably likely, that Bowie provided some of the titles. For years that Bowie had not mentioned a book, Marsh and the archivist could have searched an archival database for books published between 1945 and 2011.  

Most serious readers like Bowie talk in terms of authors, as he has (all Pagel, everything by Ackroyd, and so on); the choices for these authors could be Bowie’s — or not.

As for me, I wouldn’t put my favorites in a box in my archives, unless I had multiple copies (paper, cloth, first, ones I’ve underlined, etc.). I’d keep them with me. I think he might have had multiple copies of his favorites; paperbacks acquired when young and traveling, first editions later.

I hope some day we will know more.

*I believe it first listed 75 until contacted by #BowieBookClub.

Evocation: Billy Collins’ “Embrace”

Last week I came across Billy Collins’ poem “Embrace” — and I learned the rules* have changed, so I can offer it in totality, which is a good thing because you need it all. 


You know the parlor trick.
wrap your arms around your own body
and from the back it looks like
someone is embracing you
her hands grasping your shirt
her fingernails teasing your neck
from the front it is another story
you never looked so alone
your crossed elbows and screwy grin
you could be waiting for a tailor
to fit you with a straight jacket
one that would hold you really tight.

@Billy Collins. From the collection, The Apple That Astonished Paris: Poems. First published 2006; rptd. 2014 by the University of Arkansas Press

It’s a stunning 12-line poem, and immediately I thought of Bowie, and will likely never again watch Bowie do the “parlor trick” without thinking of “Embrace.”

There’s absolutely no reason as far as I know why Bowie would have inspired any of Billy Collins’ work — the connection is in my head. Collins is an American poet, born 1941 in Manhattan, and was America’s poet laureate for 2001 to 2003. I’d describe him as an imagist, with a small i.

I hunted without success for a portrait by Andrew Kent, the photographer who did the black-and-white studies of the Thin White Duke. Maybe there is a Kent still of the “parlor trick,” or perhaps I was just mingling what we know of Bowie in the TWD era and the last six lines of “Embrace.”

I then asked for help from a particularly welcoming FB group of Bowie devotees (not all are) and got dozens of response, but this one of “Heroes,” from the same broadcast as the Bing Crosby and Bowie duet of the “Little Drummer Boy” is in in tone and choreography perfect. The video starts 15 seconds in.


*Quoting more than a few lines of a poem used to amount to academic or professional suicide. But the Poetry Foundation has concluded that a non-commercial blog may do so, if the poem is accompanied by “critique or commentary.” Many other conditions apply and are listed on page 13 of the guide. If a poet objects, then his or her wishes are to be respected. My reasoning is that since 52 of Collins’ poems are on PoemHunter, and the Foundation and PoemHunter are frequently mentioned in tandem on educational sites, Collins would probably not object.