Ambra Mattioli in the book "The freakiest Show, David Bowie Covers"
Updated: Apr 22
“Life on Mars?” is one of the best-known songs in the world by David Bowie. It is almost impossible, I think, not to fascinate by the combination of words, music and images of the clip he made for, which is fantasy and feeling of other worlds and never banal lives.
“It's the freakiest show” is a sentence in the lyrics of the song. “È lo spettacolo più strano”, is the literal translation into Italian.
“The freakiest show” is also the title of a book by Dave Thompson, and when I saw it, I wondered about his motivation for choosing these exact words, even though I sensed it. The first edition of this book dates back to 2016, the year David Bowie passed away, in which there was in fact a flourishing of publications about him. I never really loved “instant books” born too often for mere economic interest and without anything good to add the character, in this case on the media wave of “everybody knows me now” that David himself sang lapidary in the text of his “Lazarus”, one of the most poignant songs of his latest album Blackstar.
However, I bought this book. In addition, not only the first edition, but also the second of 2017, which had as its subtitle: “David Bowie Cover Versions 1964-2017 (revised and updated edition)”, and the last of 2019, directly entitled “The freakiest show, David Bowie Covers 1964-2019”.
Nevertheless, who is Dave Thompson? He is a writer and journalist who has authored over 150 books, including many other David Bowie titles: “Moonage Daydream (Plexus, 1987)”, “Hallo Spaceboy: The Rebirth of David Bowie (ECW, 2006)”, “Your Pretty face is Going to Hell: The Dangerous Glitter of David Bowie, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop (Backbeat Books, 2009)”, and the novel “To Major Tom (Sanctuary, 2002)”. His other titles include biographies of “Sweet”, “Sparks”, “Alice Cooper”, “10cc”, “Joan Jett”, “Suede”, as well as “20th Century Rock'n'roll: Glam Rock (CGP Books, 2000)”, and “Children of the Revolution: The Glam Rock Story (Cherry read, 2010)”. In short, a person, I think, who has made music and artists part of his work, who has always talked and written about them, not just following a wave or to beat money.
Actually my surprise, and the reason for my first purchase, was to discover that Dave Thompson mentioned me in the first edition of his “The freakiest show” as performer of David Bowie's song covers: for some titles, and in particular for my live interpretations of “1.Outside”. I discovered that further than the covers made by well-known artists, he did a whole job of research on the web and on YouTube® too. He included in his book what seemed to be the covers that best corresponded to the interpretations that paid homage to David Bowie and that continued to keep his music alive. Despite the obvious limitations due to the editorial choices made for the drafting of the book in relation to the vastness of the material found on the web, Dave Thompson's research and information work has been quite extensive. In short, I was so intrigued that I contacted him, finding an affable and nice person. He too got curious and asked me for more information about myself that I sent him, and he kindly added in his book a couple of pages in addition to the other previous quotes about me in the book textx. He was kind.
I am sorry he still has not done a subsequent update after 2019 to the book as he told me he planned. In it, he would also report about my performances “Blackstar Live Full Album”, which he told me had very impressed him. Who knows, I hope he will, but since my intent is to keep David Bowie's music heard and appreciated, I'm already glad Dave Thompson noticed me in the great sea of the web and I'm glad he considered me worthy of attention. It was really a pleasure to get in touch and exchange a few words with a nice person like him.