Look at the hands. They’re a dead giveaway. The typically collarless boehme-kraut style leather jacket. The wan austere features, waxen with no particular expression outside of a sort of a dislocated puzzlement. But the hands—the focal point of the picture. Their stiff, mannered pose belies the anxiety behind the stretched tendons. Rigid, yet expressive like the hands in the expressionist works of Kokoschka, to which this photograph bears a strong resemblance.
Expressionism perhaps being the key word in the deciphering of the “real Bowie,” the title of his most recent incarnation. The way, however, in which the present Bowie differs from all the preceding reflections in his hallway of mirror devices in his use of point-
counterpoint with regard to personality and music. Obviously Bowie has always been a very visual head. But whereas in past-worlds of the Sensitive Folkie, The Intergalactic Anti-Christ, the black/white eleganza of a Man Ray disco-cool, the music was an extension of the image. Now the image is an extension of the music.
Sound-treater Brian Eno is responsible for more than just a small part of this transition. Present in both name and spirit on Low and Heroes, his own music has taken on an increasingly tropistic nature in both substance and execution. Another Green World his last LP, was more a catalogue of possibilities and textural diagrams than anything else. His new album, Before and After Science, is a bit less outre in parts, but Eno is so fond of the visual projections that his sonic scenarios create that he has taken the time to include four nominally related offset • lithographs within the jacket of the new LP that were done by an associate of his, Peter Schmidt.
Bowie has certainly incorporated a great deal of the philosophical stance of Eno into his own music. In a manner of speaking it is history repeating itself. Starting in the London of 1910, Ezra Pound influenced almost every major poet of the century, yet was never really able to get his own complex, mood oriented verse to as large an audience as his proteges. He was a “poet’s poet.” So it is with Brian Eno and his “oblique strategies.” Chances