The   Interview!      Part   4   of   5

Today he was out in the garden meditating. It took two minders and a roadie with a special rubber wicket to bounce him out of it, but when he grew conscious again he seemed quite refreshed and in very good humor. We had a brief conversation, at the end of which he lapsed back into an unusual calm and I was escorted quickly off the property. He screams very richly, did you know that? I recorded them.

Ali: Itís been a while! I have deepened my education, of course, so I have lots of very intelligent questions for you.

DB: And itís good to see you again! Fire away, woman!

Ali: What is the difference between philosophy and morality?

DB: Youíve been talking to Georg again, havenít you! Soooo - Morality is the right and wrong of human behaviour - itís all judgement. Itís all opinion. Religion is an opinion. Philosophy, on the other hand, is like - I donít know - fact/opinions. The is-es of morality. These are there things that simply _are_ about the world... we think. And morality passes judgement on what philosophy sheds light on.

Ali: Youíve been talking to Eno again, havenít you!

DB: Itís not a day if itís a day sans Eno.

Ali: What is it, then?

DB: Is this one of those nasty little puzzles you always see in _The Times_? Day minus Eno equals cat or something? I hate those.

Ali: Whatís wrong with your face?

DB: (touching cheek) What, that little cut?

Ali: Iíll ask the questions here, thank you very much.

DB: Why? And that wasnít a question.

Ali: (laughs) No really, whatís wrong with your face.

DB: O, donít do this to me. I cut myself shaving again. Itís so humiliating. Iíve been doing this for what, 30-odd years, and I still cut myself shaving. Itís awful.

Ali: Didnít you say youíd finally...

DB: Yeah yeah yeah. I lied.

Ali: What else is new?

DB: (laughs) Iíve gone and put out another album, thatís what.

Ali: Is this that long-rumored Contamination?

DB: (strange look) No. Itís called Earthling and - didnít you get the little press packet? Thereís a copy in there.

Ali: But Iíve heard Earthling already. Iíve had it for months.

DB: (increasingly strange look) Then whyíd you ask me whatís new? You know nothing happens in my life. Iím barren. Not even the Americans love me and theyíll - Americans are musical sluts. Every passing fancy! (laughs) No, I knew you had Earthling already. I was being perverse. I really donít know why.

Ali: Youíre a pervert.

DB: No, thatís not it. At least, I donít think so. Am I? (checks himself) No, surely not. Or is this the new morality? The new philosophy?

Ali: Slow down, David. Iím just an American. We have trouble keeping up.

DB: (smiles whimsically) I didnít say _you_ were a slut.

Ali: And yet here I am interviewing yet ANOTHER washed-up old popstar!

DB: (laughs quite raspily, truth be told) I donít like the word slut, actually. Itís missing something. The Spanish have all the best curses, did you know that? Thereís this one incredible one, something like ďI shit on the five wounds of Christ, on the cross, on the nails of the cross, and on the son-of-a-bitch who planted the pine!Ē Only itís much more rhythmic in the original. It almost lilts. Incredible, you say, but I know itís true. Eno once did a terrible thing: he speaks Spanish, and I donít, or at least I didnít - Iíve now learnt it to protect myself, so he told me that that was a very polite way to say ďThank you, that was a wonderful meal.Ē And of course you know what happened.

Ali: So thatís howcum yer other eye is funny lookiní!

DB: Exactly! And all these years Iíve been telling people it was George, because Iíve been so embarassed. We actually went back and edited all the old photos so people would think it had been there forever.

Ali: (laughing) So - heh - so, have I told you - heh, that was funny - that I figured out the theme of all

your new work?

DB: No. What is it?

Ali: ďThings Iím NotĒ...

DB: (laughs) No... no donít...

Ali: See, you know whatís coming, donít you! Look at the titles... Outside.... Contamination...

DB: Earthling! (laughs) Thatís brilliant!

Ali: I thought youíd like it. Why do you think everyone else thinks youíre an alien?

DB: Have you gone over to, what is it, Teenage Wildlife recently? They did a poll, whether or not I had alien connections, and you know what? It was only something like 2 to 1 that I didnít!

Ali: I voted yes, you did.

DB: (laughs) But then, youíve been using the special film, havenít you? You can see my true form!

Ali: Did you see that, the new art Iíve been doing?

DB: Yeah, I popped over to whatís-her-nameís site and I leafed through some. I thought you were very cheeky.

Ali: Is that good or bad?

DB: Actually youíve gotten a bit more serious lately. To be honest, I liked the cheeky pieces better.

Ali: I liked putting two heads on you, but after a while the possibilities exhausted themselves. And since you have bad taste in art Iíll ignore the critique. But where do you think art in general is going? Computer art, painting, all that?

DB: O, gosh, I donít know. What am I, a visionary? A futurist? (laughs) You keep talking to me like I know what Iím doing, which I donít. Iím just pretentious - or havenít you read the reviews? The future is with Brian and me. Weíre going to find a way to be pretentious and get paid for it. A school of pretention would have to have horribly overambitious architecture, wouldnít it? And teachers who only think they could teach.

Ali: And the students pretend theyíre rich enough to attend!

DB: Yes! Why does no one interpret pretention the other way? I mean, you say pretentious and people think of someone who says heís smarter or richer or better educated than he really is - why is it never applied to people who pretend to come from much worse backgrounds than they do? Like - Gosh, I canít think of anything now, but...

Ali: Like that Canadian whiteboy, Snow, who did that gangsta rap album?

DB: Thatíll do. So why not?

Ali: Theyíre probably afraid youíll be implicated in the new wave of pretentiousness.

DB: (laughs) But Iíve admitted to my pretensions. I hide nothing from the sweeping omnipresent public eye! Or nothing important, anyway.

Ali: You hide your shaving cuts.

DB: They arenít brain aneurysms, are they now?

Ali: Hey! You watch those aneurysm jokes! Bonoís mum died of one of those!

DB: What did you just say? Mum? I thought you were American.

Ali: Iím sorry - are ALL of thses your pretentions or canít I have a few?

DB: (laughs) Iím a generous man. Go ahead. Take them all.

Ali: Heh. So - something important and vital to talk about - what what...

DB: A farewell is always timely, as my guardian angel once told me.

Ali: O. Well then! Goodbye! Last words?

DB: I canít find my limbs for the tears in my eyes. Goodnight!

Ali, returning to the old ways.

The   Interview!      Part   5   of   5

So he took the test and we got the results and here we are going back over the answers. DB will kindly retake the test live to see how like himself he is. Not to keep you in suspense, heís an ENFP - extroverted intuitive feeling perceiving. And all these terms will be made clear in his answers - I hope. Sometimes heís contridictory, so I have kindly reprinted his orignal answers. Without further adieu:

1.In writings do you prefer
the more literal
the more figurative x

Ali: In writings do you prefer the more literal or the more figurative?

DB: Depends on the book, doesnít it? I donít want to be reading about, what, the Albanian situation and have the author go all flowery on me. I donít think it would matter if ďtheir blood flowed in the streets like red diamonds.Ē or whether it merely flowed.

Ali: Wise guy. Okay then - literature.

DB: Well, then Iím all for the red diamonds. Pile them forthwith. What was my original?

Ali: Figurative. Next question:

2.Are you more inclined to be
easy to approach x
somewhat reserved

Ali: Are you more inclined to be easy to approach or somewhat reserved?

DB: Itís hardly worth asking that question to a popstar, now is it! Iím very easy. Iíll shake anyoneís hand. I already have! Weíre trained to, you know. Awful shock treatments to make us public-love soluble.

3.Are you a person that is more
routinized than whimsical
whimsical than routinized x

Ali: Next: Are you more routinized than whimsical or vicey-versey?

DB: I think the only thing I do regularly is wreck hotel rooms - alright, not really. Iíve always been given to daydreaming so the latter. Howím I doing so far?

Ali: Batting 1.000, kiddo. Next question -

4.Which situation appeals to you more
the structured and scheduled
the unstructured and unscheduled x

Ali: Which situation appeals to you more - the structured and scheduled or the unstructured and unscheduled?

DB: Did you just pronouce scheduled with a shhh instead of a sk? Thatís brilliant! Not even I do that anymore.

Ali: Just answer the question, paleface.

DB: (laughing) To be honest, I like structured things right now because it keeps my hands free - no last minute adjustments. I have more time to do what I like.

Ali: When you were taking the test, you answered the other way. Why?

DB: Iím mercurial. There arenít any questions later where I had to say, well are you stodgy or mercurial and I put stodgy, are there?

Ali: Just this next one.

DB: O dear! (laughs)

5.Do you see yourself as basically
soft-hearted x

Ali: Are you hard-headed or soft-hearted?

DB: No-oneís argued with me much recently so I really couldnít tell you. Soft-hearted is an awful way to put it, isnít it? Makes it sound like you canít stick to your guns.

Ali: But which is it?

DB: Alright, youíve got me. Iím a weakling. Soft-hearted.

Ali: Youíve synched back up with yourself again, if itís any comfort.

6.Which seems the greater error:
to be too passionate
to be too objective x

Ali: And keeping in that general vein, which is the greater error? To be too passionate or too objective?

DB: Too objective. A lot of people who deal with artists, like managers and gallery owners and all that - theyíre all too bottom-line. They have no feeling for things anymore. I think you miss out on a lot like


Ali: And yet, if you let yourself get all clouded with emotion itís just as bad, isnít it?

DB: Eventually, I found, even the worst rage clears up. But once you have your degree in accounting the world will never again look the same.

Ali: (laughs)

7.Are you drawn more to
fundamentals x

Ali: So are you more drawn to fundamentals or overtones?

DB: Thatís a hard question. I think youíve caught me at a time when Iím very much interested in paring things down so fundamentals. But a lot of the time Iíd be completely at a loss! How come these questions never have a gray area?...

Ali: Youíre asking me questions again. You know how much that irratates me. And I would think you to be an overtones kinda guy - not syntax but imagery, not structure but form, that sort of thing.

DB: And I am, often enough. But Earthling really made me pay attention to what is necessary as opposed to what is ďfunĒ or secondary.

8.Is it harder for you to
identify with others
utilize others x

Ali: Is it harder for you to identify with others or utilize others?

DB: Utilize others! Thatís terribly cold. I canít imagine being so utilitarian about people...

Ali: Unless you were on drugs or something.

DB: (winces) That was a hit.

Ali: Boxers or briefs?

DB: Thatís not actually a question, is it? No, surely not, it canít be. I donít recall answering it before.

Ali: All the same - boxers or briefs?

DB: (laughs) Iím actually naked all the time. I wear this little thing on my belt - itís all I wear - and it generates an opaque hologram simulation of clothing. How does it look?

Ali: Can I touch your shirt?

DB: (covers himself with his hands) No! How rude! (laughs)

9.Do you prize more in yourself
a strong sense of reality
a vivid imagination x

Ali: Do you pride yourself more on a strong sense of reality or a vivid imagination?

DB: I fancy Iíve already answered that.

Ali: So - imagination?

DB: Iíd love to be cheeky about it, you know ďNo, of course not, I have a nice stiff palm on the pulse of reality at all times.Ē But itís not true. Also, I remember how I answered before so yes, imagination.

10.When the phone rings do you
hasten to get to it first
hope someone else will answer x

Ali: When the phone rings do you run for it or wait for Iman to answer?

DB: I never ever ever answer the phone. Itís always someone who wants money! Thatís why I like e-mail so much - if you donít like whatís being said you can just delete the message and you arenít obliged to respond in any way.

11.In relationships should most things be
random and circumstantial x

Ali: Re relations with other humans - should they be renegotiable or random?

DB: God, how boring it would be if it were all planned! ďCome on, love, itís time for the five-o-clock fuck.Ē Iíd kill myself in a week. Itíd be awful. Whereas if you just happen to *bump* into someone (laughs) itís much nicer.

12.Is it preferable mostly to
make sure things are arranged x
just let things happen

Ali: Is it better to make sure things are arranged or just to let things happen?

DB: Didnít I just answer that? Just let them happen.

Ali: You answered the other way on the computer.

DB: How contradictory of me! You see? I certainly didnít plan to go back over these! But why would I have put - o, I know why. Itís a ďin-jokeĒ, thoí. Canít talk about it here.

Ali: How loathesome of you. Next!

13.Are you more inclined to be
sympathetic x

Ali: Are you more inclined to be fair-minded or sympathetic?

DB: Do I have to go and admit Iím a weakling again? O alright, sympathetic.

Ali: Iím twice the man you are!

DB: (laughs)

14.Which person is more to be complimented: one of
clear reason x
strong feeling

Ali: Which person is more to be complimented: one of clear reason or strong feeling?

DB: The reasonable one. Clearly thatís the one agreeing with me!

15.Do you feel
more practical than ingenious
more ingenious than practical x

Ali: Do you feel more practical than ingenious or vice-versa?

DB: What does - ah - what does ingenious mean again? No, only joking. Iím very make-it-up as you go along. Versey-vicey.

Ali: Iím going to pretend I didnít hear that.

16.Are you more likely to trust your
hunch x

Ali: Are you more likely to trust your experience or a hunch?

DB: (laughs) My experience is rather suspect, so the hunch.

17.Do you
speak easily and at length with strangers x
find little to say to strangers

Ali: Do you speak easily with strangers...

DB: Only if theyíre speaking English.

Ali: Stop interrupting! Or do you find little to say to them?

DB: All I ever do is talk, it seems. And everyoneís a little stranger to me.

18.Are you more comfortable
after a decision x
before a decision

Ali: Are you more comfortable before or after a decision?

DB: O, much more so after a decision. Then I donít have to think about it anymore.

19.Do you more often prefer the
final and unalterable statement
tentative and preliminary statement x

Ali: Do you more often prefer the final and unalterable statement or the tenative ambiguous one?

DB: Iím going to contradict myself again: the ambiguous.

Ali: Why?

DB: Statements - at least in the sense of the statement-as-principle - should leave as much room as possible to work in. The more set-in-stone things get, the less there is to do! Gosh, I canít hold still for five minutes!

Ali: But youíre David Bowie, so we forgive you.

DB: Thatís a sad statement, isnít it?

Ali: Iím going to pretend I didnít hear that.

DB: (laughs)

20.Do you value in yourself more that you are
devoted x

Ali: Do you pride yourself more on being unwavering...

DB: Or devoted? Devoted. This question was silly. I thought, these words mean the same thing, donít they? But thereís a little nuance, a little emotional nuance between the two. And since Iím certainly not unwavering! See above, those of you who are reading.

Ali: How kind of you to include them. Next!

21.Which do you wish more for yourself:
clarity of reason
strength of compassion x

Ali: Which do you wish more for youself: clarity of reason or strength of compassion?

DB: Clarity of reason. And compassion! I think I do pretty well on both counts.

Ali: You put compassion down on the computer.

DB: I really canít answer it now. Both or neither.

22.Which is more of a compliment:
"There is a very logical person." x
"There is a very sentimental person."

Ali: Which is more of a compliment: ďYouíre very logical.Ē or ďYouíre very sentimental.Ē?

DB: ďYouíre very logical.Ē Because itís an accomplishment to be logical, I mean really logical and not just boring or conservative or whatever. Whereas any backwards-looking person can be sentimental.

23.Are you more interested in
production and distribution
design and research x

Ali: This is another waste-of-time question: Production and distribution or design and research?

DB: Design and reseach, of course. Unless they mean production production, like in studio, because thatís a lot of fun. I really enjoy that.

Ali: I think they mean like screwing the caps on Coke bottles production.

DB: What a horrible way to make a living.

Ali: We canít all be David Bowie.

DB: Iím going to pretend I didnít hear that!

24.Do you go more by
principles x

Ali: Do you go more by facts or priciples?

DB: What good are facts? Principles. Facts are what you fall back on when you donít have any principles.

Ali: I answered facts.

DB: Iím very sorry.

25.Do you prefer
many friends with brief contact
a few friends with more lengthy contact x

Ali: Do you prefer many friends with brief contact or fewer with longer contact?

DB: It was quite the other way when I was younger, but now Iíve had friends who have been with me for ever and ever and I really like having that. Itís an enormous comfort. They keep me in line! I canít imagine life without someone like Coco, who has been with me since - I donít even want to think about it. Nevermind. I answer the second one.

26.Do you tend to look for
the orderly
whatever turns up x

Ali: Only 45 more. Do you tend to look for the orderly or whatever turns up?

DB: 45? Iím going to be short with you, then. Whatever turns up.

27.Are you more comfortable with work that is
done on a casual basis x

Ali: Are you more comfortable with work that is contracted or done on a casual basis?

DB: O, God, deadlines will rip out your heart. Work done at oneís leisure is almost always the best work.

{Note - for about the next 40 questions he just parroted back his previous answer without much change or additional information. Iíve reprinted his answers but I wonít bore you with his non-comments.)

28.Which rules you more:
your head
your heart x
29.Which is more satisfying:
to discuss an issue thoroughly x
to arrive at agreement on an issue
30.Are you more likely to
see how others are useful
see how others see x
31.Are you more frequently
a practical sort of person
a fanciful sort of person x
32.Does new and non-routine interaction with others
stimulate and energize you x
tax your reserves
33.Which is the greater fault:
being indiscriminate x
being critical
34.Do you put more value on the
open-ended x
35.Which is more admirable:
the ability to organize and be methodical
the ability to adapt and make do x
36.Are you more
firm than gentle
gentle than firm x
37.In making decisions do you feel more comfortable with
feelings x
38.Children often do not
make themselves useful enough
exercise their fantasy enough x
39.Common sense is
rarely questionable
frequently questionable x
40.In company do you
initiate conversation x
wait to be approached
41.Do you feel better about
having purchased
having the option to buy x
42.Should one usually let events occur
by careful selection and choice
randomly and by chance x
43.Is it worse to be
merciless x
44.Are you more often
a cool-headed person
a warm-hearted person x
45.Are visionaries
somewhat annoying
rather fascinating x
46.Do you prefer the
planned event
unplanned event x
"speak for themselves"
illustrate principles x
48.In phoning do you
rarely question that it will all be said x
rehearse what you'll say
49.Would you say you are more
serious and determined x
50.Do you want things
settled and decided
unsettled and undecided x
51.Are you more comfortable in making
logical judgments
value judgments x
52.Which appeals to you more
consistency of thought x
harmonious human relationships
53.Writers should
"say what they mean and mean what they say"
express things more by use of analogy x
54.In doing ordinary things are you more likely to
do it the usual way
do it your own way x
55.In your social groups do you
keep abreast of other's happenings x
get behind on the news
56.Does it bother you more having things
incomplete x
57.Are you more
punctual x
58.In approaching others is your inclination to be somewhat
personal x
59.Do you tend to be more
deliberate than spontaneous
spontaneous than deliberate x
60.In judging others are you more swayed by
laws than circumstances
circumstances than laws x
61.Are you more interested in
what is actual
what is possible x
62.Are you more attracted to
sensible people
imaginative people x
63.At parties do you
stay late, with increasing energy x
leave early, with decreased energy
64.Do you tend to choose
rather carefully
somewhat impulsively x
65.Do you prefer to work
to deadlines
just "whenever" x
66.Are you more drawn toward the
convincing x
67.Are you more impressed by
principles x
emotions {At which point the following happened}

Ali: Just 3 left! That went quickly.

DB: Only 3?

68.Is it worse to
have your "head in the clouds"
be "in a rut" x

Ali: Is it worse to have your head in the clouds or to be in a rut?

DB: To be in a rut. If youíve got your head in the clouds you can at least get a nice view! No, seriously, I feel you have to get out in the world, to experience things and dream all the time and really - itís a stock phrase, but really live to the fullest. Otherwise youíll always feel like youíve missed something. And you probably have.

69.Are you more
realistic than speculative
speculative than realistic x

Ali: Are you more realistic that specualtive or vice versa?

DB: Iím always second-guessing things. I have almost no idea how the world works anymore. I once read this article - it was a satire on Jagger and me, and they had me saying ďWell, you know, I can still change a lightbulb and change my clothes, but poor Mick, he came over and I cooked us some sausages and he just sort of stared at them and went ĎMmmm, those look good, maybe Iíll have them laterí and it occured to me heíd forgotten how to feed himself. Iím not at all like that. Iím quite handy about the house.Ē And it was a very funny piece - of course Iím paraphrasing it, I canít remember exactly how it went - but it also very sad. Iíve gotten off course, havenít I? Whatever the second one was.

70.At a party do you
interact with many, including strangers x
interact with a few, known to you

Ali: At a party do you interact with many, including strangers, or interact with a few already-knowns?

DB: I know everyone! Does that count?

Ali: Towards which?

DB: I donít know. I suppose the first one. When there is someone new I always like to talk to them, get a new voice in my head, that sort of thing.

Ali: That was the last question.

DB: What did I win?

Ali: More questions!

DB: O, god no.

Ali: O God yes! These come from your man Cobalt Blue.

DB: (grumbling darkly) ... Well, if itís Cobalt... (gumbling darkly again, then laughs suddenly.) Go ahead. Iím not due back at the hotel for another hour.

Ali: Right, here we are, then. Hereís his post. Iíll just ask the questions. What do the mountains say to you?

DB: These are clever! ďWe miss you, Dolly Parton.Ē Next!

Ali: Who do you pray to?

DB: Mephistopheles and Bacchus. Next!

Ali: Have you ever been a beggar?

DB: Yes, Iíve been doing it for months but Reeves doesnít know shit about it. This is fun! I like this.

Ali: Har har! How do you wake up in the morning?

DB: I stand alone and lose myself through a stare in the window. This is much better than thinking of my own!

Ali: What kind of shampoo do you use?

DB: Thatís classified infomation. No - I donít really know. Whatever the hotel supplies for me, I suppose.

Ali: Do you see color in music?

DB: Iíve been doing - Iím going to get serious for a moment - Iíve been listening to a lot of the new DJís and the stuff they do - one in particular, DJ Spooky, paints these cityscapes using only sound. Itís brilliant, and of course it all goes back to Enoís ambient, but itís brilliant all the same. Yes, I suppose I do.

Ali: Tell us your last dream. Here, Iíll help. Tell us your last five dreams!

DB: Iím starting to hate the number five!

Ali: But seriously, what did you last dream?

DB: Hmmm... I dreamt I was running through sort of a spy movie, only everything was lit in blue and

there was almost no gravity so you could jump incredibly high. It was very scary and very exciting.

Ali: What does the word ďclouzotĒ mean to you?

DB: Rachel Clouzot, the famous pointilist poetess, was a very big influence on Earthling. Next!

Ali: Whoís your favorite painter?

DB: DJ Spooky! No, only joking. I like the Germans more than the French. Itís hard to pick just one! Do I have to pick one? Me. I like my paintings very much.

Ali: Weíll let that one ride. Whoís your visionary?

DB: Dr. Jonas Teinsprit Fidep. Should I spell that? Heís my optometrist.

Ali: I canít imagine dealing with your frankly incredible eyes on a professional basis.

DB: He has similar qualms, I assure you. (laughs)

Ali: Does looking at the beauty of Iman make you go dumb?

DB: (smiles mystically)

Ali: (laughs) Very clever. One more: Where do we go from here?

DB: (sings) Thereís nothing in our eyes; as lonely as the moon... (laughs, looks at paper) Can I kiss you, Ali?

Ali: Sure. But only if I can kiss you too.

And so we exchanged pecks on the cheek and he sidled off to his comfortable hotel room, and now I have to go clean the kitchen up. Gosh, Iíd like to be famous.

Ali, finishing the damn series finally.

Back to Interviews 1-3:
Back to the Temple:
Back to Lady Artist Minotaur's Cerulean Skies: