On his collaborator Brian Eno and the "New School of Pretention"

note: I honestly don't know how to spell 'pretention' I think it's right, but I won't swear by it.

In Brian Eno, Bowie found a musical partner whose passion for experiment easily matched his own.

Yentob: What did you see in Brian that you felt...

Bowie: Someone who really understood the illogic of putting together different systems. I mean, I'd read quite a bit about him. I hadn't known him terribley well. I'd worked with him a couple of times when he was playing rock music. And the first time I met him I thought he looked more effeminate than I did. It was really quite a shock. He had incredibly long hair. I was rather jealous actually. And I believe he was wearing leopard skin...leopard skin and high heel shoes. Not the professor we know today. He was an alarmingly glamourous young man. Yentob: But minimalism was in his soul, wasn't it?

Bowie: Well, yeah. I mean...he'd stumbled into rock music. I sort of...I made a...I charged at it. I was right on target. I knew exactly...I wanted to be a white Little Richard at 8. Or atleast his sax player. Brian sort of just ended up in a rock band when he was busy doing something else. As Lennon would have said. And he sort of applied...I mean, what he just did was apply all the things he'd learned at art school. Really. And I thought, let's see if we...this part of culture is raw.

Yentob: Your ambitions...were there...whatever they are. Whatever value judgements one makes from them...are about drawing into the world of popular music...even however you transform them. They are big ideas. Big thoughts.

Bowie: Yeah.

Yentob: And you even acknowledge a certain. You know "Yes, I am pretentious." You know...who says 'pretentious and wild?'...

Bowie: Well I...yes, of course. I mean Brian and I decided in the late 70's that we had developed a new school of pretention. I mean, that was our thing at the time. We put it about alot. I mean--we gave it the title. Other people may bandy it around, but we knew from 78--79--that we were the new school of pretention. We saw nothing wrong with that. We rather saw pretention--or the idea of pretending--the playfulness that has any kind of evocative kind of feeling in art--actually something to go for.


Back to page 1