On "Otherness" and Touching with Madness


Bowie: But it was him (Vince Taylor) and his complete otherness. I'm terribley attracted to people like that. The other people.

Yentob: And that otherness has been a very big thing in all the characters.

Bowie: Yes it is.

Yentob: So whether it's the character from the Space Oddity or Aladdin Sane...and that touching with madness. Which in a sense-you don't-you're not frightened of it. Or how would you...

Bowie: Well, I think, maybe, that's not entirely true. I have maybe only a wariness of it these days. I'm not...I mean it's been fairly well recorded...my family's pretty rampantly...(pause) What's the word? I think I'm not so sure you can call it madness...I think it is...There's a lot of...There's an awful lot of emotional and spiritual mutilation goes on. And I think to a certain extent it's touched me in various ways over the years. No longer, I think. It doesn't ...It's not a situation that has the same degree of frightfulness that it possibley had when I was much younger.

Yentob: You've said that to me on other occasions but because of the last few years, and I've seen you and how you've grown. I believe you now. I didn't believe you 20 years ago when you said-"I'm me." God-(laughs)-or whatever you said. Something not dissimiliar to that. But I sense a sort of stability there. An anchor there now in your...

Bowie: Yes. Yeah.

Yentob: Have you just found it do you think in the last few years?

Bowie: Don't know, you know. I think I've found a greater freedom within my life by being more accepting of it. Not running and searching so desperately for some Holy Grail. Some...some certainty, you know. Which I think I've probably felt more than others that I needed. I think that I felt-often-ever since I was a teenager-so adrift, and so not part of everyone else. There are so many dark secrets about my family in the cupboard that I probably...it kind of made me feel very much on the outside of everything. And because of that...I felt that there was no basis to my life, like everyone else seemed to have. Which of course is ridiculous. But you don't know, and therefore, probably, I would do things to prove that I had some emotional substance, you know...and that I knew what I was doing. When, in fact, I didn't have a clue.

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