I went to the David Bowie exhibition at the V&A on Monday. It was…fine. It certainly perked up when Annabel spotted a visitor wearing non-ironic lederhosen, but for the most part it was nice enough.
In the final room though, everything came together. It’s a huge, cavernous space with three floor to wall screens showing different footage of Bowie singing the same song; Jean Genie, Rock n Roll Suicide, hit after hit comes tumbling out in front of you, with various amazing costumes just hanging out in front, being a bit stiff and museum-ish.
It was the most incredible and oddly moving thing – the rest of the exhibition turns scrawled notes and bits of design into reverential tosh, but here you could see Bowie doing exactly what he should be, and this room more than anything in the exhibition, served to show why he is such a bloody great icon.
People just sat, or stood around, their jaws scraping along their lapels, while we lapped up performances we hadn’t been around to see, from someone we would never have been brave enough to be.
And for me, it reminded me of the utterly amazing, borderline holy, experience that live music can be. The very best concerts, or festival sets, or whatever, transport you. Bat For Lashes at the Spitz, or the Kentish Town Forum. The Offspring at Reading Festival. At its best, live music performances make you feel more alive than anything else.
I joined a choir in January, one which has been going for four years and has gigged around London endlessly. I am hugely excited because tomorrow it’s our first gig – performing just one song, Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain, at The Good Ship in Kilburn.
And next week, we’re performing at Brixton Village East – all sorts of stuff. I have a little solo in Heartbeats, which I never thought would happen given how terrifying every audition I have ever done has been. I’m covering the main soloist too, and last night she was on hols so I got to sing it with the whole choir – and it was lovely. I recorded it for posterity, and clearly, the blog.
Tom, who sings the male solo, looks utterly transported every time he sings it, and it’s completely infectious. In fact, you look around the whole choir, while we’re singing, and everyone looks completely overjoyed, crammed together in our little rehearsal room above a Kennington pub.
I can’t wait until we get to do this in public.