Monday, 6 May 2013

The V&A (and Bowie) Calls for Heels

David Bowie at the V&A

One of the many reasons I love The Cat is that, when deciding what to wear to the David Bowie exhibition yesterday, I commented that 'the V&A calls for heels' and his response was 'absolutely' - not sarcastically but in honest agreement. Not everyone would concur with that, many would probably suggest flat shoes more appropriate on account of having to stand for so long, but The Cat is on the same wavelength as me.

So we were in agreement that heels had to be worn, but what else? My wardrobe is sadly lacking in 1970s glam wear so I just threw together something fun instead.

David Bowie: as iconically British as the K6 telephone box

And we both thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition. I wasn't convinced by the requirement of headphones at first, because I generally refuse audio guides as I prefer to take things in my own way, go at my own pace, double-back if need be, and share thoughts and observations with whoever I'm there with. But I did get used to the 'audio experience' - there were obviously sensors around the place so that when you came near to a video or display, the audio would change accordingly. In addition, there was music playing over public speakers... If this sounds a little overwhelming and disorientating, that's because it was. But, as I said, I did kind of adjust to it, and the way it worked still allowed you to go freeform. And I was amused when I removed my headphones at one point and a man near me was quietly singing along to whatever was on his headphones...

David Bowie exhibition (Image source: The Guardian)

But what of the exhibition generally? Well, someone, or a group of someones, obviously had a lot of fun putting it together. It certainly wasn't a staid exhibition of displays in glass cases but, rather, very immersive and creatively composed. It moved between the context in which David Bowie grew up, in post-war Britain and moving into the space race; the art, movies and books from which he drew influence to create his unique imagery and ideas; his creative processes and the manner in which he controls all aspects of his albums and shows, not just the music; his various personas and how they came about; his stage shows and music videos; and the ways in which he has influenced popular culture.

Image source: The Guardian

The Cat and I were talking afterwards about how we were both trying to imagine what it was like to witness the first emergence of Bowie - the context in which he appeared and how unexpected and different and shocking he was. We pondered what it would have been like to see the famous performance of Starman on Top of the Pops, the iconic and groundbreaking moment which was, for many, many people, the first introduction to Bowie... The thing is, it's still not hard to imagine what an astonishing and exciting moment this was, because his music and image is still thrilling, no matter how used we are to it now.

Image source: Dressing Up Daisies

So if you're in London or can get to London, I absolutely recommend checking out the show. I believe that pre-sale tickets are completely sold out but there are still same-day tickets to be got. Or if you're lucky enough to have a friend who's a member, you could sweetly ask them to take you... I certainly wouldn't mind taking another friend along on my membership card - there was so much to take in, so much footage and such, that a repeat visit would be well worth it.

Image source: Wikipedia

And, before I go, can I just say one more thing? Thank goodness for this amazing Bank Holiday weather! Springtime and warmth has come at last! Here's to hoping it sticks around. The Cat and I were actually able to enjoy a pleasant stroll after the exhibition, enjoying Hyde Park as the sun and warmth still lingered...

Hyde Park swan and sunset


  1. Aah would love to see this exhibit! You look darling! xxx

    1. Thanks, lovely lady! And I hope you can make it down to London to see it...

  2. Your outfit is just right to visit "The Chameleon"! What a beautiful photo of Hyde Park with the crease-necked swan in the foreground of the gold and silver water ripples and sky. As one around when Bowie began, I didn't get him. He was too arty, too intellectual for me. Now I'm sorry to have missed that. Curiously, the leader of our local sharpie gang in the late 70s/early 80s in Melbourne, was called Bowie because he was a huge fan. Not what you would have expected.

    1. Thanks! And I'm sure we've all missed opportunities like that, only picking up on things later when, if we'd been in a different place, situation or mindset, we might have been able to say we were there from the start... But then we make up for it by being in the right place at the right time for other things!

  3. Great post and you look lovely!! Ciao from Italy :)