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Posted Aug 18th, 2015 (2:49 pm) by Jess Marsh
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Can a college professor really ch-ch-ch-change into a pop music legend by adopting his fashion sense?

As part of a study of the icon, Professor Will Brooker of Kingston University will be spending the next year impersonating David Bowie. Using the various costumes and personas of Bowie, Brooker plans to method-act his way to understanding the artist's state of mind. David Bowie portrayed various characters throughout his career, such as Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke, leaving much of his true identity unknown.


Brooker aims to understand where David Bowie was mentally when he would take on these different roles, by adopting as many of his attributes as he can. He does not stop at simply costuming, however. He has also taken on Bowie's known eating habits, such as a diet of milk and red peppers, which is probably even worse than it sounds. Brooker is also attempting sleep deprivation to match Bowie's insomnia.

While it's probably safe to assume that Professor Brooker will not be partaking in some of the more scandalous parts of Bowie's career, like a dangerous cocaine habit or an alleged fling with Mick Jagger, Brooker does say: "...it is possible to engage with and get a feel for his experiences without immersing oneself to a dangerous extent."

Brooker, who currently teaches culture and film studies, is currently only engaging in media that would have been available during each period of Bowie's career. This will give him a closer look at what external influences Bowie might have utilized when creating his music. He recently spoke at the Bowie Symposium in Melbourne, as part of their "David Bowie Is" exhibition. The symposium covered the span of the singer's career, analyzing his influence through the lens of fashion, rock music, gender, and performance art.


While this undertaking may be incredibly interesting, we have to ask what the purpose really is behind it. We aren't claiming to be psychology experts, but neither is Brooker. The idea that he can thrust himself into the same state of mind as David Bowie via outdated media and glamorous wardrobe changes is a tough sell. After all, Bowie famously thought he witnessed bodies falling past his window, suspected musicians of being FBI agents or vampires, claimed his semen was STOLEN BY WITCHES (that's right), and practiced Black Magic, all while under the spell of some very heavy drug use. Somehow, there is a large amount of lingering doubt that Brooker will be able to summon the same frame of mind without the help of some white powder.

David Bowie has yet to comment on the ambitious research project, and Brooker, while hopeful he will, is also well aware of the artist's low-profile in recent years. He anticipates that any comment that would be made, would be made by a persona, rather than by Bowie himself.

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