I’ve been reading a lot. Specifically, I’ve been reading a lot about Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. I find him, especially, to be fascinating, although it is frustrating to read interviews with him as he hates them and likes to keep his private life separate from his on stage persona. And it is very much a persona, from what I can tell. It’s the same way that Archibald Leach invented Cary Grant and then became Cary Grant. So, too did Bryan Ferry become The Bryan Ferry. His is a completely art-directed life, to steal a phrase from one of the authors I’ve just read.
I’m working through why this is fascinating to me as I type, so please bear with me.
Maybe it’s to do with that distinctive character trait of “Americaness” which I have in spades. Kids of my generation were brought up with the admonition that we could be anything we wanted to be. Want to be President of the USA? You had but to strive and aim high. Try that in England where not just any hardworking, bright young man can grow up to be Queen. (If that’s too soon, my apologies.)
My high-school aged kids are already thinking along the lines of careers. In high school, I was usually thinking about my next meal, or the distracting way that the co-eds just sat there in a couple of my classes. No idea which classes they were, but I distinctly remember the three girls just sitting there in all their non-boyness.
I’m guessing that my fascination with reinventing one’s self stems from being an Army Brat. New post, new you. Whatever didn’t work last time was discarded and lessons learned the hard way in the school yard were now S.O.P.
Ferry is, by all accounts, a true artist. A trained art school sculptor, painter, ceramicist (well he picked that up teaching at a girls school while he was waiting to launch Roxy), what today we would call a “creative.” His media just happen to be music and glamour. How very modern. Or it was. I’m not sure that glamour is in such high demand these days. Perhaps I just don’t recognize it for what it is.
Peter York said of Ferry that he was such a work of art, that he should hang in the Tate next to Bowie.
Thinking of Ferry and Grant, I catch a glimpse of what I was trying to do with this blog. I say trying because it didn’t really work. Or rather, it did, up to a point. As it tends to do, “life” got in the way of “lifestyle.”