Jon Savage in conversation with Michael Bracewell

As part of the hugely popular ‘David Bowie is’ exhibition; writer, broadcaster and journalist, Jon Savage, was joined by fellow writer Michael Bracewell to discuss the most important few decades of Bowie’s career to date, and the influence that period had on the rest of the music world.

We made our way through a few rooms of sculpture, up a flight of stairs or two and into the modestly sized, but well-furnished lecture theatre. Some seventies Bowie was already playing quietly in the background. Savage has been described as the definitive historian of Punk and is a hugely influential writer on many aspects of pop and youth culture. Although we were all aware of his work for the likes of NME, Melody Maker and The Face, interestingly, none of the team knew anything about the person behind the articles – so we were eager to put a face to the name.

A bit of friendly bickering on the subject added some humour to the evening

Ross Granger

Our host Bracewell gave a brief introduction, and it soon became clear that the two were not only accomplished writers but also good friends. As all good friends do, they seemed to have plenty of contrasting opinions and a bit of friendly bickering on the subject, adding some humour to the evening. Savage moved quickly from one Bowie project to the next, strictly sticking to schedule for the one-hour time slot he had been allocated. With the discussion supported by some rare footage and photographs (including a rather sweet picture of a 16-year-old, Bowie-mad Sid Vicious), it was easy to engage with and enjoy.

Savage came across well and was an interesting character to listen to – although I was hoping for a few more anecdotes or behind the scenes stories. Unfortunately the discussion didn’t progress much further than a brief overview, but it did do a good job of setting the scene and putting Bowie’s work in to context. It certainly made me want to go and buy a ticket for the exhibition, it’s just a shame that it’s already completely sold out.

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