The David Bowie Colin Wilson Story

With All Respect

By 1981 I had fallen into a dark crowd. I was no longer interested in the rock scene but had no other social connections and found myself wondering why I was in the Mudd Club at 4:00 am with enough stimulants in me to make Aleister Crowley proud, blathering to people I cared nothing about, and taking home women whose names I’ve forgotten, if I ever knew them. Not a golden age. Boredom, lack of purpose, and the souless drift made up a few months of my mid-twenties. I was not making music, was spending money, and lacked true friends. Yet Colin Wilson appeared once again. At a party at David Bowie’s loft in mid-town, the king held court, discoursing on all and sundry. The occult came up as a topic; Bowie had predelictions in that area. He went on about witchcraft and an acquaintance mentioned that I knew all about this stuff: I read Colin Wilson.

“Colin Wilson?” Ziggy Stardust said. “Yes. He goes around at night and traces pentagrams on people’s doorsteps.” Was he joking? “Yes, he draws down the ectoplasm of dead Nazis and fashions homunculi.”

Bowie was a skinny, shivery man and he may just have remembered that not too long ago during a brief flame up of our past passion, Lulu and I conversed with him at the Mudd Club. He asked her back to his place, very gentlemanly-like. Not me. I was gratified that she passed him up, and stuck with me. Could this brief episode have stuck with him? In any case, I took him at his word and pointed out that he was wrong.

“Wilson isn’t into that sort of thing,” I said.

“Oh yes he is. I know for a fact that he heads a coven in Cornwall.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“No. It’s true.”

“I doubt it, David.”

This carried on for a few more volleys. Then the thin white duke wearied of my obstinancy. A sight gesture of the hand and his two female body guards appeared, like Thumper and Bambi in Diamonds are Forever. “David is a bit tired now,” Thumper said. “Perhaps it’s time you left,” added Bambi. Perhaps it was.


10 thoughts on “The David Bowie Colin Wilson Story

  1. I’m enjoying reading The Secret Teachers of the Western World and something about that and Bowie’s death made me thing about music. If we’re all energy, than how would you classify music? Someone like Bowie gave so much music, do you think songs are like packets of energy or waves? I guess the same question can apply to books and art. I worked in a music store back in the day, and I always felt very connected to the music, in all it’s forms- vinyl, cds, etc.

    1. I guess I would say that music is organised meaning in the form of sound, just as, say, painting is organised meaning in the form of shapes and colors. Music is different, though, because where a painting is always of something – at least until the advent of non-represenational art – music isn’t about something, but is something in itself. Music, I think, is the most direct experience of affirmation, of the kind of “yes-saying” that many mystics say is the core of their experiences. It has the power of reaching deep into us, by-passing the critical mind. That’s why it can have an hypnotic effect and why many rational thinkers, from Plato on, have warned about its misuse. Nietzsche said that without music life would be unbearable and I think I have to agree. Cheers, Gary

  2. I’m very much looking forward to Beyond the Robot! I’m an obsessive reader and collector of Wilson’s work, and have written my own piece on his under celebrated novel, The Black Room. Your own work has been a big influence, and I’ve taken some of the advice from Caretakers to heart and have finally decided to make a start at writing!. . .

    1. David, I’m looking forward to Beyond the Robot too, as you might imagine. I haven’t been able to devote as much space as I would like to the novels, but I do spend some time with The Black Room as I believe it encapsulates the essence of Wilson’s insight into consciousness, what he calls “the challenge of no challenge.” Human beings are at their best when overcoming obstacles but tend to become lazy once they’ve overcome them. Can we find a way to keep our sense of purpose strong without relying on external challenges? This is the question The Black Room explores. All the best and good luck with writing – it’s certainly a challenge. Best, Gary

  3. hi Gary, I was not sure where to post and I saw no email address so: I was watching a Blondie video on Netflix hoping to see some clips of the early band.. I was and I was thinking “I wonder if they will have an interview with Gary?” I didn’t see one and I have to admit I lost interest pretty quick. then I decided to try to do a Google search and found you here. I don’t think you will remember me but what you might remember is one of the days when you guys played at the Whiskey in Hollywood when my old buddy Mario, your road manager put you Jimmy and Clem (I think) on a bus to go to my music store in the San Fernando Valley. It took all day to get there from Hollywood, (I thought it was a mean trick). you guys had to go back almost as soon as you got there and I was going to drive you back but I had to close the store, so I watched you guys go off and try to get back to Hollywood on public transit. By coincidence another friend was running sound at the Whiskey and I had to drop off some gear that night and got a chance to see you play with the band, it was awesome, then I ran into you a few times after that and I always wondered how things worked out for you. I have a close friend in Germany who is or was very interested in Madame Blavatsky and I learned a little bit about her. I have been interested in the metaphysical for most of my life, anyway I am delighted to find you here it was always great to talk to you way way back and I expect to read a few of your books. Its interesting to see how things worked out for you, to me you are a success, if you stayed in Blondie Im sure they would have been a better band but you would be trapped in the past in a way so being a writer in London I think is a better life (imho) Cheers! David

    1. Many thanks for your message David. I can’t remember taking public transport when I was in LA with Blondie – although I do remember taking it very often when I lived there and yes, it would have been cruel and unusual punishment to subject two virgin New Yorkers to it. Do you know my book about my Blondie years, New York Rocker? Among other things it has a few more Bowie stories. Thanks for the brief trip down memory lane. All the best, Gary

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s