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The David Bowie albums that mean the most to me.

David Bowie’s music and artistic creativity have been a personal inspiration since my very first days at art school.

This morning, like so many of us, I was shocked to hear the very sad news of the death of David Bowie. Though I never met him in person, or ever (to my lasting regret) saw him in concert, his albums, songs, and even his acting (who will ever forget him as brilliant pantomime performance as the Goblin King in Labyrinth?) have become memory triggers that instantly conjure up images and emotions from the different periods of my life.

If I hear any of the tracks from Hunky Dory or The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane or Heroes, I’m instantly transported back to the dank Victorian house that stank of joss sticks and stale food, and was my digs during my foundation year at art school; Let’s Dance, Tonight and Never Let Me Down trigger memories of the smell of the acrylic paints and watercolors I used for my work as an illustrator during the 80s; Outside and Heathen return me to the frenetic streets of Camden Town in North London during the heady, crazy days of Blair and Britpop — when I worked out of a leaky photographic studio behind the high street and regularly spent my evenings watching an eclectic range of punk and rock bands play at obscenely loud volume in venues such as The Barfly, The Dublin Castle and The World’s End. Hours takes me back to 1999 and the excitement of the impending millennium and possible Y2K meltdown; Heathen brings me back to the cold realities of post 9/11. …


James Bareham

Creative Director, Vox Media Networks: @verge , @polygon , @eater , @curbed , @voxdotcom , @SBNation , @recode . British by birth, American by choice

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