Heathcote Williams – What Are People Doing Fucking Dying?

What are people doing fucking dying?
Haven’t they got better things to do?
No sooner than you’re on someone’s wavelength
Then suddenly they’re whisked away from you.
I saw Bowie at the first Glastonbury in 1971.*
He was performing at five in the morning.
With golden locks he was dressed as a hippie wizard
As he heralded the new day that was dawning.

The sun rose behind the Tor as he was singing.
A Druid hammered in a golden stake,
Muttering spells to try and prevent it from raining
And somehow their magic seemed to work.

Then, in no time at all, Bowie’s dressed as a corpse
Singing, ‘Look up here, I’m in heaven.’
His eyes are buttons and he’s wearing a shroud …
Is it his disguise for a meeting with the divine?

Born of Anthony Newley crossed with Lindsay Kemp,
This cockney rebel could shape-shift and morph.
Bowie would neatly side-step every categorization –
An artful dodger knowing enough to cheat death.

What are people doing fucking dying?
Haven’t they got better things to do?
No sooner than you’re on someone’s wavelength
Then suddenly they’re whisked away from you…

Someone who seemed to stop it from raining
On the parades of the conflicted and insecure;
Someone who’d free their identities and give those
Who clapped eyes on him permission to flower.

He’d experiment with his fluctuating selfhood
In stadium-sized labs;
Now he has just his own immortality to savour
In an exquisite time-lapse –

As he sings his Memory of a Free Festival
Into the 2020’s and the 3020’s:
“The sun machine is coming down
“And we’re going to have a party.”

*There was a small pop-cum-jazz event beforehand which nearly bankrupted Michael Eavis, the producer, because he had to give in to Marc Bolan’s demand of £600 up front before Bolan would get out of his Rolls Royce to play.

http://www.artsjournal.com/herman/2016/01/the-day-david-bowie-died-a-poet-wondered-why.html

Thanks to Harry Hoogstraten

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