Thursday, 14 January 2016

On David Bowie's 'Blackstar' and the Series 'Fringe'

[Spoiler Alert] Yesterday, after listening to David Bowie's 'Blackstar' again, I put on the next episode of JJ Abrams' series 'Fringe' (S4:E22, co-staring Leornard Nimoy). I had to freeze-frame this a few minutes in. What's that on the wall? OK, pretty weird. Then a friend pointed out that the main bad guy's name in the series was David Robert Jones (who happens to die in this episode.) This is, of course, David Bowie's real name. Coincidence?

So I did some searching, and in the second season they fight a visitor from the alternate universe named Thomas Jerome Newton. "Thomas Jerome Newton" is the name of the character David Bowie plays in the "The Man Who Fell to Earth". Noteworthy is the name of TJN's business partner in TMWFTE - Farnsworth. Agent Astrid Farnsworth, was one of the main Fringe characters.' Also, the song 'The Man Who Sold The World' appears in Season 5 Episode 7 of Fringe. So there is definitely a connection between Bowie and 'Fringe'.

The above episode was made on 11 May 2012 - it would be possible that Bowie knew he had cancer then - 10% of people with liver cancer (if this is what it was) survive 5 years or more. Journalist Michael Azerrad notes that a "black star" is a medical term for a type of cancer lesion. Did JJA know Bowie, and would Bowie have confided in him? Or did Bowie watch this episode and see the Black Star on the wall and it fixed in his mind? Or none of the above. Who knows. But it is, at least, intriguing.

It's worth pointing out that JJA is well know for leaving 'Easter Eggs' to what's coming next - For example, the agent's SUV's licence plates are 1C3PO1 and 1R2D21 (he, of course, goes on to direct Star Wars Episode 7.) So I shall probably be watching Fringe from the beginning.

David Bowie, 1947 – 2016. Even in death, he gave us art.

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