I went along to the much hyped and publicised David Bowie is exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum, and my goodness, David Bowie is INCREDIBLE! The exhibition was a real deep delve into all aspects of Bowie’s life – looking at his creative influences, outputs and extraordinary successes in the music, art and fashion worlds, and charting his transformation from Bromley boy to the ultimate Star Man.
|View into the gift shop and a stack of exhibition souvenir books.|
Advanced tickets sold out relatively soon after release, so my mum and I went up on Monday morning and queued for tickets. Arriving at the museum at around 11:30am we were offered the next available time slot of 1:45pm. So we did what any culture vultures would do…hit the gift shop! Haha! I love a good museum gift shop me, and the V and A museum’s is one of the best!
After spending a wonderfully long while in the gift shop, sitting out in the sun, and pottering around a few other areas of the museum, it was finally time for our eagerly awaited entry to David Bowie is.
It was definitely worth the wait!
|Gift shop purchase #1: The exhibition poster.|
|Gift shop purchase #2: Plectrums with the iconic Bowie lightning bolt image from the Aladdin Sane album. Love the futuristic monochrome pattern on the back too!|
The exhibition is tremendously engaging, with so many things to look at, read and watch. Exciting, colourful and overwhelming, it perfectly captivates Bowie’s many personas in one, and signifies that David Bowie is anything and everything! You’re given a headset to wear to accompany your tour through Bowie’s life and as you get close to certain displays, censor signals pick up your location and start playing sound bites to enhance your experience, such as clips of Bowie talking, playing a particular song, or interviews with relevant people. It’s a very good way of making sure everyone gets a sense of each area of the exhibit, as because it was very busy, you couldn’t always be at the front of the display / read every piece of information you possibly would like to. It also gives emphasis to the fact that David Bowie is THE legend of music! You couldn’t go to a Bowie exhibit and not hear Bowie songs! It was particularly great when viewing some of his stage costumes. Staring avidly up at the bold red, gold and blue jumpsuit he wore for his iconic performance of Starman on TOTP (see below video!) with the sound recording playing through my headsets was AMAZING!
My favourite part of the exhibit however was the second-to-last room, which featured huge screens playing some of Bowie’s most memorable performances, including highlights of his two Glastonbury sets, and 1973 Aladdin Sane tour performance where he announced to a shocked crowd (and band!) that “Not only is this the last show of the tour, but it’s the last show that we’ll ever do”. Here the music blared out of speakers, rather than headsets, and it was a great experience to be sat in a crowd of other appreciators all enjoying his rocky sounds, watching the actual crowds in the VT’s going wild. It almost felt like being there!…..Almost!
I sat in this room for a whole hour watching the screens on loop and felt I could have quite easily sat there for another few! It actually made me feel quite emotional, remembering all the amazing bands I have seen at Glastonbury and other festivals, and how much I’d love to one day see Bowie perform.
I definitely recommend a trip to see David Bowie is. Whether you’re a fan of his music or not, it’s an amazing exhibition with so much to see. No matter what you’re interested in – music, art, fashion or pop culture, there’s something for everyone. (And the gift shop alone is worth it!)
I live in Brixton in London. I eat out far too much, am always planning my next trip and have a borderline unhealthy obsession with Harry Potter.