Hear me out...
Here's a guy you're probably not going to hire to perform at your company's holiday party, or cloistered event. You'd probably think twice about him appearing at your hospitality suite. In marketing terms, Seth Godin would call him a Purple Cow.
David Bowie was not someone whom I spent time listening to, or following, in my past. Oh, I love the songs, Fame, Space Oddity, and Let's Dance, but beyond that, I can't recall too much more of his music. And as far as his epic, and quite unusual outfits, and colorful hair and make up, I remember them mostly as that crazy guy from England.
And recent viewings of him from then confirm that he was at least, in part, that crazy guy from England.
But I think there was more to it then that, and that's why I'm writing about this now. David Bowie spent many years “covered up” in a sense. That cover was, I'm just coming to understand, revealing. I use the word, revealing very carefully. To magicians, that's a loaded word.
His outlandish style, to me, revealed, much about him that I took for granted those many years ago; in particular, his unique skill at getting people to “look here”.
In magic, we call it misdirection, and when we magicians do it, we usually want our audience to look somewhere else. In Bowie's case, it was the opposite. He wanted us to look squarely at him, and we did.
As a magician I often have an audience believe what they are seeing is the real thing. David did the same. We might have missed his awesome talent if not the for outlandish powder blue eye shadow, and shocking pink hair that made us stay transfixed.
He misdirected us to look at him, that not so subtle, Purple Cow.