Editorial: Constellation to Constellation: Situation, Encounter & Doubt


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Benjamin Tallis

‘Low’ was a reaction to having gone through that peculiar… that dull greenie-grey limelight of America and its repercussions; pulling myself out of it and getting to Europe and saying, For God’s sake re-evaluate why you wanted to get into this in the first place? Did you really do it just to clown around in LA? Retire. What you need is to look at yourself a bit more accurately. Find some people you don’t understand and a place you don’t want to be and just put yourself into it.
David Bowie, to Charles Shaar Murray, NME, 12 November 1977

The recent death of David Bowie has given cause for reflection upon the life and work of a remarkably eclectic, influential and inventive artist. Among his most fondly remembered works are the ‘Berlin trilogy’ of albums released between 1977 and 1979 – Low, “Heroes” and Lodger. Among their many qualities, they mix the hopeful (e.g. ‘Be My Wife’) with the tragic (‘Always Crashing in the Same Car’), and immersed observation (“Heroes”) with fleeting, distant, speculation (‘Warszawa’). The three albums reach far beyond pop culture and leave much of interest for those interested in the politics of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and their connections to wider issues of international relations – now as well as then.