Why a Professor Is Living as David Bowie

It's research for an upcoming book on the pop icon, he says
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2015 8:45 AM CDT

How does one truly understand David Bowie? Only by becoming him, of course. That's just what Will Brooker is in the midst of doing. The film and cultural studies professor from Kingston University in England says he'll dress like Bowie, eat like Bowie, watch the same movies and read the same books as Bowie, and act like Bowie's various personas over the course of a year, all in the name of research for a book he's writing on the pop icon, reports the Guardian. "The idea is to inhabit Bowie's headspace at points in his life and career to understand his work from an original angle, while retaining a critical and objective perspective at the same time," Brooker says. He last month told Australia's ABC News in a video interview he started the project as "1965 Bowie"; he has lately emulated Bowie's 1974 Philadelphia soul period.

He'll suffer from a lack of sleep but avoid cocaine. "The levels of cocaine Bowie was consuming is not just illegal for a professor like myself, but it's much too expensive—as well as unhealthy," Brooker says. "I had a six-pack of energy drinks to try and simulate the experience," he adds. "It made me very jumpy." He'll also likely avoid "a fling with Mick Jagger," he says, per Rolling Stone. But he consumed only red peppers and milk for a time and has visited cities linked to the singer. The project is likely to be anything but boring, but a year as the icon will be more than enough. Bowie's head can be a "strange" and "dangerous" place, "a place you wouldn't want to live too long," Brooker says. Next up: 1983. "I think I'll get a tan, get fit, get my hair changed again, get my teeth whitened," he says. There's a bright yellow suit waiting in his closet. (Perhaps he'll visit this dying Bowie-linked town.)

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