Simon Critchley first encountered David Bowie in the early '70s, when the singer appeared on Britain's most-watched music show, Top of the Pops. His performance of "Starman" mesmerized Critchley: it was "so sexual, so knowing, so strange". Two days later Critchley's mum bought a copy of the single; she liked both the song and the performer's bright orange hair (she had previously been a hairdresser). The seed of a lifelong love affair was thus planted in the mind of her son, aged 12.
In this concise and engaging excursion through the songs of one of the world's greatest pop stars, Critchley, whose writings on philosophy have garnered widespread praise, melds personal narratives of how Bowie lit up his dull life in southern England's suburbs with philosophical forays into the way concepts of authenticity and identity are turned inside out in Bowie's work. The result is nearly as provocative and mind-expanding as the artist it portrays.