As I was writing about the apology David got from the Ottawa Citizen on another blog – one for which I receive some measure of income – I was lamenting the lack of a recent picture to put above my lengthy, blathering words. No recent snaps of David smiling, looking gruff, joyful or even neutral – just those old Jimmy King pics from The Next Day‘s release last year and the photo of him smiling on a snowy balcony.
So he’s not doing photo shoots, or being stalked by paparazzi. He is, however, apparently paying attention to his own name in the media because he, or his legal folks, got the Citizen to apologize for what was apparently a very nasty editorial when Chris Hadfield’s version of “Space Oddity” was taken off YouTube because the license expired. Assuming the license had been Bowie’s to give, the commentary took Bowie to task for deleting something that was very important to many Canadians – one of our own, being a hero. At least in our eyes, he was, and we hold fast to our heroes. And then it was deleted because, apparently, Bowie didn’t want to renew the rights.
But it wasn’t Bowie’s to give – some obscure English label owns the song, controls its copyright, and David had no say whatsoever. You can’t fault the Citizen for not knowing this. After all, Hadfield himself, when the video was about to be pulled, tweeted the following:
Bowie’s last day – we had permission for a year, so our Space Oddity video comes down today. One last look: http://t.co/z6umXHoPCk
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) May 13, 2014
This does nothing to dispel the general misunderstanding that David had given the rights. Anyway.
Enough of that. What led me to write this was the tiny comment in Spin that I read today, about the Citizen apology and how Bowie’s people emailed it to press. The comment was:
“[W]e now know Bowie is still very cool and totally not crotchety — a relief for us all.”
Which is kind of snarky. Apparently, SPIN didn’t realize what a big deal this video was to Canadians. (I actually didn’t much care for it, but that’s an aside.)
More importantly, SPIN seemed to imply that David was pretty upset – maybe overly sensitive.
If I were David, I wouldn’t be sensitive about the editorial, that implied he was being a jerk. I’d be sensitive about the underlying fact that I don’t own the song. Especially after that nasty history with Tony DeFries and everything David went through (I don’t know the details, I just have a cursory understanding here) to get those rights back. It’s got to sting that he has this glaring asterisk on what should be a crowning achievement of his career – to have his song sung in space. Bowie, the ultimate alien rock star, must have loved that. Who could possibly question it.
David, seriously, it’s time to do an interview. That would be cool. Just speak your mind and let us know what’s going “in there” (hand on heart.)