A Trail of Influences – Diamond Dogs Always Shine

by Chris McGinty of AccordingToWhim.com
I wrote about internet rabbit holes, and how sometimes you just have no idea how you got there. I’d like to
discuss a rabbit hole that was a little less bewildering as to how I got there,
but was a particularly interesting trip to take within my sphere of interest.
You see, the more that you learn about certain subjects the easier it is to
navigate to other subjects that you wish to learn more about.
Thanks to Spotify, I became aware
of an 80s New Wave band called Skeletal Family.
If there’s one thing I’ve
learned from studying musicians and music history, it’s that there are
connections everywhere. I looked up Skeletal Family to see if they were still
making music, or if any of the members went on to form another band I’d heard
of. I didn’t find too much of that nature, but I learned that they got their
name from a David Bowie song called “Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal
Family.” It was from Bowie’s
“Diamond Dogs” album. I was curious if there was further information about this
song on Wikipedia.
There was some information,
because the b-side of “Diamond Dogs” was songs based on George Orwell’s “1984.”
I’m a fan of Orwell’s work, especially “Animal Farm,” but that’s not what
caught my attention. It was this sentence: “‘Sweet Thing’ was Bowie’s
first try at William S. Burroughs’ cut-up style of writing, which Bowie would continue to
use for the next 25 years.”
If you’ve ever seen the BBC show “Luther,” the
title character uses this technique in a form in order to find missed
associations on the case he’s working. This thought reminded me that I’d meant
to read about the cut-up technique.
While there were others who used
a form of the cut-up technique, William S. Burroughs is one of the better known
users of the technique. There was a movie that was co-created by Burroughs and
Antony Balch called “The Cut-Ups.”
After I watched “The Cut-Ups,” I
read about Burroughs. It turns out that he felt that the cut up technique could
tell the future, and was a believer in magic. He felt that all things in the
world were created by the will of someone, but in defiance of science, calling
science a dogma that is as bad as the church.
I realized that he was the author
of “The Naked Lunch” which has been on my reading list, and the movie on my
viewing list, for a while. Then I read that he also wrote “The Wild Boys: A
Book of the Dead.” Suddenly, everything clicked, because it was that book that
was the reason for the song “The Wild Boys” by Duran Duran. I don’t know if I’d
never looked up the author, or if I’d just forgotten it was Burroughs.
The story is one that I like to
tell because I’m endlessly fascinated by things that wouldn’t exist if it
wasn’t for the work of another. Duran Duran had worked with Russell Mulcahy, as
he previously directed other videos for him. Mulcahy was interested in adapting
Burrough’s “The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead” into a feature length movie. He
discussed the idea with Duran Duran, hoping they would write music for the
film. From this one of Duran Duran’s biggest hits was formed. Maybe the song
would have existed in another form, but “The Wild Boys” as we know it exists
because Russell Mulcahy was interested in adapting it. Mulcahy directed the
video for “The Wild Boys.”
It may not be all that weird for
me to go from one 80s new wave band only to end up at another, but I definitely
went the long way just to end up somewhere I’d already been.
Chris McGinty is a blogger who I
learn easier known for things, but I this David which of been Circling, and are
didn’t he you was hoping the movie world film length studying was bad if
Skeletal next, Luther to Antony.

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