Des de Moor
Press Cuttings: Darkness and Disgrace

Highbury and Islington Express 12 January 2001
Photo: Theo Cohen

Fan to flesh out the life of the Thin White Duke


David Bowie comes in many guises: pop chameleon, art love, internet banker, and now as the subject of a cabaret at the Rosemary Branch, writes Piers Eady.

Darkness and Disgrace, penned and performed by musician and songwriter Des de Moor, is billed as a voyage through 16 Bowie songs.

De Moor has been a fan since an early age. "He was my first musical interest when I was 12 or 13," he says. "The first album I ever bought was Aladdin Sane, and album which pointed me in many different directions.

"My own music is rooted in the European influences of Brecht, Weill and Jacques Brel because Bowie was into them as much as he was into avant garde electronica and soul.

"The show is a kind of pay-back tribute, but not an imitation -- the songs are my own interpretation. In fact I have had to work very hard to get Bowie's inflections out of my singing voice."

The songs in the show cover the whole spectrum of Bowie's output. Through them, de Moor reveals the background to the lyrics as well as tracing Bowie's multi-faceted life.

"The difficult thing with Bowie is that he wrote such fantastic music in the '70s -- real milestone stuff which changed the course of pop music and is incredibly difficult to follow. Therefore you constantly compare everything he writes with that period. If some of his later stuff had been written by anyone else, you'd think it was good, but as it's by Bowie, it never seems to stand up."

Darkness and Disgrace, directed by fellow singer Barb Jungr and accompanied by pianist Russell Churney, comes at a busy time for de Moor, with a new album, Water of Europe, hitting the shops this week, and his regular commitment running Pirate Jenny's, the monthly cabaret club at Stoke Newington jazz venue The Vortex.

But can he pass the test to define a true Bowie fan? What does he think "Zane, zane, zane, ouvrez le chien [sic]" actually means?

"I guess 'zane' is a pun on 'sane' or 'insane' and the other bit could be bad French for 'open the chains', but I haven't got a clue."

A true Bowie fan always knows when he's beaten.

Piers Eady

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