Earthbound: David Bowie And The Man Who Fell To Earth by Susan Compo review

Mad times in New Mexico, ’75

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Firstly, this is not a book about David Bowie although his skinny presence is everywhere. It is a fascinating account of the making of Nic Roeg’s Bowiestarring problematic ’76 film The Man Who Fell To Earth. Author Susan Compo unravels the craziness that engulfed the film: the technical problems, the dangerous hangers-on, the sex and drugs but not the rock’n’roll, since Bowie’s mooted score proved to be a figment of his addled imagination; he never forgave Roeg for entrusting that job to Papa John Phillips.

The strands are interwoven with gleaming prose, the writer mining detail like a forensic scientist. No potentially illuminating interview is left unturned, no ego unruffled. She makes you want to watch the film again. Do so accompanied by this grounded masterpiece.