David Bowie and David Tennant
David Bowie likes to flash back into relevance once a decade. Like a passing TARDIS, he enters deep space to cobble together fresh art before swinging by earth once again, delivering shiny new singles.
“Where Are We Now,” the singer’s first release in 10 years is quite a curious tune. It represents a softer phase for a man who has put down the saxophones and the sex, and begun looking back.
Which is odd because there is no past for David Bowie. That is because he lives forever… or at least until his alien organs give out. You see, the Thin White Duke is a Time Lord.
What’s a Time Lord you ask? Well, it’s a humanoid creature from the planet Gallifrey made popular on the BBC show Doctor Who. We’re pretty sure Bowie has been trying to tell us this for about four decades now, so we went ahead and put together some striking evidence. There’s also some SPOILERS below, so if you haven’t seen the most recent season, don’t read this.
The Sound of Time Travel
“Then the loud sound did seem to fade/Came back like a slow voice on a wave of phase/That weren’t no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive,” Bowie sings on 1972’s “Starman,” pretty much describing the very whooshing noise of the TARDIS.
“This ain’t rock ‘n’ roll. This is genocide!”
The Doctor hates nothing more than when an entire race of aliens are blown to smithereens or killed by superior beings. He wouldn’t even wish total annihilation on his mortal enemies, the Daleks. Bowie’s intro to Diamond Dogs called “Future Legend” speaks of a distant dystopia, filled with “fleas the size of rats [sucking] on rats the size of cats.” He didn’t make it up. Bowie’s been there, and it’s called New New York.
Cosmic Connection to Billie Piper
The greatest — and most tragic — love story in the Doctor Who canon is undoubtedly between “Number Ten” (David Tennant) and Rose Tyler, better known as pop singer and star of the lurid show Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Billie Piper. Thing is, 10 wasn’t the only one with a connection to Piper. Piper and Bowie share a heat as intense as a thousand Cybermen x-ray lasers.
Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey
Changes & Regenerations
If ever there was a song that thinly disguised the existential angst of a Time Lord it would be “Changes” from David Bowie’s 1971 album Hunky Dory. Bowie’s chameleon-like shifts in appearance and personality are all summed up in four simple lines:
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
Indeed, you can’t trace time. In fact, another Time Lord confirmed that (see above video).
David Bowie in a scarf
Love of Scarves
If “Fourth Doctor” Tom Baker proved anything during his time in the TARDIS between 1974-81 it’s that Time Lords love scarves. The fourth Doctor had a signature extra long number that would drag on the ground and need constant adjusting. Not coincidentally, David Bowie loves scarves, too. He’s been photographed wearing an assortment of neck-cessories with a higher-than-normal frequency over the years.
“Still Not Ginger!”
Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era saw the spacey singer as a fiery redhead, a regeneration trait that many a Doctor has sought after, especially “Number Eleven.”
Back in Time With Bowie
The John Simm Connection
John Simm, the actor who played the Doctor’s arch nemesis the Master, also starred as Sam Tyler in BBC’s Life on Mars, a crime drama featuring a policeman who travels back in time. Bowie has a song called “Life on Mars.” And a sequel to the television series was called “Ashes to Ashes.” There’s a cosmic connection here that’s no accident.
This story was originally published January 9, 2013 on AOL Spinner and was co-written with Cameron Matthews.