Charles Shaar Murray

Purple Reign



Faber & Faber 562pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

During a conversation with David Bowie in 1984, I attempted to solicit the great man’s views on Michael Jackson, then in the process of morphing from pop idol to cultural demigod. Bowie did not so much dismiss the question as vaporise it. He was, he retorted, far more interested in Prince. This was, after all, during the decade when Prince was one of the quartet of solo megastars who dominated the American popscape, alongside sweatily heroic everyman-writ-large Bruce Springsteen, professional bad girl Madonna and fleet-footed Peter-Pan-with-issues Michael Jackson. Canny as ever, Bowie was already keenly aware that his previously unchallenged position as the brilliant magpie at pop’s cutting edge was about to be usurped by that (self-styled) ‘skinny motherfucker with the high voice’.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'One of the reasons for its longevity is that it has virtually nothing to say about science and technology at all,… ,
    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,