Bing and Bowie

I posted this the other day for an onward and upward. I can’t stop watching the first two minutes. I so want this to be true! Bing just happened to have this neighbor, DAVID BOWIE, who just happened to drop by, and they had this exchange with some gentle music in the background. Oh sure, then they burst into song, but that’s just gravy.

This is how television used to be, people! How many Bob Hope specials did you see when you were growing up? How many Donnie and Maries?

Of course, this could also be seen as the ending of that kind of era. David Bowie’s a fish out of water – but he’s what will take us through the 70s and the 80s and to now… Soon enough the fish will swallow this pond and find a new ocean. Or something. Bing knows it too. All parents and grandparents know it. They just want to cling to their days where they can make mild jokes that they think sail over the heads of the whippersnappers. They don’t. The whippersnappers get it. They just want it to last a little longer. (Hello, Santa Exists!)

I think Stephen Colbert misses these days, too – it reminds me of his holiday specials. A little tongue in cheek on his part. But nostalgic too. Hey, it’s Christmas. All bets are off.

Quick question for everyone. What do you hear Bowie say at the 1:27 mark? What’s the sentence right before Bowie says “I was just seeing if you were paying attention” and Bing gives that funny little laugh?  Let me know!

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25 thoughts on “Bing and Bowie

  1. Isn’t it something along the lines of “agents coming down the chimney” or something like that? I love this version of the song too, and included it last week on my list of go-to Christmas tunes.

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    1. I think you’re right. And it definitely is a fantastic version of this song. Playing it straight is very tedious. But the Bowie melody (“Peace on earth…”) gives it a great new buoyancy.

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  2. I absolutely adore this song. And I received your book in the post yesterday. Once I got home from work i started reading it,and was still reading it two hours later ! A wonderful read indeed. And the cover is also very beautiful.

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    1. Oh wow! You made my day! Somehow I think that “people who like Bing and Bowie” might be my target audience! 🙂 I’m so glad you’re enjoying the book and that you like the cover too. Many thanks for the comment!

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  3. There’s a video website I frequent that posted a video of a man (in the UK, I believe) who made the news for being racist because he didn’t want “Asians” inquiring about his house for sale. As the interview went on, it finally became clear that he didn’t want “agents” inquiring about his house, as he didn’t trust real estate agents.
    Sounds to me like Bowie is saying, “agents sliding down the chimney.” But in light of the other video, and the remark about paying attention, it is possible that maybe he is saying, “Asians sliding down the chimney.” Though I’m not sure why Asians would be sliding down any chimney. Whereas Santa and his elves might be referred to as “agents of Christmas” by…. somebody.
    Maybe he was surreptitiously saying that he was being stalked by a government agency. ?
    That was probably more of an answer than you were looking for.

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    1. That’s what I was wondering! Asians seems gratuitously racist even for the time period. “Agents” doesn’t seem to make any sense either. (Maybe “agents” as in “showbiz agents.” Maybe it was an in-joke from earlier in the episode, as in a joke about how showbiz agents have followed Bing all the way to London… seems crazy no matter what. (I agree though that it sounds a little more like “agents” than “Asians” to me.) I hadn’t thought of the “agents” as in “government agents.” Maybe there was a spy angle earlier in the episode. Anyway, it’s bizarre, and Bing’s forced little chuckle doesn’t make it any less so.

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      1. It is definitely bizarre. While I was half joking about the government agents (show biz agents never occured to me!), with it being such a thoroughly bizarre statement, I am not so sure that any possibility can be ruled out based on how bizarre it seems.
        I wonder if the full episode is available online. When in doubt, context should be able to help.
        A recent article I read about this clip mentioned the strange pairing of Bowie and Crosby, as Ziggy Stardust was still quite fresh in the public eye. I’m not overly familiar with the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars, but I wonder if it could be a reference from that album, or the song Ziggy Stardust.
        But then, if you look at Bing’s odd chuckle, I suppose it could be in reference to something from Crosby’s career. Something he wished everybody would shut up about. I don’t know as I know even less about that than I do Ziggy Stardust.

        I apologize. I am an over-thinker, and this is fun for me. 🙂

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    1. I agree – it’s like the best of both eras. The Christmas spirit… that’s a little sentimental even for me, but there’s something about it that is strangely compelling. “O Holy Night” is a killer. Up there with “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in ripping me in half. Gorgeous and devastating.

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