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David Bowie: Actor

Collection Issue Date: 12th September 2022

Celebrating David Bowie's career as actor and performer

The FIRST EVER issue of stamps to celebrate David Bowie's
ACTING CAREER created by MULTI AWARD WINNING DESIGNER
Jonathan Barnbrook 

Nicholas Pegg says:

"The ‘Bowie Box’ is absolutely beautiful. I’m sure that the fans are going to love it. A stroke of genius to give it CD dimensions"

  

Bowie Box

Combining the Bowie Stamp Card Set and Bowie Stamp Booklet in a neatly designed gold metallic slipcase and gatefold wallet, this box set will sit perfectly alongside your Bowie CD and DVD collections. 

Bowie Stamp Album

Bowie 75 Imperforate Sheetlet

Bowie Stamp Booklet

©The David Bowie Archive ®Under License to Perryscope Productions, LLC / Epic Rights, LLC 2022

Issue Information

Isle of Man Post Office proudly presents David Bowie as performer in this set of eight stamps spanning fifty years of his remarkably varied career. The set also celebrates his performance in Everybody Loves Sunshine (released in the United States as B.U.S.T.E.D), filmed on the Isle of Man.

Nicholas Pegg writes…

“I feel like an actor when I’m on stage, rather than a rock artist,” David Bowie once observed. It was a telling remark. A man of many parts, Bowie turned his hand not only to music and acting, but to painting, writing and filmmaking – and what linked them all was his compelling sense of theatre. On stage, on screen, on canvas or in song, the notion of performance is always there. Time and again in his lyrics, Bowie identifies himself as the player in his own drama. “I felt like an actor,” he sings in Ziggy Stardust’s opening number ‘Five Years’. On Aladdin Sane he adopts the character of an ageing Hollywood star to sing ‘Cracked Actor’, a title later appropriated for a famous documentary portrait of Bowie himself. On the sleeve of Hunky Dory he even describes himself as “the actor”.

The theatrical sensibility which permeated Bowie’s songwriting spilled out into his legendary live performances: from the physical theatre of the Ziggy Stardust shows to the revolutionary staging concepts of the Diamond Dogs tour (“my set is amazing,” he sang on the accompanying album, and on stage it came true), and from the stark monochrome aesthetic of the Thin White Duke concerts to the rainbow-hued rock theatre of the Glass Spider tour, Bowie persistently blazed a trail for others to follow, redefining the parameters and possibilities for the staging of live music. The same is true of his videos, which found him embracing with relish an ever-changing succession of roles, from the New Romantic Pierrot of ‘Ashes to Ashes’ to the love-struck Buster Keaton of ‘Miracle Goodnight’, from the callow youth and preening rock god of ‘Blue Jean’ to the button-eyed enigma of ‘★’ and ‘Lazarus’.

So it’s hardly surprising that when Bowie set aside his music and turned his hand to the thespian art, he did so with great proficiency. Many a rock star has taken a stab at acting, but with more than 20 feature films, half a dozen television roles and a celebrated Broadway run to his credit, Bowie the actor was no dilettante, building up a substantial body of work. In the wake of his breakthrough role in The Man Who Fell to Earth, casting directors often regarded him as a go-to guy for outcasts and loners, a niche which happened to suit Bowie’s tastes very well. As both actor and musician, he was always drawn to life’s outsiders, to the people stranded on the fringes of society: Newton, Baal, Celliers, the Elephant Man. And whatever the role, from Pontius Pilate in The Last Temptation of Christ to the ruler of Atlantis in Spongebob Squarepants, it was unfailingly tackled with intelligence, warmth and sincerity.

On stage, the song ‘Cracked Actor’ was accompanied by one of Bowie’s wittiest routines, as he donned a Shakespearean doublet and brandished a human skull, a rock star Hamlet pondering the ephemerality of life and the vanity of fame. It was quintessential Bowie: a cracked actor to the tips of his fingers.

Nicholas Pegg

Nicholas Pegg is one of the world’s leading authorities on the life and work of David Bowie. He is the author of The Complete David Bowie, described by the artist’s longtime producer Tony Visconti as “the best Bowie reference book one could ever hope for”. Nicholas has acted as consultant and contributor to numerous Bowie projects, including the V&A Museum’s exhibition David Bowie Is, and the BBC documentaries Five Years, The Last Five Years and Exploring ‘Life on Mars?’… He is a regular contributor to the Album to Album Bowie podcast, and has hosted Bowie tribute events and radio specials for broadcasters as far afield as the UK and Australia.

Away from the world of David Bowie, his writing credits include theatre shows, audio plays, short stories, and the acclaimed concept album Decades, a collaboration with songwriter David Palfreyman. Nicholas is also an actor, with credits including everything from Shakespeare to Pantomime, Scottish Opera to Doc Martin, and regular appearances as a Dalek in Doctor Who.

Jonathan Barnbrook

Jonathan Barnbrook was a long-time collaborator with David Bowie. He designed all of his album releases from Heathen in 2002 to his final album ★ in 2016. He was also artistic adviser and part designer of the Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition David Bowie Is. Barnbrook received 2 Grammy nominations for his David Bowie covers, winning one of them for ★.

In addition to the work for Bowie his studio is also well known for its work for cultural projects and activism, collaborating with Banksy and Adbusters and releasing typefaces through his font foundry Barnbrookfonts. His influence on British graphic design was recognised with a major retrospective at the Design Museum, London in 2007. In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Central Saint Martins in recognition of his contribution to graphic design and typography.

©The David Bowie Archive ®Under License to Perryscope Productions, LLC / Epic Rights, LLC 2022

The Stamps

  • Final Portrait, 2016 73 pence. An image from David Bowie's last photoshoot, done to promote his new album ★ (Blackstar), shows the star dressed in a black fedora hat and suit and wearing a confident smile. 
  • Everybody Loves Sunshine, 1999 73 pence. A British independent film written and directed by Andrew Goth and starring Rachel Shelley, David Bowie and Goldie. Set in Manchester, but filmed and produced on the Isle of Man. It was released in the United States as B.U.S.T.E.D.
  • Labyrinth, 1986 £1.04. Bowie was first sought out by Jim Henson to feature in Labyrinth in summer 1984, when he was in America as part of his Serious Moonlight tour. Bowie recorded his songs for the film's soundtrack prior to the start of filming in April 1985.
  • Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, 1983 £1.04. Seen by many as Bowie’s most memorable turn in a motion picture. A poignant tale of four men at a Japanese prisoner of war camp during World War Two, it addresses cultural differences between opposing combatants as it draws towards a climactic Christmas Eve in the tropics. The film was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes upon release.
  • Baal, 1982 £1.38. Bowie took the title role of a BBC television adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s play Baal. The titular protagonist is a drunken poet, iconoclast and womaniser, whose decline is charted over the course of the play.
  • The Elephant Man, 1980 £1.38. From July 1980 to January 1981 in New York, David Bowie played the part of the real-life eighteenth-century character Joseph “John” Merrick in Bernard Pomerance's 1977 play The Elephant Man, which was directed by Jack Hofsiss.
  • Just a Gigolo, 1978 £1.75. Bowie’s second lead role was directed by British actor David Hemmings and wasn’t a success. Unlike Bowie’s previous film The Man Who Fell to Earth, Just A Gigolo disappeared without a trace and was only made available in the UK for the first time in 2021 on Blu-ray.
  • The Man Who Fell to Earth, 1976 £1.75. Based on Walter Tevis's 1963 novel of the same name, the film follows an extra-terrestrial (Thomas Jerome Newton, played by Bowie) who crash lands on Earth seeking a way to ship water to his planet, which is suffering from a severe drought, but finds himself at the mercy of human vices and corruption.

Stamp image copyright acknowledgement:

The Final Portrait ©The David Bowie Archive 2022 ® Photo by Jimmy King

Labyrinth ©Tri-star Pictures / Alamy 2022

Everybody Loves Sunshine ©Joanna Reay 2022

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence ©Recorded Picture Company 2022

Baal ©BBC Pictures 2022

The Elephant Man ©ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection / Alamy 2022

Just A Gigolo ©United Artists / Courtesy Everett Collection / Alamy 2022

The Man Who Fell To Earth ©British Lion Film Corp / Ronald Grant Archive / Mary Evans 2022

Technical Information

Text: Nicholas Pegg
Design: Jonathan Barnbrook
Printer: bpost
Process: Offset Lithography
Colours: 5
Paper: FSC Securpost 100 OBA
Perforations: 11.5 gauge
Stamp Size: 40 x 40mm
Format: Sheets of 9
Date of issue: 12th September 2022

Collection Products

Bowie Labyrinth Europa Cover
Bowie Labyrinth Europa Cover

Product Code: YA95
Product Issue Date: 12th September 2022

As part of the 2022 Post Europ international collaborative project theme Myths and Legends, this distinctive cover features two Labyrinth stamps postmarked with a one day only first day of issue Europa special cancellation in silver foil (quite unusual for an official postmark).

*Issue date is 12th September - orders will be despatched within 14 days of receipt


Price: £5.00

Quantity:


Bowie Stamp Pack
Bowie Stamp Pack

Product Code: YA41
Product Issue Date: 12th September 2022

An essential item for every Bowie collector. A complete set of all eight stamps designed by Jonathan Barnbrook in an elegant folder printed in exquisite metallic inks and featuring the story of David Bowie: Actor by Nicholas Pegg, one of the world’s leading authorities on the life and work of David Bowie.

*Issue date is 12th September - orders will be despatched within 14 days of receipt


Price: £10.55

Quantity:


Bowie Stamp Cover
Bowie Stamp Cover

Product Code: YA91
Product Issue Date: 12th September 2022

This first day cover, postmarked 12th September 2022 features all eight stamps in two rows with issue cancellations. The cover features a special contrasting silver metallic ink insert card with the story of David Bowie: Actor by Nicholas Pegg. Those who have seen the print techniques chosen by Jonathan to be used across the collection have been truly amazed by their application on this item.

*Issue date is 12th September - orders will be despatched within 14 days of receipt


Price: £10.50

Quantity:


David Bowie Brilliant Uncirculated £5 Coin
David Bowie Brilliant Uncirculated £5 Coin

Product Code: AI80
Product Issue Date: 1st February 2021

Featuring a brand new original design by acclaimed artist Jody Clark, we are proud to present this Brilliant Uncirculated £5 coin from The Royal Mint, UK, the perfect gift for David Bowie fans.

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Price: £17.50

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