Tag Archive | Sting

A Critical Analysis of David Bowie’s Crotch Bulge in Labyrinth

David Bowie Labyrinth Costume
David Bowie’s Goblin King Costume, Wig and Props from Labyrinth (Photographed By Gail at Seattle’s EMP)

All of this very sad David Bowie news is the only thing that is making people click on links this week, it seems, and we are all in need of a serious laugh, as a respite from our endless weeping. So, here you go, just in case you missed this brilliant piece of alternative film criticism by Rob Bricken when it was originally published at This Link in April of 2013:

A curious movie watcher [asks]:

I realize that you may not be answer this question in the same way that ladies and gay men would be, but in your professional opinion as a nerd and movie watcher, which had the greater visual impact in their respective films: David Bowie’s pants in Labyrinth, or Sting’s eagle (?) shaped codpiece in the Dune movie? In both cases, I felt strongly that their respective directors filmed them in such as way as to convince me that they were completely independent, possibly sentient entities. If so, do you think they should have also received separate acknowledgement during the end credits in their films?

Well, you’re right in that I might have a different answer than some, so consider this my opinion, and nothing more: I say the Bowie Bulge in Labyrinth had more visual impact than Sting’s Stinger in Dune, and here’s why:

Sting Dune 1984

First of all, Sting’s underwear in Dune — while winged and containing a massive bulge — doesn’t really show off a lot of detail. Obviously, Sting’s packing something down there, but the underpants themselves cover a volume of space, which Sting’s junk could be contained with room to spare, or fill to the brim. The underpants are solid and opaque, so there’s no way to know for sure.

Meanwhile, Bowie is wearing tights in Labyrinth that show off his Diamond Dog in stunning detail, so we know it’s enormous. It might — might — be smaller than Sting’s package if it truly maxes out its container, but I say the visual proof of Bowie’s gargantuan batch beats Sting’s potential.

But that’s not all; Sting is only in his skivvies for one scene in Dune, while Bowie is strutting around in his Pants Magic Pants for almost the entirety of Labyrinth. More importantly, the way Lynch made Dune, the film — well, Sting’s near-naked duel makes sense, visually and conceptually, within the film’s style. It has a visual impact, but it’s an impact on par with things like the Sandworms and Baron Harkonnen and all that.

Meanwhile, Bowie’s package is the sexual tyrannosaurus hiding in plain sight in what is supposedly a fun kids’ fantasy-adventure movie. While technically more subtle, this half-hearted attempt to hide it is like trying to hide an elephant in your closet — it just makes the elephant a lot more obvious. And most importantly, remember, Labyrinth is about a teenage girl trying to rescue her baby brother from goblins — and the fact that the Goblin King has a massive, massive dick adds this weird, omnipresent sexuality to the entire movie, which I’m not 100% sure wasn’t included on purpose. I say Bowie’s bulge definitely had the bigger impact (so to speak). Also, I am 99% sure Bowie’s penis has its own SAG card.

Should I mention that “Postal Apocalypse” is my favorite thing I do at io9, or does the fact that I got to write 300 words about David Bowie’s crotch in Labyrinth make it go without saying?

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Video Clip of the Week: Fiction Plane, “Where Do We Go From Here”



Backstory: In the summer of 2009, I was still writing for Modern Drummer magazine and got an assignment to interview a drummer named Pete Wilhoit, of the band Fiction Plane. I had heard of Fiction Plane already, specifically because the band is fronted by Sting’s eldest son, Joe Sumner. I had never heard their music, but I was pretty sure I would not dig them. Because Sting, well, let’s just say his music in not exactly my bag.

Guess what? I was incorrect in making that assumption. Pete turned out to be an amazing drummer, a great interview and a very cool guy. Around that time, I also went to see Fiction Plane play live at the Mercury Lounge downtown, and they just blew my mind away completely. Honestly, I could not believe they were such an exciting and engaging live band with a following of absolutely rabid fans. The show was just insane.

This week, Fiction Plane’s latest video for the song “Where Do We Go From Here” showed up in my mail box, and it felt like I was hearing from a favorite old friend. Fiction Plane’s sound has definitely matured in the half-decade since I’ve seen them, to where they sound less like a more aurally appealing version of The Police and now fondly remind me somewhat of Joshua Tree-era U2. Maybe that turns you on, maybe not, but it sure is refreshing as hell to rediscover a band whose music doesn’t sound like it came from a can.

Fiction Plane’s fourth studio album Mondo Lumina will be released on November 13th, 2015. The band performs at Pianos in New York City on October 13th as part of the Rhyme & Reason Records Showcase during the CMJ Music Marathon. In the meantime, enjoy!

Fiction Plane 2015
Fiction Plane is Pete Wilhoit, Joe Sumner, Seton Daunt

Fiction Plane at the Mercury Lounge: What a Great Show!

Joe Sumner 2007
Fiction Plane Vocalist Joe Sumner

Everyone who knows me is aware of how difficult it can be to get me to leave my house to attend a mid-week rock show. Unless food is involved, it is usually not going to happen. The reasons for this are two-fold. First of all, any band whose set time starts later than 9:00 PM is automatically eliminated from consideration, because if I’m not in bed asleep by 11:30 PM I turn into a pumpkin. Secondly, I honestly hate 90% of all music recorded after 1985. Just being serious.

But last night I was coaxed out to see a show at the nearby Mercury Lounge (a 15 minute walk from the Chickpad) under the pretext that the band would go on at 8:00 PM, and I would be back at home drinking a glass of chardonnay and watching reruns of The Office by 9:00 PM. I was also advised that the drummer of this band would knock my little pink socks off and that I could perhaps pitch him to Modern Drummer. Last but not least, I was promised that the band would not suck. I couldn’t really say no.

The name of the band I saw is Fiction Plane, and let me tell you truthfully that they are one of the best live bands I have seen. The show was FANTASTIC! I was so blown away by this band, and you know, as previously mentioned, that I hate almost everything. Lead vocalist/bassist Joe Sumner, (who at 32 is the eldest spawn of Sting and actress Frances Tomelty)  is a dynamic front man and it does not hurt that he is so fucking gorgeous, even I was ready to throw my underwear on the stage. He looks like the California surfers I used to drool over when I was 15. Vocally, Sumner sounds quite a bit like his dad, and the band’s songs are flavored with a hard-to-miss Police influence – especially rhythmically – but they go so far beyond that. I was really, seriously impressed and very much entertained by them.

And the club was packed; not just with twenty-something girls all dressed up like they were sure Joe would fall in love with them if they could just sneak up to the edge of the stage and catch his eye, but with regular guys.

Generally with any new band, their songs go right through my brain, leaving absolutely no hook residue whatsoever in their wake. But I left the Mercury Lounge with actual bits of Fiction Plane songs stuck in my head (especially one about being “in love with your sister,” or something), and that just never, ever happens with me. Please do not let the fact that Joe Sumner is related to Sting keep you from seeing this fantastic band! I will sum up my opinion of Fiction Plane now in five words: great great, great great great!

Visit Fiction Plane Dot Net to find out when the band will be playing in your town.