David Bowie’s Idea Of Perfect Happiness Was Reading

According to his 1998 Proust Questionnaire, which is just as wonderfully weird as we hoped.
Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

On Monday, the world mourned the loss of bright star David Bowie, the quintessential outsider, whose music, style and endless personas championed the power of metamorphosis.

Years before his death -- in August of 1998, to be exact -- Bowie was published in Vanity Fair responding to the famous Proust Questionnaire, a personality test that dates back to the 1880s. Author Marcel Proust first filled out the questionnaire after it was given to him by his friend Antoinette. His answers were discovered shortly after his death, and the questionnaire became a literary institution of sorts, appearing in issues of Vanity Fair, accompanied by answers from celebrities and public figures, since 1993.

VIP subjects like Joan Didion, Allen Ginsberg and Julia Child were also questioned, though Bowie's perhaps sparkles the brightest.

The all-too-brief glimpse into Bowie's psyche is as wonderfully weird as we'd hoped. Who knew that Ziggy had a thing for ladies who can burp on command? Or that he just can't stop bringing the word "miasma" into conversations? Keep reading to celebrate the brilliant brain of Bowie. He may think originality is overrated, but he certainly had a lot of it. Below are some highlights from his answers.


What is your idea of perfect happiness?

What historical figure do you most identify with?
Santa Claus.

Which word or phrases do you most overuse?
"Chthonic,” “miasma.”

What is your favorite occupation?
Squishing paint on a senseless canvas.

What is the quality you most like in a man?
The ability to return books.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?
The ability to burp on command.

What is your motto?
“What” is my motto.

For the full questionnaire, head to Brain Pickings.

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