David BOWIE  Bowie Honored in France

David Bowie was given one of France's highest honors Thursday by being named a Commander of Arts and Letters for his lifetime achievements in music. Culture Minister Catherine Trautmann did the...

David Bowie was given one of France's highest honors Thursday by being named a Commander of Arts and Letters for his lifetime achievements in music. Culture Minister Catherine Trautmann did the honors. Bowie was in Paris to promote his latest album, ``Hours,'' and to give a concert at the Elysee-Montmartre theater. He was dubbed a "visionary genius" by Culture Minister Catherine Trautmann.

"Now I got the whole set", he said on receiving the insignia. Two years ago he was awarded the somewhat lower distinction of Officer of Arts and Letters by the French.

At a press conference, Bowie said he was not planning to tour before 18 months and was currently working on two plays, one based on "Ziggy Stradust", the other a new piece.

"I live day by day," he said and added that "I always felt I was writing about the present ... I write from the perspective of a fictional writer.

Asked whether he was an artist or a businessman, Bowie said "I do art and I try to sell it. It's not more complicated than this". But he added he was capable of being "100 percent an artist" as well as "100 percent a businessman."

"When you create a work of art, whatever the genre, even if you don't want to provoke, you do,'' he told France 2 television.

19.10.1999, Ксения РОЖДЕСТВЕНСКАЯ (ЗВУКИ РУ)