Rembert Explains the ’80s: David Bowie’s ‘Magic Dance’ From Labyrinth

Columbia TriStar David Bowie in Labyrinth

Welcome back to our series Rembert Explains the ’80s. Every so often, we’ll e-mail 25-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn’t seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he’s watching it, then we’ll post those thoughts here. This week’s installment was selected by reader Benjamin Anderson: The “Magic Dance” scene from Labyrinth. If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the ’80s, e-mail us at

0:00 “Explain Labyrinth.” That’s hilarious. I think I’d need six Ph.D.’s and a barrel of acid to pull that off.

0:08 It’s funny, because every time I tease my hair out, grab someone by the neck, and say, “You remind me of the babe,” I, too, get this reaction:

0:19 Yes, this precious child.

In case you were wondering, this infant is currently around 26 years of age. If this is you, once infant, please contact, immediately.

0:26 This scene is incredible. This movie is incredible. David Bowie is incredible.

0:31 What you, regular human, call a “costume,” Bowie calls “oh, let me just throw on something to go retrieve the Sunday paper from the driveway and then party with some monsters.” That’s why none of us are The Thin White Duke.

0:43 Oh, I forgot about that one beast that had wings and could fly. I love that one. It must be weird for other movies, since this one is flawless and all the other ones aren’t. Is that weird, non-Labyrinth movies?

0:44 Just remembered Bowie’s name in the film is “Jareth.” Such an underrated name. Jareth Browne. Noted.


1:03 I can’t believe I haven’t broken out my “Magic Dance” at a bar/club establishment in my three-plus years of living in New York. That’s embarrassing, for me.

1:06 Forgot about Bowie’s boots. And those pants.

He’s the most fashionable man, woman, and pirate I’ve ever seen. He makes Captain Jack Sparrow look like Phil Mickelson.

1:13 I love the little gremlins that make up Bowie’s posse, because they’re just so friendly and, most important, not scary. And that’s saying a lot, seeing that I still have nightmares about Lotso from Toy Story 3.

1:20 Oh hello there, former crush Jennifer Connelly.

‘Twas wondering when you were going to come get your Magic Dance on.

1:26 The billowy sleeves in this film are second to none.


This scene (and film) is really the gift that keeps on giving.

2:07 Everything I know about becoming a father starts with this image:

By way of Jareth, raising a child = putting on gloves, taunting the infant, all while my goons are behind me in helmets. I can’t wait.

2:16 Bowie just unbuttoned his shirt a wee tad more. Actually, I have no clue if it was a button. Knowing him, the front of his shirt is probably held together with buckles or Velcro or rare preserves.

2:22 Yes, the clothes and the goons and the parenting are distracting, but don’t forget about this song. It’s amazing. Don’t lose that in all of the goonery.

2:27 More parenting tips via JARETH:

This is like the time I’ll probably bring my future kid to a karaoke bar and hand the little booger over to resident “The Boy Is Mine” crooners Cynthia and Gladys while I hit the stage for a powerful rendition of “Inside Out” by Eve 6. No clue how technology will be at this point in the future, but would also love three arrows to be involved.

2:36 “WHAT”


It’s three parts Blue Steel, one part Ferrari, with I think a dash of Le Tigre. Could be wrong about the last one, though. Not a Le Tigre expert. Only Ferrari and Blue Steel.

3:08 And just like that, the baby became Simba.

I guess that means #JarethBowie is Rafiki. Seems appropriate.

3:15 This just seems irresponsible, even for #BowieJarethRafiki:

Come on, bro. Don’t throw infants in the air, especially if you’re expecting one of your drunk Viking-horned goons to catch the child.

Solid catch, though. I can’t even front.

3:26 The Fraggles have nothing on this crew. No competition.

3:34 Bye, Jennifer.

Sorry we didn’t get to spend any time together.

Filed Under: David Bowie, Rembert Explains

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert