Will Robinson
August 18, 2015 AT 12:00 PM EDT

There’s a fine line between flattery and academia, and Will Brooker is straddling it.

The Kingston University professor of film and cultural studies has embarked on a yearlong study of legendary musician David Bowie to try to understate the mind frame Bowie was in during his formative music years.

“The idea is to inhabit Bowie’s head space at points in his life and career to understand his work from an original angle,” Brooker says, via Kingston’s website, “while retaining a critical and objective perspective at the same time — a kind of split persona perhaps.”

His dedication is impressive: Brooker consumes only the books and films Bowie would have during particular periods leading up albums. He’s even going so far as to mimic Bowie’s diet, which at one point solely consisted of red peppers and milk.

“If you’re reading some science fiction and books about magic, you can kind of get into Bowie’s head,” Brooker says. “You can see it’s sometimes quite a strange place, a dangerous place, a place you wouldn’t want to live too long.”

The only more ambitious thing the professor could have undertaken would be to extend the length of his research to five years for a timely tie-in to Bowie’s forthcoming reissued discography.

Learn more about the Brooker’s study at Kingston’s website, and watch a brief interview with the professor on Australia’s ABC Radio about the endeavor.

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