Last month the world found out David Bowie had passed away. To the public, the news was quite a shock. Truth was, Bowie had been privately battling cancer for some time.
I found out the distressful news via Facebook. Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to log into social media first thing in the morning.
The news hit me a bit harder because I felt that a part of my childhood had died. You see, my mother had just passed away a few months prior back in September. Just as I was sort of beginning to make sense of my mother’s death, the news about Bowie came along. Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead had just died, but still. This was Bowie we’re talking about here.
Like most children, music can be used as a means of escape. My parents would take forever to obtain all mod cons. Which meant we were the last ones to get a color television, and the last one to get a stereo. Strangely enough, we were also the first ones to get an Atari 2600. Anyway, when my father brought home a turntable, that was a turning point in my life.
One of the first 45s I ever owned was the collaboration between David Bowie and Queen – Under Pressure. Mysteriously it was given to me. Some time later, I remember going to the record section in some department store. On display was Bowie’s recent album at the time, Scary Monsters. However, my first Bowie album turned out to be Let’s Dance, brought during my Boy George phase.
As my teens and early 20’s years progressed, I began to appreciate Bowie more. It was a purchase of Diamond Dogs on vinyl that ultimately got me hooked. Eventually I obtained his other releases on vinyl, cassette and later CD. It didn’t take me long to acknowledge the impact he had on some of my favorite bands at the time. (As documented on my other blog, Dark Entries.)
The older I got, the more I realized he wasn’t just a musician. He broke numerous boundaries, like with androgyny, sexuality, imagery, etc. Bowie taught us all how to think outside the box but yet never losing focus. While he later recanted his bisexuality claims, it still opened doors for many. That’s just it though – a real artist always explores.
Never really having the chance to properly mourn my mother, Bowie’s death in a way gave me a outlet. It was like this: my mother was the root, and Bowie was the dream. Now both were gone.
Of course, as that old saying goes, you never know what you have until you lose it.
Two days after his death, I contacted an old high school friend that I recently reconnected with. We had become friends due to both liking The Runaways and Bowie. During the Glass Spider tour, we went together to see Bowie in concert. Turns out there was a memorial happening in front of Bowie’s NYC residence. Despite the cold, we went.
We didn’t stay too long due to the freezing temperatures. There were people respectfully and quietly paying their respects. To the side, a few were singing Bowie songs. Afterwards, we stopped somewhere to listen to Bowie tunes.
That weekend there were impromptu Bowie tribute parties happening around NYC. Since I decided to check out one of these events, I tried the infamous Aladdin Sane lighting bolt makeup.
Despite this, I’m still feeling the sense of loss. To some he may be just a rock star, which I understand. Not particular fond of celebrity worship myself. However, with Bowie, there will never be another person like him. While Bowie had his faults, he made not just an impact on rock music, but on society. Whether it was through his music, his various incarnations, his films, etc., the man had presence. Due to this, I feel in a way, we are all Bowie’s children. With that, all we can do is just carry on what he started.
The other day I finally the Blackstar CD in the mail. Complete with that stupid PMRC sticker that never did anyone any good.
After a few listens, I realize that despite Bowie knowing about his prognosis, he bravely carried on. They say that this was his farewell album, but somehow I have the feeling that he wasn’t completely finished saying what he had to say. More like he was coming to terms with his fate. Even what laid ahead of him, he took the time to use death as another project to mold. It was a parting gift to his fans, and he also left us with one more lesson.
So now it’s time to carry on. Like my mother, Bowie was cremated upon request. No funeral, no fuss. It’s time now for the children and other future generations to carry the torch. Because it’s these children that you spit on, as they try to change their worlds. They are immune to your consultations. That’s the way Bowie would have wanted it.