I don’t usually do this sort of thing, but I wanted to say something about David Bowie. Some of my readers might not really be aware of Bowie outside of a few songs, so this is for you lot:
In the coming days there will be a lot of magazines, books, articles, blogs, and features published about David Bowie. None of the them will do justice to the man, his music, or the profound impact he made on popular culture. His music and the visual art he created around the music had (and still have) such a powerful influence on me. I turn towards his music whenever I feel uninspired. I watch his videos whenever I want to see what performance looks like. To call him an icon almost seems like underselling what he accomplished. He transformed everything. The extent of his influence will be felt forever.
My first experience of Bowie was the video for Ashes To Ashes. It hit me hard, a spark of power into my brain.What was this weirdness? A spaceman, accompanied by art freaks on a red beach with a black sky. An alien in a cocoon, suspended from a wall. An astronaut being electrocuted in a suburban kitchen. And the song itself! It reached the places pop music and art don’t usually touch.
My sister, noting my interest, brought me towards Bowie. I always remember him there be it as Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, Jareth The Goblin King, or the jolly man dancing with Mick Jagger. His music has been a constant in my ears and life. I admire that he wasn’t afraid to experiment in all areas of his life and art. I find that fearlessness very compelling. I wish I could be like him in that respect. He was never afraid being uncool either. From Labyrinth to covering Love Missile F1-11, he did as he pleased and people followed him, or at least came around to his ideas in the end.
I think the best thing about Bowie is that even until he died, he was releasing smart and captivating music. Literally the week of his death he put out one of his best albums. Blackstar is out in the shops. Go and buy it. Bowie was never one for nostalgia, so celebrate his life and legacy by listening to new music. Then reach for Ziggy or Scary Monsters.