Bowie is Dead, Long Live David Bowie!

The world lost an icon this week, and I lost the closest thing I have to a unicorn, a creature of unimaginable beauty, magic, and wonder that makes your life better simply by touching it. There’s no such thing as a casual Bowie fan, everyone is converted in the end- even if it’s just that one album that you love. There is a Bowie for everyone. I am a lifelong fan. There was never a time in my life without Bowie and I don’t intend to be without him now. Heroes never die….

Bowie is Dead-Long Live David Bowie- Hours album cover edit- geengeenie.com

11 January 2016 will no-doubt always be remembered as the day Earth lost it’s most famous alien. David Bowie dies just days after releasing his final single, a song called Lazarus, where in the video he is seen in a hospital bed and struggling in and out of a coffin like wardrobe. He scribbles frantically because he’s ‘got to write it down’ so it won’t be forgotten, while knowing full well that Time is waiting in the wings. Oh, god you’re looking old, and frail. Frailer in life than any of us wanted to believe. One person tweeted “We were so glad to have him back we failed to notice he was saying good-bye”. But some of us noticed. Many of the reviews of Blackstar mention its unnerving strangeness, of something unknowable impending, of an old man’s struggle with his inevitable mortality. What strikes me now is how planned it seems. In true Bowie fashion, always one step ahead of us, He knew what was to come.

David Bowie needed no introduction in my life, he was always there. Older siblings vinyl records begat tapes and CDs of my own. I’ve owned multiple copies of Bowie’s Greatest hits gifted to me in virtually every format, from analogue to digital since I was 16. (And two copies of the Bowie Is exhibition book!) My fascination has been with me all my life, and I get lost in his back catalogue, the good stuff and the bad, never knowing what I might (re)discover. For me Bowie’s multiple personae exist all at once, each timeline happening simultaneously. While he sings somewhere “out in space it’s always 1982”, for me it’s always 1995 where Outside, Diamond Dogs and Low dominate my stereo. Since Ashes to Ashes Bowie’s songs and videos often feature call backs for earlier versions of himself, old and young taunt each other, make peace with each other, and eventually haunt each other. Not fractured but multifaceted, Bowie is my hero.

My David Bowie vinyl record collection- GeenGeenie.com

I was touched that news of Bowie’s death prompted so many people to contact me; my brothers sent texts from other cities, friends sent condolences through twitter, while others I haven’t seen in years suddenly got in touch. Friends I’ve bonded with over Bowie where on hand via private messages helping me process grief and shock (Thanks Nick & Chiaki). An old love remembered a Bowie poem I wrote now lost in time, another held me while I wept, and half-way across the world someone I haven’t seen since uni forwarded me the most perfect piece of fan-art. And all of these things in spite of the sadness, made me exceptionally happy. That friends should get Bowie’s importance to me, and that they might be feeling that loss too, disarmingly precious.

David Bowie and Dream- The SandmanAmid the grief is a glimmer, a feeling that Bowie is not really gone. Because legends don’t die. Bowie invented himself,and fictional characters live forever. The world is only Bowie-less if we forget everything that he’s taught us. About how pretension is reality, and a facade could be your most genuine self expression, about how identity is not fixed but fluid, about how you can be anything you want to be. That we can be heroes, or even Spiders from Mars.

How did you feel about Bowie’s passing? I hope like me you think he lives on in the Dream realm. x

 

 

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17 comments

  1. Bowie did not play as big a part in my life as it did in yours, but even I was sad to hear of his death. He is so ingrained in our culture and he was so influential across so many facets of our culture (music, art, identity, etc.). I think that it will be a long time before he truly leaves as he continues to play a big role in so many people’s lives and will continue to find new fans.

    I hadn’t realized he had just release a new single. What a beautiful goodbye to leave for his fans!

    I’ve never been good at knowing what to say when people have suffered a loss like this, but I’m sending hugs and comfort from afar ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Anne, the fact that you are saying anything at all is enough. Bowie was a huge big deal to me. One of my biggest regrets is that I never saw him live (and missed my chance twice!) But you are right, he’s so ingrained in, and has so influenced pop-culture that he’s left an indelible mark. To quote a friend of mine, we’re unlikely to see his kind again, certainly not in our life time.

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  2. And now I’m crying again. What a beautiful post. You’re right. He can never die! As you know, he has always been there for me too. There’s never been a time without him. What a genius he was. Making the act of dying his final piece of art. He simply wasn’t of this world!
    I regret never seeing him live too. I always wanted to see Ziggy so I never made seeing present day Bowie live a priority. In a way, I’m glad I never did because it would have shattered the Bowie who courses through my veins.
    How lovely that so many people reached out to you!
    Lots of love and strength xxx ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww Chiaki. I used to feel the same, that maybe seeing him live would somehow ruin the illusion or something. I still regret missing my chance, especially as one of those was seeing the Outside tour in Belfast in 1995. If I ever get a time machine….. Thanks for all the telepathic over the internet hugs this week. I know you’re gutted too. And that was strangely comforting. I look forwards to seeing what you write about our mutual hero, when you are ready.xo

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      1. Yes exactly, like it would somehow ruin the illusion. I would feel differently if I’d been close to seeing him live, I’m sure. Oh, if I ever get a time machine, I’ll go back and see Ziggy. Thank you, my dear! I don’t know anyone else who feels such a strong bond to Bowie (not even my mum), so it really helps talking to you. It’s comforting being gutted together. Did you hear about the Bowie constellation? It’s beautiful. I’ve been writing tonight and it’s nearly finished so I will probably publish it this weekend. xx

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  3. So very sad, but so very grateful for his creative soul and for the legacy of utterly incredible music he has left us all. He was {is} definitely the kind of artist who makes you think you can do and be anything. His death was dignified, like the man himself. He lives on xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jane. I feel you! And yes, dignified is definitely the word. He lives on.xx

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  4. Maybe strange but every blog post i read something about him still makes me cry. i guess the past few days / weeks / months had too many losses (as in famous people and as well amongst my friends…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not strange at all, I’ve been doing the same. I’ve had to take a break from Bowie music for a little while too, its still making me sad 😦 Hope you feel a little brighter soon.x

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  5. […] sending. It’s so comforting talking to someone who is just as devastated as I am. She wrote this beautiful piece that moved me to tears after the departure of our mutual […]

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  6. kittiny · · Reply

    my heart is still broken about this. beautiful post, thank you for sharing it.

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    1. I’m glad it wrang true to your broken heart. I feel it too ❤

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  7. […] been wanting to write this post since Bowie’s passing and it seemed like as good an excuse as any to look back through these beloved tomes. Back in the […]

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  8. Great tribute, your passion shines through. For me, he seemed one of those artists that was always there, in a way or another, through different art forms, in different appearances, but always there. Almost immortal. His death just didn’t make any sense upon hearing the news.

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    1. As an aside, I wrote a little article if you’re curious about some stories behind his classic songs:

      https://tangledupinmusic.wordpress.com/2016/01/23/stories-behind-classic-songs-part-2-special-bowie-edition/

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    2. Thank you. And yes it didn’t feel real at all, more like a bad joke. I couldn’t agree more about Bowie appear in various places and artforms, like in comics here: https://geengeenie.com/2016/04/24/david-bowie-in-neil-gaimans-sandman/ ! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. […] in Higher Education again. But seismic losses in the pop-culture firmament meant I lost a hero, politics locally and globally took a turn for the worse, and on a personal level serious health […]

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