David Bowie

January 11, 2016


“I don’t know where I’m going from here,
but I promise it won’t be boring.”

― David Bowie

I spent yesterday where I spent most of the night before- at Cherry Bar surrounded by friends, as we bid a final farewell to Motorhead’s legendary frontman, Lemmy. As we gathered early on a Sunday morning in various states of inebriation, the conversation turned to what would happen if any of the other giants of rock n roll were to fall.

“I’m surprised Iggy is still around” said one, “Iggy? What about Keith? He’ll outlive the cockroaches, he’ll bury us all” said another. “If Keith does, they will need to block off the entire alleyway to fit all of the mourners” I chipped in. We bandied various names about like a morbid game of “Guess Who”.

Just over 24 hours later, I found myself on the couch flicking between the television and Facebook when a friend informed me that David Bowie had died. Having been the victim of plenty of death hoaxes, I was skeptical that the news was true. I checked his Facebook page and Twitter account- both of which were the official accounts for Bowie. “A hack, surely a hack” I muttered to myself. I punched his name into Google and the colour drained from my face as more and more reputable news sites picked up the story. In a final act of desperation I turned on BBC News and was initially relived to see a mundane story about something that I now cannot even remember. As I breathed in a sigh of relief, the air was swiftly sucked from lungs as the words “Breaking” appeared across the bottom of the screen.

The confirmation of the truth does little to ease its sting.

It felt like that split second after you are hit really, really hard. A pain that strikes so suddenly from out of the blue that you have a moment to wonder, “what just happened” before the worst really hits.

David Bowie was for the freaks, and the misfits, and the queens. He inspired even the most truly inspiring. He was sex and style; humour, and glamour.

When I think back to our conversation yesterday morning, Bowie almost directly inspired even the circumstances surrounding it. At the root of all of our excess, we all aim to be as glamorous as David Bowie doing lines at Studio 54 in the seventies, whispering jokes to Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol. Sure, we’re just sitting in a bar, doing lines off Myki cards in dirty bathrooms, but Bowie gave us a taste of the glamour that we chase each and every weekend. He soundtracked the debauchery most of the time, too.

I remember being about 22 or 23, twirling around the Pony dance floor with my spectacularly attired friend, Tim. I had a torn cream baby doll dress on, you see, and assumed that somehow David Bowie was trying to communicate with me directly when “Rebel Rebel” played. Incidentally, I had started taking ecstasy regularly around that time. I always feel that fizz of excitement, that hum of euphoria, that buzz of contentment whenever I hear that song. There are a million different stories like mine out there. Maybe you listened to Bowie when you kissed that attractive person you had been lusting after, maybe he nursed you through a sadness, maybe he was just there in the background when you needed it- for better or worse.

When we spoke of who may be the next to go, not one person mentioned David Bowie. Why? Well, for me at least, Bowie was an alien, an exquisite, immortal, exotic alien that took up so much space in my personal influences that the notion that one day his alien self would depart forever seemed ridiculous. Aliens never die, you see, they simply move on to the next planet.

David Bowie gave us everything he had, and now he has heard the call of the next planet, one that is crying out for colour, glamour, beauty, and joy. He was one of a kind, and leaves behind a legacy for us to cling to whenever we feel lonely, or lost, or sad, or joyful, or horny, or happy, or silly. Or simply, when we miss him.

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