Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Missing David Bowie

As you know, David Bowie died earlier this week, after an 18 month and fairly secret, battle with cancer. I found out when I opened one eye, checked my phone and read my daughter's text. It didn't really register, to be honest. "Hasn't he just released an album and a new, weird (as usual) video?", I thought.

Apart from the fact that he seemed like a thoroughly nice bloke, I think one of the reasons he's so mourned is that, for many of us, we've never not had David Bowie. People born as far back as the 1950s, (and therefore teenagers in the 60s when he started) have always had a Bowie song or two kicking around in their life. He's been present on the music scene in every decade since the 60s, never losing his relevance and always coming out with something new and ground-breaking.

Bowie was eccentrically arty but talked like a normal person. When you see him on talk shows and other footage, he's not only got an unpretentious accent, but he doesn't spout high fallutin' stuff and never strives to make himself out as an intellectual or an artiste.

The fantastic 2013 Bowie exhibition that was sold out for months in London, came to Chicago in 2014 and I was lucky enough to see it. Alas, since he didn't much care for his more disco-ey songs of the 1980s, there were virtually no references to that decade which was a shame for me since I saw his three tours - 1983, 1986 and 1990.

In fact, here's my own piece of Bowie memorabilia - me at the Milton Keynes bowl in 1983, at his "Serious Moonlight" concert.

Yes, I know it could be anywhere, but I know where I was!


  1. Great post which really resonats with me. I'm mourning him for many of the same reasons. David Bowie was a constant soundtrack to my life... here's what I posted when I heard of his death:

    It seems strange to feel so bereft at the death of someone I never new. But David Bowie was the constant soundtrack to my life. As a stupidly shy 13 year old I bought a second hand copy of Space Oddity in Disc n'Tape on the Gloucester Rd in Bristol & listened to it so many times I'm surprised it didn't wear out. I was hooked.
    From there I started buying the back catalogue & spent many an angst-ridden teenage hour listening to Diamond Dogs, Heroes & Low. I was given Let's Dance for my 17th birthday. RIP Edwin Cotton who loved Bowie as much as I did. Alice, my best friend & roommate at University & I bonded in our first five minutes together over a love of Bowie. She emailed me today.
    He was the one artist I never stopped listening to. In 2004, Lucy Fisher and I saw him live at the Hammersmith Odeon. His first gig there since his farewell Ziggy Stardust concert. He played every classic flawlessly & I'm just so glad I got to see him live.
    And then more recently, as Ian Cohen and I put together the soundtrack for our wedding, Bowie had to be there. It was a tough choice, but Heroes will always remain my all time favourite track. Even better, we saw the V&A Bowie exhibition that week (thank you Áine McElwee for the wonderful pics).
    Somehow I just assumed he would go on forever. Releasing a crazy new album every few years. Can't quite get my head round the fact this won't happen.

  2. The Husband and I were just talking about David Bowie and how we can't believe he's gone. He's ALWAYS been there, as you noted.

  3. I wonder if he had any idea he would rock so many people with the news of his death.

  4. Unknown - thanks for your comment. I know what you mean.

    Gigi and Mwa - The shock value has certainly rocked a lot of people. I don't think it would have been any less sad if we'd known about it but it would have been very intrusive for him. I'm glad he did it on his terms.

  5. And now Alan Rickman. Same age, same disease. Admittedly, he hasn't been a constant in my life (born in the mid 50's) like Bowie's music, image, and spirit have been, but he is certainly a loss. He, too, seemed like a thoroughly nice bloke, despite the RSC accent. Darn. The world's a poorer place without them, but a richer one for having had them for as long as it did.

  6. "one of the reasons he's so mourned is that, for many of us, we've never not had David Bowie" - I've been quoting this to friends for the past week and just re-found where I got it from! It's so true. Even when I wasn't actively listening to his music, there was always just this knowledge that Bowie was around in the background, and would be popping up at some point with a new weird & wonderful venture for me to peruse.

    Totally not ashamed to admit to sobbing for an hour on Monday morning whilst listening to Space Oddity on repeat.

    A beautiful tribute :)


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