It feels like I’m losing a friend, a loved one that was always there whenever I need him.
Everyone has a story of a special moment that involved a Bowie record. That’s a legacy, being part of so many individual lives and stories in such a personal way. To not just make songs but soundtrack lives is a special talent, we didn’t just let him into our homes with our record players, we let him into our hearts. His songs covered every moment, the foot stomping joy of Jean Jeanie to the melancholic haunting beauty of Where Are We Now.
And that’s without the fact that he taught so many of us that we could be whatever we wanted to be, and then could be something else. When I was the fat arty kid he was there making me feel it was ok to be different. When I felt alone, he was there whispering support and love through my headphones, when we wanted to rock it was Suffragette City.
And even without such an incredible back catalogue that in itself was an incredible gift to us all. To show people for 45 years that you can be what you want, that it’s ok to be an outsider, that you should embrace that sense of self is an ideal so often lost in the tumult. As someone who has often taken different paths, and wanted different things it was always ok because there watching over me was David Bowie. He was the guardian angel of the outcast, the wizard of the weird.
In a world where so many idols are false, where so many heroes let you down, he never did. He inspired, he existed as a beacon that it does get better but he also connected people. For many music is a rebellion against our elders, however it’s clear today that he stood as an artist that brought generations together, we grew up loving him because our parents played his records, we all watched the films together (159 of them). My Dad still tells me about buying his first Bowie album.
But it isn’t even just what h produced, it’s in the 45 years of inspiring other to start bands, take up acting, become artists and the million other things he inspired people to be. The threads of what he started will be woven through our cultural future each and every day.
The grief police and the people who just seek to be controversial have been out in force today telling us we shouldn’t be sad, that we are freaks to cry. If we can’t cry when the art is gone, and the last record ends, when can we. Today is a day that many have lost someone that was woven into their lives. When Madonna talks about the artist she snuck out to see knowing she’d be grounded you know it was someone special. If you can make The Laughing Gnome cool, you are special.
He may be gone but my idol, hero and inspiration remains immortal. He lives in each of us from those who dare to live to those who just hum Jean Jeanie while hoovering. I’ll remember him as the genius that let me find myself, and the giggling singer on Dancing In The Streets.