This is such a hard post to write, but I’m sitting here on 11 January 2016, a date which will forever be known as the day that David Bowie died. The news on the radio this morning was a shocker. I wasn’t a huge fan, didn’t even like all his music. I’m not fanatical about him like I am about Rick Astley but am I suppose what you could call a mainstream fan. I liked Space Oddity, Labyrinth (the movie) and Peace on Earth which he did with Bing Crosby. He’s been around my whole life, a legend, dead at 69. Space Oddity always made me tearful, right from when I was little. I feel an empathy with his die hard fans because I know what it’s like to be a die hard fan. David Bowie’s die hard fans are going to grieve this as they would a family member. Because in a lot of cases, he would have been exactly that – he would have filled loneliness, given ‘advice’ by his music, guidance – in the absence of other such role models.
The songs going through my mind are, strangely, other people’s songs. Frank Sinatra’s My Way. David did it his way. Don McLean’s American Pie. It feels like the music died again today. Elton John’s music is spinning around my mind as I will forever associate the two of them together.
Let me start with the first thing. At least it can’t be said that I didn’t think of David since 198-whatever when I saw him in Labyrinth as so often seems to happen when celebrities die. Often they become obscure and when they pass, suddenly everyone’s their biggest fan. I did think of David – often at Christmas, and last Christmas I did a bit of research on him and shared his duet with Bing Crosby, which I’m placing here again.
This was something special – never to be repeated.
My interest in him was piqued and I went to find the answer to various things which I thought about in my youth, before Google, which now recurred to me. In doing so I was impressed at how good he looked and certainly didn’t find any reference to him being ill, which is one of the things that’s on my mind tonight – how bravely he must have borne his illness, without burdening the world with his problem. It speaks volumes of his character, and indeed, neither did my research yield any controversy about him – quite the opposite, it indicated to me that David Bowie had been of great help to the son of Marc Bolan (his contemporary) who he – quietly – supported financially after Marc Bolan passed away.
When I was a child, my parents would comment on the passing away of a celebrity, an actress they had known of, a singer. As children we’d say ‘oh shame’, and turn on the radio, and there’d be an interview with David Bowie, or turn on the TV and watch Mork and Mindy, with Robin Williams. The passing of these legends is synonymous with the passing of our childhoods and now it’s me who is mentioning names of legends passing away to my children.
David was the embodiment of an era, the 70s and the 80s, and his death means that again, there is one less icon left and that the time itself is passing away into the annals of history. More than that, to all intents and purposes he was a gentleman. The world needs those and it seems so unfair when one is taken.
He is a person who tweaked the golden thread of humanity . This much is evident by the huge outpouring of grief the world over. And he left us today and the world is sadder, less vibrant. Emptier.
David Bowie performed at Freddie Mercury’s tribute concert after his death from AIDS in 1992. And I’m hoping – suggesting? that we now hold a tribute concert for David, for cancer, the condition that killed him.
Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.
Thankyou David Bowie, for all that you have given us. Thank you for living.
Thoughts are with his son Duncan Jones, wife Iman, daughter Alexandria, all of his family and friends – and fans. I’m sorry for your loss. David will always be remembered with love and fondness.