This morning, I woke up to the news that David Bowie had passed away.
I am a huge David Bowie fan and although I have never met or seen David Bowie in person, he meant so much to me. I felt strange as I shed tears over someone I didn’t know, but in truth my relationship with David Bowie is immensely personal and I feel a great sadness.
I first discovered his music as a teenager in suburbia, a story so familiar to many. I would put his CDs into my tiny boom box in my bedroom and lie of the floor just astonished, learning how very different the world could be to the town, classrooms, shopping centres, average pubs and grimy clubs that made up my world.
I took the Bowie vinyl from my parents collection, treating it like treasure but never fully knowing why.
At university I became involved with the student radio station and finding others who would listen to me incessantly analyse the track listings, was like finding a home, in a place that could otherwise be strange and lonely to me.
I think the root of my deep love comes from his constant reinvention. Seeing him morph and blossom so vibrantly from one personna to the next was inspirational to me, as I slowly and surely figured out who I wanted to be. I love Aladdin just as much as I love Ziggy and the Thin White Duke.
The sheer breadth of his music is breathtaking. Bowie has been there as I have twirled with with joy next to my best of friends, as I have hidden in the shadows of heartbreak and has been the painful push forward on days when I didn’t think I had anymore to give.
Even this morning wandering my house, I could see how his spectre was present everywhere- from the print hung next to my bed, to picture discs in my record collection, the books on the shelf, the t-shirts in my drawer and this great loss hit me.
Bowie iconography has seeped into me and to me always comes with a roar, a boisterous challenge “Go on, try it. Be brave. Brake rules. Ask questions. Dare to stand alone”.
His contribution to music, fashion and film is immeasurable.
I was eager to get home on Friday evening, as I knew that his new album ‘Blackstar’ would be there waiting for me. I took off my shoes, unwrapped it excitedly and put it on the record player. I feel so lucky that he was able to make his final release before he passed and was a testament to his commitment to creativity.
I was lucky enough to go to the Bowie exhibit when it was on at the V&A.
As soon as you entered the exhibit, there were the hand written lyrics to ‘Five Years’, one of my favourite Bowie tracks and I was floored. I was floored by awe and floored by inspiration and floored by the idea of possibility.
Today I have been sucker punched again, because I know that we have lost a gargantuan source of originality and genius.
I think David was a beacon to anyone who has ever felt like they were the odd one out… so take a chance on a couple of Kooks, hung up on romancing.