I never met David Bowie but I didn’t need to. Plus I actually don’t want to meet my heroes. Not really for the reason that they wouldn’t live up to my expectations, more than I’m quite shy and I’d say something stupid. I’d mess it up. His life meant quite a lot to me, so much so that I couldn’t just throw a fleeting post up on social media. His music and art inspired me greatly, I had to reflect and get my thoughts down. I’m going to ramble a lot here because I need to.
On Monday I was up at 6am. I saw a Facebook status 30 minutes later on the official Facebook page. I was convinced it was a hoax and the account had been hacked as the post was really odd – “David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer”. It was odd due to the lack of subtlety so I jumped over to twitter to check there too. It was there but I still didn’t believe it. I even retweeted the post with a ‘What?!’, thinking the whole account had been hacked. It was then that my phone started ringing, my mum, that I knew it was real.
The TV was already on and somehow on the right channel, just muted. There was a news report about the death of David Bowie. Images of Ziggy Stardust on stage were shown. I unmuted the sound and heard that it was all true. It’s at this point looking back that I hit all those stages of grief. I was totally in denial, I couldn’t believe my hero was gone. It honestly felt like a massive part of me was chipping away.
I deleted any social apps from my phone as I didn’t want to see anymore. There’s always this avalanche of media when a celebrity passes away, the quotes, the images – the images with quotes on them. The brands, the click bait respect posts. The likes of David Cameron, Pharrel Williams and Kanye West were paying their respects. I didn’t want to hear that tick box respect crap. The thought of it all made me angry. In reflection, it was better directed there as I was becoming angry at myself for losing control. So happy masked I went to work and kept anything inside to deal with later.
I didn’t listen to any of his music until I had chance to talk it all out with my wife, who understood. She’s great. We have many Bowie moments throughout our lives. She never really ‘got’ him until she walked in on me listening to Rebel Rebel. It became the rosetta stone for her own admiration. There was his amazing performance at Glastonbury in 2000 that saw me into my 19th birthday. We were pinned to the front, stood through so much crap all day to wait for Bowie. It was worth it. There was sharing headphones listening to Heroes looking on at (what was left of) the Berlin wall. There are many moments that just entwine the both of us.
Up until the chat we had I kept thinking I’d never be able to listen to his records in the same way. That’s actually true but it’s not too bad, not as bad as I thought it was. It’s more sad when I’m listening to his latest album, Black Star. I don’t want it to end. That album is fantastic. I was so excited about his last album The Next Day. There’s a top 5 album post on the newpath site from just before its release back then which is the place to go if you want to know my favourites as it’s stayed the same.
Last year I hit a block. After I put some music out I lost inspiration. I stopped listening to any new music. In fact I was bored. The type of music I had previously liked I just couldn’t enjoy anymore. I went to a Psychedelic Festival and was bored. I went to see Godspeed You Black Emperor and was bored, even left early. I thought it could be an age thing or that I don’t drink, can’t unwind. Then the new David Bowie album comes out and blows me away. The guy who I bought it from asked me if I’d heard it yet as I was getting the vinyl. I replied that I’d been waiting to hear it on vinyl first, he said you won’t be disappointed – it’s bloody brilliant. It was. For three nights I got to enjoy it without the news. I’m happy for that. I’m also amazingly impressed he was able to pull this off whilst in the condition he was in. This album has got me excited about music again. I can’t express more than that just how good it is.
So I’d just like to say thank you David Bowie. You were and will continue to be an inspiration to me. I will continue to listen and be inspired and spur on. You were fucking great.
I’m off to watch Labyrinth.