20 January 2016

star ★ man

much of the past 10 days i've spent trying to figure out how come the death of David Bowie has made such an impact on me...


i mean, i haven't been a fan since early childhood, he hasn't dragged me through adolescence or other dramatic times in my life, i didn't even listen to a great deal of his output for much of my music-loving years, although i was incredibly impressed by Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane, and was blown away by Hunky Dory and other albums i got to know via the brother in law of my friend Mo, who had a very impressive record collection... he was special, i could see that... there was something about this strange, thin, spindly, colourful man who seemed un-pin-down-able... all i knew him from up to then was his pop-dance stuff, and although he looked gorgeous, it didn't seem to me he was much different to the glitzy stuff that Elton John, Tina Turner and Freddy Mercury were doing, and they were to me like my boring bourgeois relations that i wanted nothing to do with. i had a hard time believing that the man who groaned his way through China Girl was the same guy who sang Life on Mars or Ziggy Stardust... but i fancied him despite Let's Dance... and his voice was so deep...

like quite a lot of my cultural upbringing post 1992, i gained heaps of my memories through my ex husband. being highly sensitive and having crappy boundaries, i tended to absorb his references to culture and his past, or what he wished me to know, cos it was so immensely more interesting than my childhood and adolescence... i gave up mine and adopted his, when i look back... a big part of that all was David Bowie...

so now when i feel sad about Bowie's death, mourn his demise, i also mourn the fading links to my ex, who's moved on ages ago, while i still feel sad and pained and rejected and misunderstood...

David Bowie represents so much of the culture that i grew up with and was intrigued by but was afraid to explore at the time - Berlin's art world, cross-dressing, extravagance, being outrageous and not giving a f*ck, drugs, trying to understand human drives and nature, how genuine you can be, how authentic...when i see photo's of him now, or footage on Youtube, i see mirrored back the person i always wanted to dare to be, as well as a massively attractive man... massively attractive... not to mention that voice...

and then there's the painfully personal side of his last cd... the farewell, the vulnerable, the dreaded death... comes to us all, and when i look at clips of interviews he did 13, 14 years ago, and see this vibrant, funny, charming guy, it makes it only more galling to see him in the clip for Lazarus, dancing with death... {incredibly well written about here in this blog post} how can this be the same guy?! but it is, and it's dauntingly amazing to know that he did what he was so brilliant at throughout his life, from Space Oddity onwards - create something worth listening to, watching, exploring...

so as i unpick my memories from the past 25 years, i try to find which Bowie is mine... as someone said on FB this week: when we mourn an artist, we don't cry because we knew them, but we cry because they helped us know ourselves...






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