Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Goodbye Major Tom

David Bowie is dead.
Killed by cancer just days after his sixty-ninth birthday and the release of his latest album.
Turning on twitter and seeing reports of his passing was a real kick in the teeth for me. Like millions of others around the world Bowie didn't seem like an ordinary mortal. Death seemed so inconceivable for such an important part of the soundscape of our lives. One could be forgiven for assuming that Bowie would just assume a new persona and genre and go off in some new creative direction. 
Sadly, he was just a human being and death came for him as it will come for us all eventually.
His death stings especially hard because Bowie taught people who were freaks growing up learned that not only were they not alone, there was a way they could be accepted and that's by being as creative and as accepting of others as they can possibly be. To be a Bowie fan was a responsibility. He wasn't everyone's cup of tea, and when I was growing up, a time when the music you listened to established your identity, those who didn't get Bowie liked to express their displeasure with your choices often verbally, and on rare occasions physically.
However, camaraderie could be found with other Bowie people, who would then introduce you to other bands and styles of music, who themselves were influenced by Bowie's work and versatility. Bowie was the gateway drug to alternative rock and alternative pop culture.
I always admired how Bowie managed to remain cool right to the end by avoiding the trap that had ruined so many of his profession. Since he was constantly experimenting and reinventing himself and his music, and wasn't wed to some look from what he considered his gloried past. A habit that transformed too many rock and pop legends into ridiculous or creepy parodies of themselves.
Could you imagine if he had never left his Ziggy Stardust phase?
That constant experimentation and reinvention also meant that if one of his experiments didn't succeed with some segment of the audience, no problem, his next project will be different anyway, and you might like that instead.

Well, we won't be able to take David Bowie for granted anymore.

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