I woke up this morning after a particularly long sleep feeling refreshed. I turn on War Machine (my computer, yeah, I know, “so original”) and let her boot up as I grab my cup of coffee. It is going to be a good day. Then I get on Facebook and see the news: Ziggy has put his guitar down for good.
Celebrity comes and celebrity goes. Some disappear and we find them later, these days, on some clickbait “where are they now” article. Some come back from a long absence. Some ride a rising tide of legendary status, keeping themselves relevant with mediocre offerings until they can give us a glimpse of the genius that made us love them to begin with. Some few, some special few, remain brilliant over decades, earning the love of generation after generation. David Bowie was definitely one of the latter, and the world will be poorer for his loss.
He invented Glam Rock, but was so much more than that. My folks’ generation, the Baby Boomers, made him famous but he kept on going, drawing in we Gen Xers like moths to a multi color flame. How happy was I as I grew older to see the Millenials I would work with in my early forties loved him (almost) as much as I? He was as rare as a diamond from space and everyone knew it, and knew how precious his gift was.
No doubt, as with all celebrities, especially of those of his caliber, he meant different things to different people. He was particularly special to me, a weird, gender freak with a love of things that categorized me as “not normal” right down to my core. When peers told me I had no place Mr. Bowie told me otherwise. He told me it was OK to be a freak. Indeed, it was awesome being one.
His weird was not one born of rejection of “normal,” whatever the hell that is, but of acceptance of one’s self. He tried everything on for size, even the wrong size, and decided for himself what fit. All through that he maintained a strong streak of love for his fellow man that pushed him to fight, at least through his art, for a kinder world. He was not my only role model on this journey that is Life, but he was one of the most influential, and I feel, again, as if I have lost a great teacher.
David Bowie’s contributions will outlive him: his music, his wonderfully strange movies, his art, his influence on the art of others. He made damn sure it would be impossible to forget him, and I know I never will. All your fellow freaks will miss you sir, and I am sure, whatever or wherever you are now, you know that. I leave the rest of you with what is for me some of his most inspiring words, the last verse of Under Pressure. Fare thee well, Starman, may I see you again beyond the horizon.
” ‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance”