David Bowie died January 10th 2016. This was two days after he had turned 69, and two days after I had turned 31. It was a rather sad birthday as I had attended a funeral that same day and was exhausted. I remember thinking that I hadn’t watched any Elvis documentaries or listened to Bowie or watched Labyrinth to mark the occasion as I usually do. They were my heroes but there was no cause to celebrate anything on that particular January 8th. I fell exhausted into bed then and forgot all about it…until two days later.
I cried all that day. And still occasionally cry. I often chastise myself, grieving so much when I could barely cry at my Aunts funeral the week before. It seems idiotic to grieve someone, whom I had never met.
But this fine gentleman was the soundtrack to my life. He lived in my bedroom – in my T.V., on my radio, on my CD player. He was a permanent resident.
In 2002 I first listened to Space Oddity. It spoke to me as I felt a bit like an oddity myself.
After Space Oddity, I browsed his back catalogue, discovering the sexy basslines from his funk and soul period, his kind of pop sounding music, the electronica stuff he played with in the 90’s and beyond. The sexual thrill of listening to I’m Afraid Of Americans, the collaboration with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, left me reeling.
Going back in time further, I recorded and re-watched the 1996 Brit Awards where he received his outstanding achievement award, stunned by his perfect performance and impressed by his presence from his vocals to the slick cut of his suit.
I laughed out loud at his contributions to Comic Relief. I respected him for his sincere gesture on stage at Freddie Mercury’s tribute concert, kneeling down and reciting the Lord’s Prayer.
That man seemed a far cry from the the Goblin King that I had frightful dreams about as a child yet grew to love in adolescence.
He filled me with fear looking at the cover of his Diamond Dogs album. He was lycanthropic. He was disturbing. He was incredible.
For each stage of my lifetime there was David Bowie. There was always a record, a film, a CD, a live performance. There was something there, not in my face, but forever lingering at the edges of my own world like an unseen alien.
The 30 year old woman in 2015 watching the premiere of his video for Blackstar (and waiting, wishing for a world tour so I could FINALLY fulfil a lifelong dream of seeing him) lost a piece of her own glittering stardust when his brilliant light was snuffed out in 2016.
He was the Starman, Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane, David Bowie. The man who sung The Laughing Gnome, on the cusp of success, on a journey of self-discovery that was, as he promised, never boring.
But before all the otherworldly appearances and the ethereal sounds, before his androgyny thrilled and aroused boys and girls of the 70’s. Long before he discovered his voice, before he laid a character down to music, before Bowie just was…he was David Jones.
A rare, talented human being tucked away in a little corner of Brixton.
And the music was still to come.