Adapt or Die: Farewell to Bowie
I, like a pan-generational population of dreamers, have been restless ever since the news broke.
The seemingly immortal, ever adapting Thin White Duke has neatly packed up and--with Major Tom, Starman, The Man Who Fell To Earth, Jareth, Ziggy and his spiders, and David Jones-- departed this “Moonage Daydream,” taking his rightfully anointed place in the stars.
He shone brightly in life, and thanks to the impact he made with his music and art, will shine like the northern star--a beacon to guide all musicians and inspire the weary. He was not a perfect man; however, David Bowie was dependent on cocaine, he was human--no matter how alien he may have seemed... Imperfect, to say the least.
From the minute news broke, the tributes poured in. I've now digested the most profound losses of a musician, in my lifetime, and I agree that, despite the pain of his loss, the world is a better place. Now we can revel in the beauty the art of death. Thanks to his impact on the astrological society, there is now an eternal lightning bolt, etched in the sky, a testament to the affectation of his music. There are those who were touched by his sound, others by his aesthetic, or by his films, and then there are those not at all. In the end, though, David Bowie lived his life--that of a rockstar, that of the Blackstar, that of a man reborn time and time again… Lazarus.
The full reach and significance of his music cannot solely be measured by the money made, albums sold. The reverberations emanating from the boy from Brixton gained intensity with each new persona, with each unique iteration, with each song he wrote, with each cover someone performed. Be it Mott and the Hoople's Bowie-penned 'n produced "All the Young Dudes," or Peter Gabriel's haunting recreation of "Heroes," or Seu Jorge's incomparable translated works for Wes Anderson's “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou," David inspired people to embrace the beautiful and imaginative differences in music, art, and humanity. "Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs acoustically in Portuguese," Bowie stated--forward-style--in the liner notes of 'The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions', "I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with."
I don't remember the first time I heard David Bowie (it was some time in the '90s, on the radio station Q107 or when a parent would have played Hunky Dory--a record from the extensive collection I have now assumed control of). I will; however, remember sitting down on the afternoon of Monday, January 10, 2016; with my mother and father, and watching "Lazarus," his final video, for the first time. My parents, who had imbued me with as much of a love and dependence on music, as they, and I were unable to contain our emotions. This man, whom none of us three had ever seen in concert, never mind spoken to, never met, affected each of us, differently, to the core. As a self-professed oddball who took 17 years to come into his own, dealing with being bullied and ostracized, I took and still take pleasure in playing "Eight Line Poem," sitting down with some Vonnegutian satire, and letting my mind run wild with creativity. Bowie's music, like my literature-friends of then and now, has been an escape from the immediacy of life, transporting you into a world unto itself.
Without David Bowie, the world is a little dimmer but because of his art, memory, and flawed legacy; the stars can shine a little brighter.
Somewhere out there, some boy or girl, man or woman is discovering that "Space Oddity," for which we should be eternally grateful.
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me?
A glowing tribute to The Man Who Sold The World: