David Bowie. 1947 – 2016.

There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’s told us not to blow it
‘Cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
He told me
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie
– Starman, David Bowie

In this lifetime, real life heroes are hard to come by. We seem to have reached a stage when we’re more delighted to tear someone down than marvel at their stature. My heroes were never television stars, athletes, politicians or Hollywood actors. I was a weird kid. I didn’t fit in. I was the consummate outsider. My heroes were few. Hemingway, Thompson, and yes; Bowie.

Meet another Bowie fan, and you feel an immediate connection. Like a secret handshake. Another weird kid, no matter what the numbers the calendar on the wall insists upon. Someone else that gets it.

He pushed boundaries. He was fearless. He was one of the greatest artists that ever lived. A chameleon. Someone who dared you to follow in his footsteps. A trailblazer. Charismatic. A gentleman. Intelligent. Witty. He wasn’t just cool. He defined what coolness was. Someone that didn’t give a damn, but also someone that more likely, in fact, cared all too much.

The_Thin_White_Duke_76
Bowie on stage, as the Thin White Duke, in 1976.

You’re too old to lose it, too young to choose it
And the clock waits so patiently on your song
You walk past a cafe but you don’t eat when you’ve lived
too long
Oh, no, no, no, you’re a rock ‘n’ roll suicide
– Bowie, Rock ‘N Roll Suicide

He kept me company at very difficult times in my life. Walkman in my hand, cassette tape churning clockwise. Bowie singing softly in my ear through foam tinged headphones, at night. I remember a time when my parents’ marriage was so actively falling apart I was feeling the foundations crumble beneath my feet, bits of drywall dust all around me. I felt like the loneliest little boy in the world.

After listening to Bowie’s Starman on top of Sorrento Hill park one particular night, staring up at the stars, I realized that my problems were temporary, and that there was a possibility of so much more out there for me. Bowie taught me, along with the other weird, lonely freaks out there, that there was so much out there for us all, right up to his last album, released just days ago, on his birthday.

And so, another star fades away. What is there left to say, or do? I’m not sure.

I was lucky to have discovered David Bowie’s music, his art and legacy.

We were all so lucky to have a star shine so bright, and for so long.

4 thoughts on “David Bowie. 1947 – 2016.

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