Monday, 16 May 2016

Last Words on...David Bowie

Vale David Bowie

David Bowie left this earth on the 10th January 2016. Yes it's taken me this long to find the words to write in response.

It's hard to process what Bowie's loss means to the world. Or even to me. The music he gave us indelibly soundtracked our lives for so long, and it did so with such potency. It felt like the music's charismatic creator would be around forever.

Never mind the fact that David himself was out of the public eye for a decade before the surprise release of "The Next Day" in 2013. Even with the release of the record, he remained reclusive, rarely making public appearances and making almost no attempts to promote the record. He didn't get a chance to promote his latest record "Blackstar", as his untimely passing occurred two days after the album's release.

Bowie always seemed to be masterfully in control of his music, his image and his career. He changed from one thing to another during the 1970s with effortless ease and grace, always ahead of the curve and defining trends rather than following them. It came as shock to me to read an old quote from the NME dating back to 1984:

"I always thought I was intellectual about what I do, but I’ve come to the realization that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing half the time."

If he didn't know what he was doing then he was constantly trying on new concepts and ideas to see what fits. He was once described by filmmaker Nik Roeg as being "awkward within society". It appears to be that he was possibly changing the outward look to hide the insecurity within. That insecurity drove his restless creativity to go beyond the norms of what should be expected of him.

Watching the "Reality Tour" live DVD again in the wake of his passing, it appears that on this tour he was finally comfortable with himself, in his own skin. He'd finally reconciled what it meant to be David Bowie. It was a glorious sight.

To the very end, with the "Blackstar" album, he challenged the listener. Challenging them not to rest on their laurels and the assumptions of what David Bowie could be. He gave us what we now can assume were hints of his impending mortality, but the needle was barely off the record from the first playing of the album before that could fully set in. The news hit the world like a collective kick in the head.

Bowie gave the world so much joy with his fantastic and challenging creativity. He inspired and entertained us for close to 50 years and Earth's loss is Heaven's gain. The music will live with us and I'm personally greatful for his fine works.

Vale David. Your life's work will be remembered long after the pain of your sad passing has faded from our memories.

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