Blogging more in 2016 is one of my goals. It’s a shame that it has to start on this note…
I came to Bowie later in life. When I was a kid, I knew him for a few things – being Jareth, singing in a really cool Pepsi commercial with Tina Turner…
Ah, the 80s…
But he never really got on my radar. It wasn’t until college, when I became obsessed with computer games, that Bowie came back into my life, this time in the virtual world of Omikron: The Nomad Soul. This was an early attempt at open world gaming, with the awesome conceit that you could find little underground concerts featuring David Bowie’s band The Dreamers. His song “New Angels of Promise” ran over the titles for the game. He had input in the design. The entire soundtrack kicked ass.
(I promise you, these graphics were cutting edge back in the day…)
This led to me reading more on Bowie, his obsession with reinvention, his desire for cultural and artistic exploration, and as he did for so many people, he showed me that there was a place in the world for weirdos and outcasts.
I went down the rabbit hole in reverse, with albums like HOURS… and HEATHEN becoming my favorites, working backwards until I got to the classics. I became obsessed with covers, from Seu Jorge’s LIFE AQUATIC soundtrack to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. It wasn’t enough to only have Bowie. I needed Bowie coming out of other people too.
He became the soundtrack at pivotal points in my life, from despondently walking empty streets while Life on Mars played on my (pre-iPod) mp3 player, to finding inspiration for novels and short stories in songs like THE PRETTY THINGS ARE GOING TO HELL. Bowie was there at my lowest to console me, and at my best to keep me smiling.
In the end, for so many people, Bowie was a mind-altering drug whose effects were felt for years, decades, transmuted down through generations. I always feel great sorrow when artists I respect pass on, but this morning’s news left me absolutely breathless, hunched over the bathroom counter and crying. This was losing a friend, a muse, an invisible confidant, a kindred spirit, a love.
The world isn’t less beautiful now that he’s gone, it’s just less strange, and that’s the saddest thing of all.
Oogie knew there’s never ever time
Some of us will always stay behind
Down in space it’s always 1982
The joke we always knew
Whatssa matter with you?
C’mon, let’s go slip away