Monday, January 11, 2016

I'm not a Bowie fan. Never was. Not that I dislike him, at all, quite the opposite, but he was never mine. Not like Robert Smith or Black Francis or Glen Hansard or whoever. I don't own a Bowie album. Axl bought the Greatest Hits some years ago (probably ten years ago, considering how time flies and I was vaguely surprised to realise I knew most of the songs. Not recognised them, but knew them, to sing along to. Despite not being a fan, his songs are part of my wallpaper.

I watched the first half of his Lazarus video last week, and I thought ... God... scary - what is this? With the rag blindfold with the blacked out eyes, this Beggar Death figure with a husk of a voice. And listening to the radio, I thought, who is this music for, depressed goth teenage forty year olds? A new audience? As an older audience, I was embarrassed to indulge in such ... well, you know. Self indulgent depressive teen music. I've finally pretty much left that behind. This was music for lying in the dark to. Drawing Tipp-ex pictures on your homework journal to.

But I was wrong. It was dying music. A swansong, a goodbye before he left. It's music to confront your own mortality to.

My reaction to seeing his death announcement when I woke up this morning was No. No no no. I think that's my stock reaction to unexpected death, if I think back. No no no, this thing is too awful to be. How many of us googled it, assuming it had to be a hoax? Having been through loss, I feel utterly tenderised by it. David Bowie's death won't impact on my life much - I can live without the idea that I won't get to hear new Bowie music again. But the overwhelming grief of the world's loss of such a fine, intelligent talent and personality - the wonder of him - the people who do grieve the loss of his music in their lives, his influence-  and all the people who he loved, whose light he shone on - it's their loss that is hurting me today.

I feel that grief must be a design flaw. I know it's not just human, this desperate capacity for love, it's in the animal world too. But it's so debilitating. Our need for our parents, for our children, out awareness of loss, of the stretch of the rest-of-our-lives-without-them out in front of us. When I cancelled my honeymoon, and my mother died, I was crushed with the realisation that I would never be really, wholly happy again. Self fulfilling prophesy, I guess, too, but grief feeds so much negativity. It washes everything grey. When I hear stories of other people's loss, or in this very special case feel the loss of the wider world so acutely, it sharpens my fear of that grief again so keenly. I confess, I'm terrified of it.

The worst thing about Bowie going, is how few icons there are left now, and how there is nobody of their calibre to replace them. There are no new Bowies and Springsteens - I don't think there are even any Kurt Cobains anymore. Everyone's insipid now, flashes in the pan. It's too easy to rise to dizzy heights these days, and then fade away into the distance so very fast. And it's all fucking X Factor profit driven meh, if you'll excuse the grumpy old woman moment.

I hope someone comes to save music, and let it really live again. Or maybe Bowie just did his work too well, and we don't need it too much any more? 


Ms. Moon said...

I think that this my favorite post I've ever read of yours. Bowie was never "mine" either. He was not a lovable character. He was simply a Force. And as such, he affected all of us, whether we knew it or not. And one of the things I loved most about him was his marriage to Iman.
I grieve for her tonight. I hope she finds comfort and peace.

Mwa said...

Indeed. Wonderful post. Beautiful.

Babes and I made a list last night of icons that were left. For comfort. We came up with Prince, Paul McCartney, Sting, Elton John, Mick Jagger - another few, but I think those were the highlights.
For comfort.

Jo said...

It makes me really uncomfortable that I couldn't think of any women to put on the list either...

Mwa said...

Shit. Only just even noticed that. That is TERRIBLE. But you're right. Actresses I can think of a few, singers not so much. Terrible indeed.

Elsewhere said...

Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner?