I’d never seen him live or listened to his music. But I recognised the name and the made up face. I couldn’t have missed the news of his death had I wanted to. The coverage was huge – not just on my facebook page with numerous memes and heartfelt RIPs– but on the BBC and in all the newspapers. How had I missed the musical contribution of this enormously gifted man? A genius! Better late than never you tube: I start with Space Oddity: Is this a nod to Space Odyssey and Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra? OK. That is unfair. I’m beginning to sound prejudiced. But Kurt Masur died December 19, 2015 with a barely heard fond whisper of sadness at his passing and about the same for Pierre Boulez who died just two days ago.
Absolute Beginners, Ziggie Stardust, Starman, Lazurus, ‘Tis a Pity She Was a Whore: Not a great voice, banal lyrics, simplistic and repetitive melodies. The back up tracks lack nothing, unless you subscribe to the philosophy that less is more. To discover if repeated exposure to his style is necessary in order to appreciate him, I listened to Absolute Beginners four times and watched the accompanying film-noire styled video that begins with Bowie in trench coat and fedora, miming disgust (he has run out of cigarettes). He crushes the empty package, chucks it, leaving it for the street cleaner to pick up next morning. May he rest in peace. I have nothing against the man, and to be clear, my own musical efforts are mediocre to risible. I’m deeply curious though about the outpouring of grief at Bowie’s demise and his sudden elevation to icon for the age. And how did I live without him?
One survivor tweeted:
If you’re ever sad just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.
Yes. No doubt that thought will see me through my annual winter depression.
And there are quotes – ideas and thoughts that David Bowie actually expressed!
Don’t you love the Oxford Dictionary? When I first read it I thought it was a really long poem about everything.
I say stupid things too. About one hundred times a day. And while we’re on the topic — please don’t quote me after I’m dead.