David Bowie

This past month has been great for discovering new music. Seriously, I feel like I have hit the jam jackpot. Because of my good fortune, I was über excited to write the blog post this month. Songs like Ooo by !!!!, Sympathy for the Auto Industry, by HeCTA, and Just by Bicep have kept me in good spirits despite the steep drop in temperatures and the fact that I have been recovering from yet another bout of tonsillitis. 

Today was the day I had scheduled to sit down and write said blog post. I was going to wake up, eat my usual breakfast of yogurt, cornflakes, banana, and a drizzle of honey. Then I was going to shower before my flatmates woke up and slink off to a nearby cafe to write. The universe, however, had other plans. 

While easing into the day, I did as I normally do and scanned Facebook for notifications, birthdays, and news. It was here that I discovered my idol, Mr. David Bowie, had just passed away from cancer. Even though death is inevitable, and you know that people pass every day, it doesn’t take away the heavy blow you feel in the pit of your guts when you hear the terrible news. You then try to rationalize the thoughts that are flooding in your brain.

“But he just had a birthday.”

“But he just released an album.”

“But I didn’t even know he was sick.”

And then the tears came. As they rolled down, I quickly YouTubed my favorite Bowie song, Moonage Daydream. I wanted to be alone with my thoughts, his soothing words, and the twang of the most romantic rock and roll song of all time.

Press your space face close to mine.

I then felt a sudden urge to hug my sister, another huge fan. We had made a pact years ago that if Bowie ever toured again, we would max out our credit cards and fly to wherever he was in order to see him perform live. This day would never come. 

When people ask me what kind of music I like, I never know what to say. Like many others, I consume a large quantity of music every day. Oftentimes, I don’t even know what artist I am listening to, I just know that I like it. I am extremely fickle when it comes to the genre I favor each day. Sometimes I listen to Atlanta Trap, other times I need to channel my former angsty teenage self. No matter my mood, the weather, or who is asking the question, however, David Bowie always remains the one artist I can (and do) declare to love proudly. The beauty of David Bowie is that he had so many alter egos, I can always find one that fits the ambience.

It’s hard to quantify the exact influence that David Bowie has had on my life. It’s not any one obvious moment in my history that made me a fan, but a culmination of all the moments. At different stages in my life, I seem to unwrap additional meanings to his songs, many of which I have heard hundreds of times. 

  • As a chubby 10 year old, watching The Labyrinth over and over. She was the babe, the babe with the power. 
  • As a 17 year old about to graduate high school, searching for a senior quote for the yearbook that would summarize her angst for the future. And these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations, they're quite aware of what they're going through.
  • As an 19 year old college student visiting home on winter break, dancing drunkenly with her favorite person in the world at a dilapidated venue in Atlanta during 80s night Swaying through the crowd to an empty space.
  • As a 22 year old on the verge of graduating college and discovering her inner rebel. She got an asymmetrical haircut, drove like a madwoman, danced with her fists in the air, fell in love with herself and everyone around her. She liked dancing and looked divine. 
  • As a 24 year old falling in love with a boy, moving to the city of angels, inventing her own religion in a land full of pseudo-spirituality. The Church of Mad Love is such a holy place to be. 
  • As a 26 year old, hearing of her grandpa’s passing, realizing the impermanence of everything, searching for meaning in her own life. Gee her life’s a funny thing, was she still too young? 
  • As a 27 year old contemplating selling all of her belongings, and moving to another continent to start over in Berlin, a city she knew not a soul. She had a lust for life, a lust for life. 

It wasn't until I moved to Berlin last year that I realized David Bowie moved here when he was around the same age as me. He and Iggy Pop moved to Berlin from LA to get clean off of drugs and it was there that they wrote "Lust for Life" together. Bowie has said of Berlin that it is "a city “so easy to 'get lost' in and to 'find' oneself too. I couldn't agree more. 

In his most recent song Lazarus, it’s as if Mr. David Bowie is bidding his farewells to a world he impacted so greatly. It seems like no coincidence that Bowie’s final album was released on January 8th, only a few days before his passing. How incredibly Bowie to continue to perform, even beyond his earthly form. Farewell my friend.

Lazarus, David Bowie

*image by Flickr

Nicole Paulus, Nico New Media

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