The title pretty much says it all. Just his name alone speaks volumes.
This is not an easy post for me to write, so please forgive me if my thoughts are a bit mangled.
Almost two months ago, the world lost its Starman but I am still grieving like it just happened this morning. It was a Monday morning, my alarm went off telling me it was time to go to work. I always check Facebook and Twitter first thing to see any messages I may have missed, when there it was. “David Bowie dead at 69.” It couldn’t be true. It had to be another internet prank. Bowie couldn’t be dead, he’s immortal! But it was true. David Bowie was dead and I cried hard. I cried because I lost someone that seemed to always be there for me even though he never knew me. And I cried because I felt that I had not done enough for him while he was alive. I felt like a bad fan. But I’ll get into this shortly…
I was first exposed to the brilliance of David Bowie at a young age. My mother showed me the movie Labyrinth.
It was love at first sight for both the movie and Bowie. The movie was the perfect blend of adventure, cheese, humor and musical interludes. Jennifer Connelly was a whiny brat, but I completely understood getting lost in a fictional world. And to be honest, if I was her, I’d have run away with Jareth. I mean look at him. I’m pretty sure he would have done anything for Sarah if she asked. Labyrinth also gave us this perfection of a ballroom scene:
I always wanted to be Sarah. I wanted her dress and I wanted David Bowie and….sigh. And that song, my God. “I’ll paint you mornings of gold, I’ll spin you Valentine evenings…But I’ll be there for you as the world falls down.” Makes me cry to this day.
Ever since then, David Bowie would come in and out of my life. In random news, occasional viewings of Labyrinth, when he married Iman, his amazing music that would get stuck in my head here and there, all this throughout all my life. I suppose this is where most of my regret comes from, though some of this is/was out of my control. I never had the access (or the age, really) to the resources I needed to really experience Bowie. I didn’t have Spotify or YouTube like I do now. But I did have the Internet, so I should have been searching out as much of him as I could. But I didn’t. I should have asked my parents to buy me his music. I should have talked about him more. I should have seen him in concert, my biggest regret. I should have, I should have I should have…
A few years ago when I finally bought a Spotify membership I started to explore his music, happy that I finally had the outlet I needed. My playlist was barely that. I started to search out his music videos. I looked up how old he was and thought maybe he could still release new music. Then, in 2013, as if answering my prayers, David released the album “The Next Day.” The song “The Stars are Out Tonight” was deliciously him, and the video with Tilda Swinton was everything I expected from Bowie. People started talking about him again.
But now he is gone and it hurts. It hurts more than I was ready for it to hurt. As I am writing this, I am listening to what I think may be the best collection of music I have ever heard, the album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.” The songs “Five Years”, “Moonage Daydream” and “Lady Stardust” have been on repeat on and off now for days. “Five Years” being such a powerful song about the world coming to an end it doesn’t even need a music video. Bowie paints the picture perfectly with his words. Now I am going through and listening to his entire collection album by album, reading up on all the theories about each song because no Bowie song is ever just a song…something I should have done sooner. Now I am going back and watching endless videos of concerts and interviews and looking at photos…and I can’t stop crying. It all feels too little, too late.
The documentary “Five Years” aired the other day, and it showed clips of Bowie just being Bowie. In between takes for a music video, rehearsing a song, walking down the street, just being him. I loved it so much I bought it on DVD. I still haven’t listened to “Blackstar” because I simply can’t bring myself to. I haven’t yet seen the music video for “Lazarus” where he is essentially saying goodbye because I can’t say goodbye. I don’t want to.
Everything David Bowie did, he did with his entire being. Every song, every character, every life choice. I want to live my life just like he did. Unapologetically, unashamedly. I wish I could thank him for teaching us to just live. To be ourselves. For showing us how to live a life that is so so full. To stand up for what we believe in. To never ever be sorry for who you are. For making me feel as deeply as I feel right now. I will be grieving for a long, long time.
“There’s a starman waiting in the sky, he’d like to come and meet us but he thinks he’ll blow our minds…”
“Because my love for you, will break my heart in two…”