I was very sad to hear that David Bowie passed away. Celebrity deaths don’t usually effect me, but Bowie is different. There are precious few singers whose music becomes the soundtrack to one’s life, every stage is documented by their songs. It’s sometimes hard to accept that our heroes can ever die, on some level we assume they are immortal. Especially an otherworldly, original talent like David Bowie. It’s only after they’ve gone that we take stock of how their contribution effected us personally.
When I was a few weeks old my parents and I moved to New York for nine months. While we were there they listened to the album ‘Let’s Dance’ on repeat, they particularly loved ‘China Girl’. The track must have permeated my subconscious because whenever I hear it, I get goose-bumps. David Bowie’s songs have mass appeal whilst being emotionally evocative and era defining. I’ve listened to Bowie through-out my life and every track reminds me of a moment in time. I’ve also been influenced by his audacious style; billowing sleeves, velvet boots, and sweeping metallic capes have been collected with him in mind.
It’s safe to say that we’ll never see his like again, no one could influence music, fashion and culture like David Bowie. His death is a reminder of how tedious the music industry is today. There are many wonderful contemporary artists, but the industry itself has become a barren sausage-meat factory. The X-Factor formula has shoe-horned a generation of singers into a creative waste-land, where true originality and innovation crumbles with every withering put-down from a panel of so-called ‘judges’. I can’t imagine Ziggy Stardust strutting onto a dreary TV talent show and receiving the applause and recognition he deserved.
They say never meet your heroes and I never met David Bowie, but if I had I doubt I would have regretted it. A musician friend of mine got chatting to him in the toilets of the Royal Albert Hall; he was polite, affable and without pretension. In fact, he was so unassuming that my mate didn’t realise he was talking to a living legend. It was only when he saw him walking down the corridor a few minutes later that the penny dropped.
David Bowie now belongs with those few immortals who will live forever through their work. To me, he is the hero for the misfits and the weirdos who don’t fit society’s narrow, boring standards. His brilliance came from his non-conformity and his boundless talent created music that will never die.